Wine Cellar Temp

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Chuck Rairdan

In pursuit of fine reds
WMT Supporter
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
67
Reaction score
59
Location
northern California
I'm curious. Just starting up a wine cellar that's insulated, got the cooling unit, all the essentials. It's taking some time to get the wine, walls, etc. down in temp. My target is 61 degrees F. It's currently at 65 degrees and it feels pretty darn cold tbh. This is both bulk storage and long term bottle aging, but I'm wondering if maybe this isn't too cold. I typically drink my wines within 5 years or longer for the ones meant to age, but the temps seem on the cold side, like a meat locker frankly. Interested to hear your thoughts...
 

winemaker81

wine dabbler
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
1,725
Reaction score
2,669
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I did a quick search -- several sites recommend 55 to 57 F for long term storage of collections. I recall folks talking about storage as low as 50 F, but keep in mind this is for wines being stored for decades.

61 F is a good target, but if you find it too cold? IMO 65 F is fine for the duration you are storing wine, especially if the temperature is consistent. For the limited time you're in the room, I suggest you put on a sweater. Your wine will appreciate you!

If it were me? I'd buy a white sweater that will get wine stained over time, and tell people I decorated it myself! I had an Uncork NY! t-shirt that I wore every time I touched my wines -- it was hideously stained, but I loved that shirt. It was sad when I finally accepted it was too tattered to keep ....
 

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,862
Reaction score
7,108
Location
South Louisiana
I’ve been maintaining a cellar for both bulk/barrel aging and bottle storage for my wine and commercial wines. I keep mine at 55°F from November to April, then bump it to 58°F for the other months. Living in the deep south, a few degrees makes a difference in the power bill during the hot months.
 

Chuck Rairdan

In pursuit of fine reds
WMT Supporter
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
67
Reaction score
59
Location
northern California
I did a quick search -- several sites recommend 55 to 57 F for long term storage of collections. I recall folks talking about storage as low as 50 F, but keep in mind this is for wines being stored for decades.

61 F is a good target, but if you find it too cold? IMO 65 F is fine for the duration you are storing wine, especially if the temperature is consistent. For the limited time you're in the room, I suggest you put on a sweater. Your wine will appreciate you!

If it were me? I'd buy a white sweater that will get wine stained over time, and tell people I decorated it myself! I had an Uncork NY! t-shirt that I wore every time I touched my wines -- it was hideously stained, but I loved that shirt. It was sad when I finally accepted it was too tattered to keep ....
Thanks for your feedback. Those colder temps do make sense for the long haul, but for my horizons and as you've mentioned, I think I'll settle on 63F for now. Just feels like a sweet spot now that the cellar is acclimating and going steady state. I like how you are sentimental about your wine sloshing sweater. I've had several theme based t-shirts literally fall off of me from disintegration because I was so fond of them and we had "been places" together :h. I'll be installing a three pronged coat hook: one for a cellar coat or pullover, another for a knit cap, and the third for my Greek sailor cap for when I am feeling especially jaunty around those racking and bottling times when errant wine seems to appear out of thin air.
 

Chuck Rairdan

In pursuit of fine reds
WMT Supporter
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
67
Reaction score
59
Location
northern California
I’ve been maintaining a cellar for both bulk/barrel aging and bottle storage for my wine and commercial wines. I keep mine at 55°F from November to April, then bump it to 58°F for the other months. Living in the deep south, a few degrees makes a difference in the power bill during the hot months.
Yup, my cooling unit may be tapping out during heat waves and I may see an uptick in cellar temps at those times.
 

FTC Wines

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
1,348
Reaction score
426
Location
N. Ft. Myers , Fl
We keep our wine room at 69*. Approximately 500 bottles, 22 carboys and 3 smaller barrels. We have 8-10 year old bottles that have held up nicely. Even 10 yr old fruit wines. We are in SW Florida. Sure cooler would be better but that’s a lot of AC running time. The room is a 10 X 12 spare room in the house with its own 5000 btu wall ac unit.
 

Bmd2k1

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
29
We keep our wine room at 69*. Approximately 500 bottles, 22 carboys and 3 smaller barrels. We have 8-10 year old bottles that have held up nicely. Even 10 yr old fruit wines. We are in SW Florida. Sure cooler would be better but that’s a lot of AC running time. The room is a 10 X 12 spare room in the house with its own 5000 btu wall ac unit.
thanks! Dig the Real World feedback. Sounds like one Helluva Collection!

Cheers ✌
 

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,862
Reaction score
7,108
Location
South Louisiana
Yup, my cooling unit may be tapping out during heat waves and I may see an uptick in cellar temps at those times.
Mid 60’s isn’t going to ruin your wine, it’s just not the absolute optimum. As @NorCal pointed out, it depends upon your collection of wines and their drinking dates / habits. I was putting away some wine this weekend, the drink dates were 2025 - 2065, so it’ll be four years before the first bottle is consumed. Will it make another 40 in my cellar? Technically, yes, but I’ll be dead. Guess somebody will get to enjoy it, cheers!!!
 

Chuck Rairdan

In pursuit of fine reds
WMT Supporter
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
67
Reaction score
59
Location
northern California
We keep our wine room at 69*. Approximately 500 bottles, 22 carboys and 3 smaller barrels. We have 8-10 year old bottles that have held up nicely. Even 10 yr old fruit wines. We are in SW Florida. Sure cooler would be better but that’s a lot of AC running time. The room is a 10 X 12 spare room in the house with its own 5000 btu wall ac unit.
Great to hear your track record over a long period of time. One of my concerns with the lower temps in addition to all that run time and more likelihood of temp variations in summer is that the wine will mature too slowly for the typical 5-year window yet, as you've done, some longer agings that still hold up.
 

Chuck Rairdan

In pursuit of fine reds
WMT Supporter
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
67
Reaction score
59
Location
northern California
Mid 60’s isn’t going to ruin your wine, it’s just not the absolute optimum. As @NorCal pointed out, it depends upon your collection of wines and their drinking dates / habits. I was putting away some wine this weekend, the drink dates were 2025 - 2065, so it’ll be four years before the first bottle is consumed. Will it make another 40 in my cellar? Technically, yes, but I’ll be dead. Guess somebody will get to enjoy it, cheers!!!
2065? :D If it turns out good enough, it may follow you into the afterlife...
 

ibglowin

Moderator
Staff member
Administrator
Super Moderator
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
Messages
23,262
Reaction score
19,923
Location
Northern Nuevo Mexico
My cellar is 55 for ~6 months of the year and then 64 for the peak cooling season in the Summer. Fall and Spring is a slow creep down or up depending on the season. I have wines of my own making as well as Commercial wine that are now 10 years old and they are both drinking beautifully under these conditions.
 

Chuck Rairdan

In pursuit of fine reds
WMT Supporter
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
67
Reaction score
59
Location
northern California
My cellar is 55 for ~6 months of the year and then 64 for the peak cooling season in the Summer. Fall and Spring is a slow creep down or up depending on the season. I have wines of my own making as well as Commercial wine that are now 10 years old and they are both drinking beautifully under these conditions.
Thanks, Mike
Just visited a winery this past weekend that applies an 'old world' approach to making, which includes using the yeast present on the grapes and fermenting and aging the wines in synch with the seasonal temperature variations. The results are some interesting and unique wine profiles compared to conventional techniques and notably bright, complex wines among the mix. Also, they likely experience a wider range of variation between vintages, which is brave if nothing else.
 

jsbeckton

Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
542
Reaction score
240
When I built my cellar I landed on 60F. A few years in, I took a few bottles of a batch and aged them in my boiler room where the temp swings wildly from 60-80F in the winter months where the boiler cycles. In the summer it’s a fairly constant high 70’s.

After 2 years I did a blind tasting between the cellared wine and the boiler wine. The difference was very subtly but I gave a slight edge to the boiler wine!

I will try the next blind tasting at 4 years but I am questioning how much cellar aging really helps the average homemade wine, especially those to be consumed within 5 years.
 

Khristyjeff

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
187
Reaction score
154
Location
Northern Illinois
When I built my cellar I landed on 60F. A few years in, I took a few bottles of a batch and aged them in my boiler room where the temp swings wildly from 60-80F in the winter months where the boiler cycles. In the summer it’s a fairly constant high 70’s.

After 2 years I did a blind tasting between the cellared wine and the boiler wine. The difference was very subtly but I gave a slight edge to the boiler wine!

I will try the next blind tasting at 4 years but I am questioning how much cellar aging really helps the average homemade wine, especially those to be consumed within 5 years.
I wonder if the boiler room temps helped your reds age more quickly so they tasted better than those that may take a bit longer under cooler conditions?
 

jsbeckton

Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
542
Reaction score
240
I wonder if the boiler room temps helped your reds age more quickly so they tasted better than those that may take a bit longer under cooler conditions?
Maybe, but if that is the case my normal basement temps are probably just as good, if not better, than the controlled cellar temps for wine that will be consumed within a few years. If I wasn’t looking for a difference I probably wouldn’t have found one. That is how similar they tasted.

I will continue to try this with different wines to see if I get similar results. My point is more about not worrying about trying to hit 55 exactly or about the difference between 60 and 65 as it probably isn’t going to matter for most homemade wine that will be consumed in 5 years or so.

Also, I use a normal AC unit, no humidity control, and the corks from bottles 6 years old are still just fine. Thought I’d mention that because I know some people get more expensive units because they are worried about humidity.
 

Chuck Rairdan

In pursuit of fine reds
WMT Supporter
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
67
Reaction score
59
Location
northern California
My previous wine cellar under the stairs had a low in the 65 range but could start pushing high 70's during heat waves when I had to refrain from running the AC during surcharge periods--not good. A combo of fruit, mead, and mostly reds. Most of those wines should be gone within 5 years and the 2020 vintages are now resting happily in the new wine cellar before the temps ramped upward. These days almost exclusively big reds and larger volumes too. Will post a pic soon once I get the cellar trimmed out with some remaining details and transfer some bottles I have in remote storage.
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
1,163
Reaction score
962
Location
Badacsony wine region. Hungary
Just visited a winery this past weekend that applies an 'old world' approach to making, which includes using the yeast present on the grapes and fermenting and aging the wines in synch with the seasonal temperature variations.
I live in the "old world" and my cellar goes through natural temp fluctuation from about 10°C to 18°C, with a few short term spikes from time to time. But to me that is normal.

The results are some interesting and unique wine profiles compared to conventional techniques and notably bright, complex wines among the mix. Also, they likely experience a wider range of variation between vintages, which is brave if nothing else.
Brave? Interesting perspective. From the current market driven world, where consistency is more important that uniqueness, I guess that is brave.

Today.

But there was a time each vintage was a vintage because it was unique. And it was special. That was kind of the implied point and definition of "vintage" after all, versus a consistent wine from year to year. Making a vintage wine can be difficult. After all, one year may make a lousy wine, and sales can suffer. But not making a vintage wine means one may loose the delight when a wine will shine in a stellar year.

Oh, how the world has and is changing. Quarterly corporate results more important than long term quality. :(

Personally, I prefer each yearly wine as a vintage, even it fails, versus hedging one's bets and going for the consistent mediocre year and year out, year after year. ;)
 
Top