Consistent low temperatures, combined with high relative humidity (RH) are essential for wine storage facilities not only to ensure the quality of the wine but also to mitigate spoilage and losses. Traditionally, wine storage and ageing have been done in wine cellars because changes in climate conditions are minimised in spaces underground, and the more stable the conditions contribute to the quality of the wine. However, above-ground storage offers other advantages such as affordability and convenience which is why there has been a recent trend towards wine production above ground. Both above-ground and below-ground storage offer advantages for producing high-quality wine. Yet, both types of storage can be vulnerable to unstable and fluctuating climate conditions which can lead to problems such as mould, damage to labels and wine spoilage. This is why it is crucial to consider a dry-air solution for your wine storage facility.
ABOVE-GROUND VS BELOW-GROUND WINE STORAGE
In below-ground storage, such as traditional wine cellars, thermal inertia is higher which means the indoor climate is more resistant to external climate variation. This prevents seasonal weather changes from affecting the interior conditions in which the wine is stored and aged. In above-ground storage, indoor temperatures are likely to increase in the spring and summer. Higher exposure to the external environment causes increased climate variation, which is why a dry-air solution is often required to ensure more stability.
Even though underground storage provides a more stable climate, there is higher relative humidity in underground spaces which can lead to condensation causing mould formation and other issues. Above-ground storage has become more popular in recent years also due to lower construction costs in comparison to below-ground storage. However, the impact of varying climate conditions means that above-ground storage requires greater management of the indoor climate which requires higher energy consumption than the more stable climate of cellars.
HUMIDITY CHALLENGES WITH WINE STORAGE
Uncontrolled humidity in wine storage facilities (both above and below ground) can affect the ageing process, quality, and taste of the wine. It is important that the RH stays at an optimal level - not too high but also not too low. If this is not achieved, several problems can occur:
- Mould on wine barrels affecting the flavour
- Mouldy corks spoiling the wine
- Corks becoming too dry, allowing air to get into wine bottles or causing evaporation of the wine resulting in losses of the content in the bottle
- Damaged labels on bottles lowering the overall value of the product
- Structural damages to the facility due to mould or corrosion
- An unsafe and unhygienic environment
Image: Mouldy corks on wine bottles
ENSURING PROPER WINE STORAGE AND AGEING
The problems that arise when there is a lack of humidity control can be overcome by dealing with the root cause. Temporary solutions, such as washing mould off of walls or other surfaces are not sufficient and sustainable for preserving wine while ensuring its quality. Furthermore, using bleach to remove mould from surfaces can leave traces of a substance that can taint the wine. Damage to labels can be prevented by covering them with a protective foil, however, this is inefficient when dealing with a large volume of wine bottles.
Preventing humidity problems before they occur is best done by installing an appropriate dry-air solution in the interior of the wine storage facility. The process of wine ageing is very sensitive, and it is crucial to keep RH at a specific, optimal level with minimal fluctuations. In above-ground storage, a dehumidification solution is essential because of the fluctuations caused by closer contact with the external environment, while in underground wine storage, dehumidification is crucial for regulating the naturally higher humidity levels.
The recommended indoor conditions for storing wine are around 13°C and 70% RH. Cotes adsorption dehumidifiers provide full humidity control so that you can avoid the costly issues that come with condensation. Adsorption dehumidification is a self-sustaining process that requires little maintenance making it an efficient choice for wine production and storage.
WHY CHOOSE COTES?
- Precise control capabilities tailored to the specific needs of your wine storage facility
- Built to last, with a resilient design that ensures a long service life
- Compact, sturdy, and dependable dehumidifiers, designed to provide reliable performance even in challenging environments
- High return on investment, with cost-effective operation and maintenance that can help maximize your profitability
Cotes dry-air solutions are designed to regulate RH and create optimal conditions even for sensitive processes such as wine ageing. Not all wine storage facilities are the same, underground storage, for example, might require specific considerations when it comes to installation. Cotes team of experts along with our trusted partners have the knowledge to advise you on the specific type of dehumidifier, and the most effective installation method for your specific setup.
THE BEST DEHUMIDIFIER FOR THE JOB
The most suitable dry-air solution for wine storage is an adsorption dehumidifier from the Cotes C-range product family. The dehumidifiers in this range are specifically tailored to meet the unique requirements of sensitive product environments - including wine storage and can be modified with supplementary modular components. Another benefit is that the dehumidifiers in this range are pressure neutral, making them particularly suited to underground environments. To learn more about the Cotes C-range of dehumidifiers, download the Datasheet.
Image: Cotes adsorption dehumidifiers
Do you have issues with humidity?
If you would like to determine whether you need a dry-air solution in your production or storage facilities or would like to explore what a custom dry-air strategy can do for your business, please reach out to one of our trusted partners near you.