Cellar temperatures

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Nigel Lierop, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. I've noticed that various bottles of red in one of my cellars have thrown a tartrate deposit after a prolonged period of very cold weather which has lowered the cellar temp down to nearly freezing (!)... First time I've had the problem. Anyway, should the victims be candidates for rapid consumption or can I continue to cellar then and chalk it up to experience?
  2. I suspect the latter Lionel, although if your cellar is getting down to near freezing, you probably have the opposite problem in summer and those kind of extreme lows and highs are not ideal.
  3. Agree with Richard, worth keeping a cellar thermometer in there all year but no real problems with the cold. I have a cooler-only AC unit so never gets above 12 degrees in the summer but can get down to close to freezing in the winter with no ill effects.
  4. During the freeze I've seen 5.9 as the lowest. Never seen it below 8 before! Not unduly worried, as the fluctuations as whole are fairly gradual and go with the seasons.
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  5. Pretty much exactly what Richard said.
  6. Jim, 12 degrees is pretty cold! Your wines must age glacially.
  7. Nigel - is your cellar adequately insulated ? My variation is in the range 10 C to 15 C winter to summer.
  8. Should not worry if I was you. So much bullshit written about cellar temperatures but suspect most are by manufacturers of wine fridges .
  9. The only point which I think no one doubts is that daily temperature swings more than 1-2C are highly undesirable. If a cellar can reach Near Zero in cold weather, I wouldn’t be too concerned re hat fact in itself, but it would prompt me to measure intra-day ranges.

    My passive underground cellars went down to 7C on Thursday last week. They tend to be at 10-11C in winter and 12-15C in summer, from what I have seen so far. I suspect intra day ranges are minimal but need to check further across this year in the different cellar rooms (it is a new home for us).
  10. I agree, and I would also add that a lot of what is written is by people who live in places with significantly more extreme temperatures than the UK - e.g. Southern USA - where several months of the year are well over 30c every day.
    Mark Crann and Keith Prothero like this.
  11. Yes and do people realise that all wine from the Southern Hemisphere spends a few weeks in extreme temperatures and seems to survive OK. Have kept quite a lot of my wine in the Cape for many years at temperatures ranging from 12c to 30c through the year . No apparent problem
  12. Although never tested extreme conditions, I fully agree that cellar T is not such an issue. I believe big variations in humidity may be more problematic (don't put your bottles next to the central heating).
  13. Quite possibly, but the advantage of opening whites(and beers stored in there) without further cooling is considerable.
    Jonathan Budd and Matt O'Connor like this.
  14. Tartrate crystals are no problem whatsoever. No need to hurry to drink those bottles
  15. Fairly often in the past I had German riesling which had thrown tartrate crystals - the wine was in good order when tasted. I encounter the phenomenon less these days, perhaps because shipping temperatures are better controlled.
  16. Thanks all - much relieved. I've also identified the issue - shoddy construction (cough, cough) and bad packing has caused a large gap to appear between the sheets of Kingspan I'm using as insulation.
  17. A bit a thread drift, yet somewhat related...

    Does anyone have experience storing their wines in a very damp cellar for extended periods? My Spanish cellar is a storage room underneath a basement staircase that is quite damp (95%+). Temperatures not a problem (max 23C even when its high 30s outside), nor do I care about mouldy labels, but with cork being porous I'm worried about the stagnant air causing off aromas in the wine over time. Thoughts?
  18. My cellar is very humid (I often find drips of water forming on the bottles and get all kinds of mould on things). I have never noticed any ill-effects of this, occasionally I do find slight mould on between the cork and the capsule but it has never shown any evidence of penetrating the cork at all and no evidence of stagnant aromas.

    However, I have only been using the cellar for 4 years so don't know if I will still be saying the same in 15 years time. Also my cellar is fairly cool (probably never been above 12 or 13C even in the height of summer) which will slow any processes down.
  19. Not been an issue in my experience - my other cellar is very damp and I've had stuff in there for 8 or 9 years.
  20. Thanks both, sets me a little more at ease. Realistically, 3/4rds of the wine will be consumed within 5 years but I have thought about loading up on cellar worthy wines because one can never have too much Tondonia!
  21. Are the hallowed cellars of chateaux across France also prone to temperature variations from summer to winter? Just wondering since there is a certain cachet to buying such back vintages ex-cellar and whether these are actually better stored than in say Octavian (from a technical point of view) is open to question.
  22. I keep almost all of my wine in bond (mostly bought in 2 cases of 6) and get out wines that I intend to drink over the next 12 to 18 months which are kept in an external lock-up or else on a wine rack at home. The lock up seems to be okay as it is cold in winter, and relatively cool in summer, dark and humid - though hardly ideal cellar conditions. I do have a bottle of LMHB 2012 which I have had a couple of years so there are one or two exceptions. In future new house permitting etc will get a eurocave for home.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  23. I once remember entering the cellars of Chateau Rochebelle on a baking summers day. The cellars in question are hewn out of the rock under the vineyard. You could see your breath in the darkness. Quite impressive!
    Graham Harvey likes this.
  24. Quite a lot of Bordeaux storage is above ground. It’s kind of swampy in parts!
    Keith Prothero likes this.
  25. Thermal mass is the trick in those situations.

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