Regardless of the size of your wine collection, you should never overlook humidity when storing your wine.
You may think that keeping your wine at a cool temperature is the only thing that you need to worry about, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Humidity is one of the most important factors when it comes to wine storage, and can make or break the quality of your wine collection.
Keep reading to learn more about humidity in wine storage, why it’s so important, and how you can ensure the ideal humidity levels for your wine collection.
Why is Humidity Important When Storing Your Wine?
Too many people only consider temperature when storing their wine collection, and neglect other factors such as sunlight and of course, humidity.
Humidity is one of the main things that you should consider when storing your wine collection, especially if you’re storing your wine for longer periods of time - especially if you are planning on ageing your wine or you’re investing in it.
Your wine collection should have some humidity in order to keep the cork in place. Humidity keeps the corks moist and keeps them in place in the bottleneck. If you store your wine in a space with not enough humidity, then your cork may dry out. This will expose your wine to oxygen, causing your wine to deteriorate quickly.
Oxygen exposure causes your wine to undergo irreversible chemical changes, leaving it tasting un-fresh and generally unpleasant. Oxygen can flatten the flavours in a matter of hours, so be sure that the corks are secure in your bottles.
You should also ensure that you don’t expose your wine to too much humidity. Although a little humidity is needed, be sure that you don’t store your wine collection in an area that is too humid, as this can cause moisture to accumulate around the bottle. This can damage the labels and cause the cork to deteriorate.
If you’re a wine collector and value your wine, you’re likely to be extremely disappointed if you come to find that the labels have peeled off your expensive wine bottles. Mould loves moisture, so if left unattended, mould may begin to grow in your wine storage space and around your labels.
You should also ensure that the humidity levels are correct when storing your stemware and wine accessories such as decanters. Glassware can develop mould if not properly cared for - but if you store your wine accessories in the right conditions, they should remain clean and dry.
How Humid Should My Wine Storage Space Be?
When it comes to storing your wine, the universal recommended relative humidity level is between 50% and 70% - with 60% RH (relative humidity) being the perfect level.
Although you may not need to worry too much about the humidity levels if you’re only storing your wine for a couple of days, you should still monitor and regulate the humidity levels within your storage space to ensure that moisture doesn’t destroy your label.
Humidity is most important if you’re storing your wine for longer periods of time. This is because most people will leave their wine for months (or even years) at a time without checking on it - and if there’s not enough humidity or there’s too much humidity in the storage space, then they will come back to their wine collection and be shocked that it’s deteriorated.
Most designated wine storage spaces such as wine coolers, wine cabinets, wine walls and wine cellars will regulate the humidity levels inside the appliance, meaning that you don’t have to worry about a thing when storing your wine collection. Read on to learn more about the various different wine storage options that can ensure the correct humidity levels for your wine.
How Do I Ensure The Right Humidity Levels?
Humidity is a wine storage factor that is often overlooked and can be difficult to both regulate and maintain the correct humidity for your wine storage space. However, if you have an appliance that takes humidity into account, then the stress is taken off your shoulders.
One of the best appliances that you can purchase to store your wine collection is a wine cooler. In 2022, most wine coolers come with humidity regulating features, ensuring that your wine remains in conditions between 50% and 70% RH.
Wine coolers are the best option if you’re planning on storing your wine for shorter periods of time - generally for serving. The main function of a wine cooler is to keep your wine cool - typically between 11 and 14 degrees Celsius, but this can be adjusted.
You can find wine coolers in three designs - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated. Freestanding wine coolers are designed to stand freely with sufficient space around the unit for ventilation. Built-in and fully integrated wine coolers, however, are designed to be installed into kitchen space such as under counters or inside cabinets.
Another way of ensuring the perfect humidity levels for your wine collection is by purchasing a wine cabinet. Wine cabinets have similar functions to a wine cooler but are designed to store your wine in optimal conditions for longer periods of time. Wine cabinets are also a great choice if you have a larger wine collection that you plan on ageing.
Both wine fridges and wine coolers can have dual temperature zones or multiple temperature zones. This enables you to store your reds, whites, and sparkling wines separately, or prepare some bottles to be served while you store bottles in the long term all in the same unit.
A wine wall is also a great way to store your wine collection - and is the best way for you to display your wine bottles. Wine walls are often used in commercial settings due to their modular setup - meaning that you can grow your wine wall with your collection. The majority of modern wine walls will feature humidity regulation.