We are not lucky enough to have our own wine cellar. My wine “cellar” is actually a 32 bottle single zone wine refrigerator when it’s full, which isn’t as often as we’d like of course. For us it works just fine but sometimes I think it would be cool to say “Yes, would you like to see my collection of wine in my wine cellar.”
However, for those who have the big bucks, will find this article, Tips to Light Your Wine Cellar the Right WayCollections, helpful because it talks about how lighting is crucial to preserving your wine.
In the mid-’80s, billionaire Malcolm Forbes paid approximately $155,000 at auction for a bottle of wine. The bottle, which was believed to have come from Thomas Jefferson’s own collection and dated back to 1787, was then put on display under strong lights and at the wrong angle. These conditions eventually made the cork fall into the bottle, and the wine lost its value and was thrown away.
Most Wine Cellar designers and installers use strong disclaimers and will not be responsible for any consequential damages of any nature due to improper lighting.
The Wine experts at American Wine Essentials say “Lighting a wine cellar is an important part of the overall cellar decor. “Air Lock” recessed ceiling lights are the most popular. These should be put on dimmer switches to control brightness. In most cases, these are used as the main lights within the cellar.
Also popular are various display lights to accent different areas of the cellar. Some cellar contractors offer display “rope” lighting that is specially designed and built to fit into the display angle of individual bottle racking. Different types of spotlights are used to highlight picture openings, table areas, or large format display bottles. It is recommended that all lighting be on a timer system so they can’t be left on for long periods of time. Lights cause excess heat and will cause the cooling equipment to over work itself.”
Wine cellars protect wine from potentially harmful external influences, providing darkness, constant temperature, and constant humidity. Wine is a natural, perishable food product issued from fruits fermentation. Left exposed to heat, light, vibration or fluctuations in temperature and humidity, all types of wine can spoil. When properly stored, wines not only maintain their quality but many actually improve in aroma, flavor, and complexity as they mature. Depending of their level of sugar and alcohol, wines are more or less sensitive to temperature variances. The more the wine contents alcohol and / or sugar the less sensitive it will be to temperature variances.
Maintaining the correct environment is essential if you are going to store your wines for an extended period of time.