New Cellar - Oh That Texas Heat! - Printable Version

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- oostexan - 08-13-2005

About a year ago I moved back to the holy land, the great state of Texas. When I moved into the new house, I converted a closet in my study into a wine cellar. I had this done by a pro wine cellar company that did the vapor barrier, new exterior grade doors, racking, and installed a Vinotemp unit. The company that did this was Apex Wine Cellars. I think they did a very good job, but need some guidance.<P>My question is this, now that I have gotten most of the way through a hot Texas summer, I have noticed that the temperature stays between 59 and 62 in the summer, and 56 to 59 in the winter.<P>I have had a few occassions when the power has gone out, and the cellar got up to the mid-high 70's for an hour or so.<P>How do the resident pros on the board think this will effect my wine? I have about 300 bottles, with an empahsis on good second and third growth Bordeaux and a fair amount of good California Cab, all of which I plan to age for 5 to 7 years after vintage date.<P>I have been collecting for about four years, but lived in Colorado where I stored wine in an interior closet. So this is my first official "wine cellar".<BR>

- hotwine - 08-13-2005

I'm not a resident pro, but will respond anyway.<P>You don't have a problem IMO. The seasonal variation you describe isn't enough to damage the wines, or even disturb their maturation over a 5-7 year period. But suggest you install a remote sensor (if you haven't already), so you can check temp. without opening the door... and maybe also an alarm that will alert you if temp climbs above low 70's.<P>Congrats on your new toy.

- oostexan - 08-13-2005

Thanks HW, great suggestions and feedback. I have a temperature guage installed in the cellar that I can see through the glass doors - and it dont do no such good to fret when the power goes off. Fact of life during thunderstorm season here in Tejas...

- robr - 08-13-2005

From what I have read you don't really need to worry unless the temp climbs into the 80s or 90s.<P> Occasional minor temp variations, provided they are not happening every day, are probably not going to affect the wine much, except to speed up the aging a little bit.

- winoweenie - 08-13-2005

Oos the few hours of mid-70s wont harm your wines as they stay in the low 60s because of the mass. I lost my compressor 10 summers ago when I was in Napa. It was mid August and a Friday afternoon. My electricion couldn't get a new compressor till Monday and it was noon before it was running. My next door neighbor reported the temp in the cellar had risin from 53* to 61* in the 2 days. The temp outside was 113. Don't sweat it. Hotsie has had weeks of temps above yours in his jernt in Texas and outside of a few stewed bottles he drank every bottle. WW <IMG SRC="">

- oostexan - 08-13-2005

Follow up Question:<P>Do you guys think that storing my wine in the 59 to 62 range six months out of the year will have an effect on it aging gracefully? I know that ideal is 57 degrees, but can 3 to 5 degrees make that big of a difference? Just curious as to what you think, I do have a few really good'uns that I would like to take to 10 or so years....<P>Thanks gents.

- winoweenie - 08-14-2005

They will R.I.P. at the slightly higher temp. No Probl;emo. WW

- amw5g - 08-20-2005

Oos-<BR>If you don't mind, may I ask you roughly how much this cost you? We're going to be building a house in Florida (no basement, natch) and will need storage for a couple hundred in a closet. Just curious what something custom like that runs.<BR>Much obliged!

- hotwine - 08-20-2005

AMW, you addressed your question to OOS, but I'll jump in.<P>If you're planning a DIY project, you can do it pretty cheaply, except for the cooler. You would need extra insulation (how much is debatable) and racks. Since it would be a closet inside your house (an air-conditioned space), you would only need about 20 degrees of protection below the house temp of 75F or so. You could get that with a single layer of 1/2" foamcore, in my opinion. Add racks (I got mine from Sam's Wholesale at $59 for a single 168 bottle rack (check price in the archives, could have been a bit less), low-wattage lighting (5 or 10 watt, comes on when the door is open), and a Whisperkool unit to match your cubic footage. Not too expensive at all. But if you want to have a contractor do it for you, double the price. At least. You also would need a dedicated electrical circuit (with its own breaker).

- oostexan - 08-21-2005

I know that I could have done this cheaper in more of a DIY type of project, but I wanted a cost effective showpiece in my office as it sits right off the main living room. So I got custom racking in rosewood that holds about 550 bottles, put in nice tile and pretty nice doors, then had the doors finished to match the judge paneling in my study. The whole thing cost right around 5K, front to back.<P>That including tearing out all the old sheetrock and having it replaced, installing the vapor barrier, the cooling unit, all the electrical work to create a dedicated circuit for the chiller, etc.<P>I got a couple quotes and feel like I got a good deal. <P>It looks great and matches the rest of my office perfectly, looks like it was built as part of the house. I think that getting the doors stained to match the room and all the extra trimwork they did really helped. I also feel like I added value to the home as part of a project that I derive a great amount of enjoyment from.<P>Lots of dust for 2 to 3 weeks though...but it is the best 5K I have ever spent on a hobby/toy.

- amw5g - 08-21-2005

Thanks Oos & Hotwine. We're still several years off from building on our piece of land, but know that a wine closet/cabinet will definitely be a part of the home. Thanks much for your advice & details.<BR>-Andrew

- hotwine - 08-21-2005

Another point or two to consider:<P>- The commercial wine coolers I've seen must be able to exhaust hot air. It they dump it into an adjoining room, that can be a problem.<P>- A "split system", in which the evaporator coil is in one location (the "cellar") and the condenser in another (outdoors, perhaps), affords the installer flexibility that's not available with most "wine coolers". Such a system is most useful for installations which cannot easily exhaust hot air. That's the type I have.... an idustrial chiller designed for walk-in refrigerators in restaurants and supermarkets. There's no exhaust, and no air-intake either.... it re-circulates chilled air within the cellar and only gets refreshed when I open the door.<P>Point being: don't feel you have to go with a chiller that's billed as being designed for wine storage. Something else may work better for your application.