Wine coolers keep your wine at the perfect temperature, ensuring that the wine does not go bad and can be enjoyed for many years to come. However, there are some mistakes you might make when dealing with wine coolers that could ruin the wine or hurt your health over time.
If you want to keep your wine cooler running smoothly and safely, you’ll want to learn how to control humidity in your cooler. Here are 9 ways you can do this!
1) Basic Maintenance: Clean, Store, and Vacuum
Regularly cleaning your wine cooler with a vacuum can help remove dust, which in turn helps to prevent mold from growing. Keeping a humidifier in your cooler may be helpful. Some have also claimed that placing uncorked bottles of water (or other beverages) around or in a cooler keeps it more humidified.
Still, others recommend that you store red wine on their sides, as opposed to their typical upright position, as it helps keep wines fresher for longer periods of time by allowing excess air to move freely and exit through the bottle’s side rather than its mouth.
2) Use the Right Bacteria
When you’re dealing with a wine cooler, one of your biggest concerns is temperature. Not just because it can affect flavor and quality, but also because wine deteriorates quickly at extreme temperatures.
As you might expect, however, temperature control alone won’t do much for humidity—and if your cooler has very low humidity levels (which some do), then that can be problematic for your bottle as well.
That’s why it’s best to use a cooler that not only maintains consistent temperatures, but also monitors humidity—and even adjusts it as needed. This will go a long way toward ensuring a pleasant storage environment for your bottles and maximum safety during shipping too!
3) Buy a Good Machine
Buying a wine cooler is an important step toward controlling humidity levels. Many cheaper models allow temperature to fluctuate, creating high-humidity conditions that can destroy wine by causing it to go bad and age prematurely.
Newer models provide better protection and save you money in the long run by allowing you to store your favorite bottles at ideal conditions longer.
There are two main types of wine coolers: under-counter and freestanding (also called floor standing). If you have limited space, be sure to measure carefully before buying a freestanding unit because these can take up quite a bit of room, even if they’re small in size.
4) Keep Moving Air Through the Cellar
If you want to keep your wine cool and dry, you need to move air through it. If your cellar has high humidity in summer months, it’s best to have a way of bringing cool, fresh air in while venting excess moisture-laden air out.
This is most easily done with openable windows or doors – but if these aren’t possible, make sure there’s a fan that can be run during summer months. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; even opening a door will help with airflow and cooling. If you do nothing else, do at least that!
5) Don’t Overstock Your Cellar
One of many problems associated with having a high humidity level in your wine cellar is that it can lead to overstock. High humidity levels mean high levels of moisture, which means increased chances for mold growth and mildew.
When you purchase excess amounts of bottles, you’re also increasing your chances for spoilage due to being unable to store everything properly.
To control how much you purchase at once, try out a long-term storage solution like mini-kegs or bulk wine preservation—you might be surprised by how quickly they sell!
6) Freeze for Racking, Then Monitor Temperature With a Thermometer
Racking your wine is like pulling a cork. Except you’re taking it all, every last drop of liquid gold, out of one bottle and into another. Racking is an important process for wine because it helps improve flavor and clarity by filtering out sediment that’s making your vino look cloudy.
But rack too often and you risk exposing your bottles to too much oxygen—which can damage or even spoil your wine—and thus reduces its value.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to maintain a proper temperature in between racking sessions to help keep both you and your wine cool as a cucumber. First thing’s first: Freeze what you aren’t drinking yet!
Freezing wine actually slows down aging processes, so if you have some on hand that you don’t plan on using anytime soon, stick it in the freezer to keep it fresh longer. Afterward, monitor how warm (or cold) your cooler gets with a thermometer.
Ideally, you want to see temperatures around 50 degrees Fahrenheit during normal use and 40 degrees Fahrenheit when not in use. If your cooler is getting too hot (or cold), try moving items around inside or adding more insulation where necessary.
7) Vent to Allow Outside Air to Get in
Most modern wine coolers have vents to allow air to flow into and out of them. If your cooler is not equipped with a built-in vent, you can purchase an aftermarket one to help control humidity. An open vent allows outside air to get in, which helps reduce any changes in temperature inside of your unit.
This will also prevent fluctuations in humidity as well as prevent mold from growing on your stored bottles. Open vents should only be used during periods of colder weather. During warmer months, close off all ventilation points so that no outside air gets in or out of your wine cooler.
8) Don’t Let Cold, Damp Air Sit Next to the Wine Cellar Walls
Even if you take steps to humidify your wine cellar, cold air can still find its way in. Cold air has very little moisture content—which means cold air will evaporate any moisture it encounters (including from your wine).
Keep out that cold, dry air by making sure there are no openings between your wine cooler and outside walls. Ideally, install a wall-to-wall vapor barrier on all outside walls.
9) Move Bottles Around from Coolest Place First, Always Settle Towards Warmer Section
One of the main enemies of your wine is temperature fluctuation. Temperature swings will help turn your whites into reds and cause your wines to lose any potential fruitiness.
If you have a large, single-zone cooler, consider arranging your bottles so that they move from coolest to warmest location over time. This way, when it comes time to decant or open that bottle of Syrah, you’ll be ready to go!
Rather than positioning all your wine at one temperature zone (either too hot or too cold), think about what you want out of each bottle—are some for immediate consumption? Would another benefit from further aging?—and place accordingly.
How you control humidity in your wine cooler depends on what kind of cooler you have. For example, if it’s a built-in or freestanding unit, you might be able to adjust some settings inside. If it’s a fridge-style model, you won’t have as much flexibility but there are still ways to reduce moisture in your cooler.