Humidity in Wine Storage - What's the ideal amount?

Understanding the appropriate conditions for storing wine is crucial; otherwise, you risk spoilage or a decrease in quality when you finally come to open your wine. There are multiple natural elements in the environment that can conspire to harm your wine and the humidity in which your wine is stored plays a significant role in keeping your wine optimum and maturing on target. If you focus on keeping your wine at the perfect humidity level, you can preserve the the contents of the bottle for longer and ensure the wine doesn't decrease in value due to damaged corks, seepage, reduced wine levels causing oxygenation and damaged labels. All of our wine fridges protect your wine collection from humidity damage.

What are the effects of Humidity on Wine

The most important negative correlation between humidity and wine is what it can do to the cork especially if humidity levels are too low (under 50%). But before we jump into why humidity affects a cork, it is important to understand WHY some wine bottles have corks to begin with. When wine is produced, it undergoes a highly complex oxidation process which helps maintain its taste and aroma. Different oxidation stages include higher or lower amounts of oxygen that the wine is subjected to. These levels help define the wine's overall flavour profile and fragrance. However, there is a point at which too much oxygen creates undesirable flavors and scents, ultimately leading to a spoiled wine. To keep this from occurring, we plug our wine bottles with corks (or caps), an impermeable buoyant material that is surprisingly adept at keeping oxygen out of our favorite vin!

So, how does this correlate back to humidity and wine? Well, humidity has a substantial impact on the cork's life. The cork begins to dry when a wine is stored in a low-humidity room or cellar. A dry cork is very problematic because, with not enough moisture to keep it intact, it begins to shrink and crack. This results in tiny spaces which allow oxygen through and eventually over-oxidates and spoils your bottle of wine.  

Although low humidity is what will spoil your wine, high levels of humidity are unwanted as well. If you are a wine collector and store your vintage, valuable bottles in a high-humidity cellar or wine room, you will risk ruining your labels. The humidity can cause condensation to form, which will eat away at the labeling, shrinking it or even causing mold damage.

Don’t forget that dark, overly humid places are great spots for mold to grow, which is another reason that high humidity can cause an issue when it comes to wine storage. The odds are this mold won’t get into your wine itself, but it could grow on the tops of your corks, eventually damaging it. Plus, nobody wants to drink wine from a bottle covered in mould.

What Humidity Level to Store Your Wine

While there is no exact science as to how much humidity should be in your wine storage room, there are recommended levels. When storing your wine, you want to keep the humidity levels within the "sweet spot" range. The ideal humidity percentage to store wine at between 70-75%. However, your wine and wine bottles will do just fine anywhere between 55% and 85% humidity. With that said, anything lower or higher than 55% to 85% humidity can cause irreversible effects on the wine, some of which can be so damaging to the wine that it may become undrinkable and lose its value.

How a Wine Fridge Helps Humidity Levels

One of the easiest ways to ensure your humidity levels stay within the sweet spot range is with the use of a wine fridge. Not any fridge, though. You need to purchase a wine cooler that comes optimised with either automatic or manual humidity control. All premium wine fridges control the humidity, either through their design or with the aid of small water bowels and most do it automatically, some wine cabinets have manual humidity controls make maintaining an deal and consistent humidity level a matter of choice. You will be able to keep all your most valuable wines in pristine shape with full humidity control.

One of our favourite humidity-controlled wine cabinets is the Swisscave - WLB-460FHU-MIX - Premium Edition 163 Bottle Single Zone Wine Cooler. This wine fridge is designed with the latest wine cooler technology. The overall reliability and quality of this Swisscave wine refrigerator is unmatchable and it's one of the few wine cabinets on our website where you can actively choose the humidity level yourself.

Swisscave uses the highest quality components in their Premium range, including inverter compressors, high-quality fans, and upgraded evaporators. These components ensure the best and quietest protection of your wines in a quiet unit that is also economical to operate. Additionally, The Premium range Swisscave fridge has an efficient design optimized for a collection of many different shaped bottles. While also maintaining a sleek and stylish appearance to fit into any wine collector’s home.

How to Achieve the Ideal Humidity levels

Humidity and wine are something you need to take into consideration no matter where you plan to store your bottles. You may notice that some professionally built wine cellars are already good at keeping the humidity right where it needs to be for wine storage; however, this is only sometimes the case. Although it’s not as easy as purchasing a climate control wine fridge, it is possible to keep your wine cellar’s humidity levels controlled, if they aren’t already, by installing a climate control system.

Regardless of the ambient temperature outside, the system will maintain the ideal storage temperature for your wine. A humidifier should also be included in the climate control system, most likely integrated with the heating and cooling system.

As a final step, you will need to make sure that your space is sealed with a vapor barrier in order to prevent the conditions in the rest of the house from slowly undermining all the effort your systems are making to keep your wine in ideal conditions. To prevent condensation, which can lead to mildew, the vapor barrier will be installed on the warm outside side of the cellar space.

We agree that this sounds a bit complicated, but you can protect your wine from the wrong humidity level with an investment in a wine fridge. Not only will it automatically regulate itself to non-threatening humidity levels, it will also protect your wine from sunlight, heat, vibration and bad odours; other elements that conspire to detract from the quality of your wine collection.

Sip, Sip, Hooray!

There you have it! Everything you need to know about the importance of considering humidity and wine storage. The most important message we send to you today is to research how to properly store your wine, especially if you are an avid wine collector. Not doing so could cause you to have a lot of spoiled and undrinkable wine on your hands.

Remember, investing in a humidity and climate-controlled wine refrigerator is the easiest way to ensure your humidity levels are appropriate for your wine storage. With these innovative storage solutions, you can rest assured that your wine is protected from humidity damage. If you're unsure which is the best wine cooler for you then speak to an expert on live chat who will be able to help you with your selection.

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Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.