What is humidity control in a wine fridge?
Most quality wine fridges have a form of humidity control, the vast majority, well over 90% have automatic humidity controls where either the design of the fridge or the built in humidity detector and regulators modify the internal humidity to ensure it stays within a range of around 55-85% with the ideal range between 65-70%.
However, some wine fridges come with manual humidity controls, where the owner can set, modify and monitor the internal humidity range themselves seeking to raise or lower the internal humidity in the unit to the ideal ratio.
Which wine fridges come with humidity controls?
Most brands deal with humidity automatically within their build design and materials or automatic sensors and controls where the humidity is brought up or down automatically based on these readings.
The ultimate wine cabinet with humidity controls is undoubtedly the EuroCave Royale that allows the owner to set their own specific humidity rate. This is just one of many features for this, the very ultimate in wine storage from any brand.
For humidity controls that are more affordable but still from a premium brand, why not look at Swisscave's WLB-460-FHU-MIX - a wine fridge with all the premium features of Swisscave's top range including handy MIX shelving and winter system.
Liebherr's GrandCru range has active humidity controls in their prestige versions of this wine cabinet, the largest being the Liebherr GrandCru 324 Bottle WSbli 7731 with humidity controls.
The most affordable wine cabinet with humidity controls in our range is the mQuvee Velvet 170 which offers user managed humidity alongside a wealth of other features for the storage of fine wines.
Why control the humidity of a wine fridge?
Wine enthusiasts understand the significance of proper storage conditions in preserving the integrity and flavour of their prized bottles. While temperature control is often the focal point, the impact of humidity on wine storage should not be underestimated. Whilst all our wine fridges have a degree of humidity management there may be reasons why you want to take direct control including:
1. Prevention of Cork Deterioration:
One of the primary advantages of maintaining optimal humidity levels in your wine fridge is the prevention of cork deterioration. Corks are a natural material that can dry out if exposed to low humidity, leading to shrinkage and compromised seals. When the cork shrinks, oxygen can infiltrate the bottle, accelerating the aging process and negatively impacting the wine's flavour and aroma. By managing humidity levels, you create an environment that keeps corks supple and maintains a proper seal, safeguarding the quality of your wines.
2. Preservation of Wine Labels:
For collectors who appreciate the aesthetics of their wine collection and want to maintain its value, managing humidity is essential for preserving the integrity of wine labels. Excessive dryness can cause labels to peel, fade, or become brittle, diminishing the visual appeal of your bottles. Too much humidity can lead to mold and labels slipping. Proper humidity levels help maintain label quality, allowing you to showcase your collection with pride and ensuring that each bottle tells its unique story.
3. Preventing Evaporation and Flavour Changes:
Humidity control is crucial in preventing evaporation of the wine itself. In a low-humidity environment, the liquid in the bottle can slowly evaporate through the cork, leading to changes in concentration and flavour. By maintaining the right humidity, you create a stable atmosphere that minimises evaporation, allowing your wines to age gracefully and preserving their intended taste profiles.
4. Protecting Against Mold and Mildew:
On the flip side, excessive humidity can pose its own set of problems. High humidity levels may encourage the growth of mold and mildew, posing a threat to both labels and corks. Investing in a wine fridge with humidity control features allows you to strike the right balance, providing a protective environment without the risks associated with excess moisture.
5. Consistency in Aging:
Consistency is key when it comes to aging wine. Fluctuations in humidity can lead to inconsistencies in the aging process, impacting the wine's development. With a wine fridge that allows you to regulate humidity, you create an environment that promotes uniform aging, resulting in a collection of bottles that mature harmoniously over time.
How can humidity be increased or decreased in a wine fridge?
If you have a manual humidity control then you can simply increase the humidity on the control panel. However, if you've bought a wine fridge that offers only automatic humidity controls or worse, no humidity control at all, then you would need to buy a humidity measuring device and put this inside your fridge.
Increasing humidity in a wine fridge
1. Use a Humidifier:
A straightforward solution is to introduce a humidifier into your wine fridge. Choose a model specifically designed for small spaces, and place it strategically to disperse moisture evenly. Regularly monitor humidity levels to adjust the humidifier settings accordingly.
2. Utilise Humidity Trays:
Humidity trays filled with water can be strategically placed in your wine fridge. The water gradually evaporates, increasing humidity levels. Be cautious not to overfill the trays, as excessive moisture can lead to mold growth.
3. Damp Towel Method:
Place a damp towel or cloth inside the wine fridge. The moisture from the towel will evaporate into the air, raising humidity levels. Keep an eye on the towel's condition and replace it when it dries out.
4. Add Water Reservoirs:
Some advanced wine fridges come equipped with water reservoirs or humidity control features.
Decreasing humidity in a wine fridge
1. Open Containers of Baking Soda:
Baking soda is known for its moisture-absorbing properties. Place open containers of baking soda strategically within the wine fridge to help reduce excess humidity. Replace the baking soda regularly to maintain its effectiveness.
2. Use Silica Gel Packets:
Silica gel packets, commonly found in packaged goods, can be repurposed to absorb moisture. Place these packets in the wine fridge to help regulate humidity. Remember to replace them as needed.
Ensure proper ventilation in your wine fridge. Good air circulation can help prevent stagnation and contribute to humidity reduction. Check for any obstructions around vents and, if possible, adjust the ventilation settings on your appliance.
In situations where humidity is consistently high, consider using a small, portable dehumidifier. These devices are designed to extract excess moisture from the air, helping you achieve and maintain optimal humidity levels.
General tips for humidity management in a wine fridge
Regular Monitoring: Invest in a reliable hygrometer to regularly monitor the humidity levels in your wine fridge. This tool provides real-time data, allowing you to make timely adjustments.
Climate Control Wine Fridges: Consider upgrading to a wine fridge with built-in humidity control features. These specialised appliances offer precise management of both temperature and humidity, providing an all-in-one solution for wine storage. Liebherr, Swisscave, EuroCave and mQuvee from our range all provide various options.
Experiment and Adjust: Finding the ideal humidity level for your wine collection may require some experimentation. Be patient and make gradual adjustments until you achieve a stable environment that suits your specific wines.
Which wine collections benefit from humidity controls?
If you're cellaring a lot of vintage Champagne or mature wines then humidity management will be more important to you than any other collector due to the protection offered to corks and labels due to humidity management. If your wine collection is worth thousands of pounds and especially if these wines may be sold in the future you'll need to ensure providence and manually controlling humidity levels becomes more important.
Wine collectors who live in a humid parts of the country or want to store their wines in humid environments, like cellars, garages or conservatories, also need to pay close attention to the external humidity and how that may be impacting their collection inside the wine fridge.
Wine fridges with humidity controls start from around £1500 and go up in price all the way to the ultimate EuroCave Royale at £15,000. If you need help choosing a wine fridge with humidity controls speak to us via live chat or come visit us in our London store.