One important part of a wine cellar is a good cooling system. The quality, value and graceful maturation of your wine depend on the proper function and maintenance of your wine cellar refrigeration system. The refrigeration system is considered as the heart of your wine cooler as it is one of the tools that will bring success to the culmination of your wine.
Typically, a wine cellar refrigeration system is installed in a wine room (above ground wine cellar) as there is no need for it in passive wine cellars (usually built underground). These cooling systems provide control over temperature and humidity in a wine room and therefore maintain the effectiveness of the wine cellar itself. A wine cellar refrigeration system provides the wine room with protection from external factors that would compromise the ageing, flavour, aroma and the overall quality of the stored alcoholic beverages.
Types of Wine Cellars
The installment of a refrigeration system depends on the type of wine cellar. Here are examples of wine cellars:
- Active wine cellar – this is a storage room for wine and other alcoholic beverages that is usually controlled by a climate-manipulation system. It must provide proper temperature and humidity and must be highly insulated in order for the wine to achieve its maximum potential. Active humidification of the air is necessary especially for wine cellars located in an area where there is a very dry climate.
- Passive wine cellar – these are the non-climate-controlled wine cellars which are usually found underground or within caves as there is minimum temperature swings in these areas. The area of installation must be naturally cool and damp and must be located in places with temperate climate. A passive cellar is a great option for those who want to spend less in operational cost at the expense of predictability.
Types of Wine Cellar Refrigeration Systems
There are three different types of wine cellar refrigeration systems available on the modern market: “through the wall” systems, ducted systems and split systems. Each of these cooling systems has specific installation requirements that will need to be met in order to attain success in its operation.
- Through The Wall Cooling Systems – these cooling systems are known to be inexpensive but reliable options. An installation of a “through the wall” cooling unit allows utilization of a self-contained system without having to place refrigeration lines or any kind of ductwork. You just need to have an interior space that is large enough for these units to be placed and you will definitely maintain proper temperature and ideal humidity in your wine cellar.
- Ducted Wine Cellar Cooling Systems – these are also known as self-contained systems. This type of cooling system is often used when there is no available space for a unit inside a wine cellar. It can be installed at some distance from a wine cellar, usually mounted on the attic, a mechanical room, or in an adjacent space. It uses ventilation ducts to introduce cold air into the cellar and separate ducts for expulsion of warm air back to the cooling system in an alternate location.
- Split Cooling Systems – these wine cellar cooling systems are composed of three things: a condensing unit, an evaporator and sets of lines for connection of its parts. The use of these cooling systems is becoming a trend nowadays as they offer quite a wide range of versatility in terms of unit placement and also provide reduction of heat, noise and wine cellar ventilation requirements. Split cooling systems are usually made of high quality and longer lasting materials that would add to the ideal wine cellar environment.
There are various factors that must be considered prior to installment of wine cellar refrigeration systems such as the size of the cooling unit, heat load, insulation of the cellar, local weather conditions, etc. The selection of a good cooling system is an essential part in the success of the wine aging process. We have to be thankful for modern technology as it has paved a way for an easier and a much effective means to control climate conditions in wine cellars. More importantly, modern technology has made the art of aging wine an accessible one. Here are the best wine coolers for home use.