Regardless of whether you’re a serious wine investor looking for suitable storage for your prized bottle of Chateau Lafite, or just a fan of a glass (or a bottle) of wine who is looking for somewhere to keep your stash, finding the right place to store your wine is important.
The conditions of the place where wine is being stored is essential to preserving it properly, and this is why many people look into creating a unique space to keep their wine – often a wine cellar. Unfortunately, however, not all of us are blessed with a property with a cellar – or even a space that can be easily used as a wine cellar. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have one…
We are seeing more and more people embracing the opportunities that converting a shipping container can bring. They are commonly used as pop-up cafes, bars, and restaurants, and continuing on the drinks theme, they can also be converted into a safe, secure, and effective wine cellar.
Creating the Perfect Wine Cellar
The key to a good and effective wine cellar is in ensuring that the environment is optimal for the storage of wine. This means getting the right temperature, humidity, and light in the cellar. It is important, therefore, that when you are designing your new wine cellar, these factors are taken into consideration.
Wine Cellar Temperature
The temperature of the storage space for wine is important as it can help to chemically preserve the wine’s flavour and balance. Changes in temperature can also affect the cork, causing it to expand or contract, allowing differing quantities of oxygen into the bottle which can then also affect the flavour of the wine.
It is recommended that the optimal temperature of a wine cellar is set at between 12°C and 19°C for red wine, 8°C and 12°C for white wine, and 5°C and 8°C for champagne.
If you buy a container to act as your wine cellar, it is important that it is well insulated with an insulating lining to give you the control over its temperature that is required. This will help to keep the interior of the shipping container wine cellar at a constant temperature without the outside temperature affecting it.
You could also consider using a refrigerated shipping container, which has been specifically designed for interior temperature control.
Wine Cellar Humidity
In truth, the humidity of a wine cellar does not have a major effect on the wine itself. However, the fact that there might be little ventilation and that you may be changing the natural temperature of the room, means that its humidity can be affected.
The main problem with high humidity for a wine cellar is that it can cause degradation of materials such as the labels on the bottles and wood racking or shelving.
It is therefore recommended that you try to control the humidity of the space either using moisture traps and drying crystals, or a dehumidifier. The optimum humidity level for a wine cellar is around 70%.
Wine Cellar Light
The amount of and type of light that wine is exposed to can also affect the balance of the chemicals in the wine. Too much light can age it prematurely and affect the wine’s taste, feeling in the mouth, and aroma.
Although all types of light can affect the quality of the wine, the best type of lighting to have in your shipping container wine cellar is LED lighting as it produces a minimal amount of heat. It is recommended that you use dimmer switches allowing your complete control over the amount of light that is used in the cellar.
Electrical packages and lighting systems can be incorporated into the design of your shipping container during the manufacturing process.
In addition to these factors, there are also other benefits to converting a shipping container into a wine cellar, including:
- Specialist racking can be installed to help to reduce vibrations and thus not disturbing the wine.
- Shipping containers can be bought in a range of different sizes to suit your wine cellar requirements. They can be found generally in a 10ft, 20ft, or 40ft length, but can also be joined together if you need a bigger space.
- Converting a shipping container is more cost-effective than caving underneath your property to create a wine cellar.
- Converting a shipping container is a form of upcycling, and, as such, recycles old shipping containers that would otherwise go to waste, making them an eco-friendly option.