Do you know what hygrometry is? “Maintaining the perfect level of humidity in a wine cellar is extremely important, as it will ensure that your corks don’t dry out”, comments Terry Pomerantz. Some wine cellars do not have a hygrometer. You can easily purchase one in a specialized store or on the web.
The importance of humidity in a wine cellar
Whether it is in a miniature wine cellar or a larger customized one, the precise level of humidity that needs to be maintained is just as important as the perfect temperature.
What is the perfect degree of hygrometry for your wine cellar?
In an electric wine cellar, Terry Pomerantz suggests that you keep the humidity levels at 70%. “When humidity levels are too low, corks dry out. The wine evaporates and oxidizes quickly. For a wine to age properly in a cellar, maintaining the proper humidity levels is just as important as controlling the temperature.”
“If, on the contrary, humidity levels are too high, labels will begin to deteriorate and corks too. If you enjoy investing in good bottles, you surely don’t want this to happen!”
How to control hygrometry levels
How to bring hygrometry levels up in your electric wine cellar?
Some wine cellars have an integrated hygrometer with which you can adjust humidity levels. If that isn’t the case, then you can simply place a bowl of water on the lowest shelf and purchase a hygrometer separately. You can find very good ones in specialized stores.
How to reduce hygrometry levels in an electric wine cellar?
To reduce hygrometry levels in an electric wine cellar, simply remove the bowl of water.
How to bring hygrometry levels up in a natural wine cellar?
If you have a natural wine cellar with a dirt floor, you can bring hygrometry levels up by watering the ground lightly. If your floor is “hard” (wood, concrete or other), you can place a box of wet sand on the ground.
To control humidity levels, you can install a hygrometer in the center of the cellar. If your cellar is large, you will want to install several hygrometers to ensure that you have even levels of humidity throughout.
How to reduce hygrometry levels in a natural wine cellar?
Should you find that humidity levels are too high in your natural wine cellar, you can spread lime on your dirt floor or replace the sand by high quality lime.
Natural wine cellars and Quebec winters
But we are in Quebec! Humidity levels of 70% might be ideal in France, in Italy or in the Iberian Peninsula. Quebec climate is different. Here, it isn’t rare to have temperatures between – 15o C and -5o C during most of winter. Humidity levels also naturally drop during this time. Inside, humidity levels higher than 50% might create condensation and mold problems. Many Quebecer wine amateurs with natural cellars will be happy with humidity levels around 50% or even 40%, without any oxidation problems or corks drying out.
The main hygrometer in Terry Pomerantz’ electric cellar is integrated into his cooling system. “I installed 2 more inexpensive hygrometers in 2 other spots in the cellar. It allows me to ensure that humidity levels on the main hygrometer are accurate…” adds Terry, with a smile. “So, when all 3 hygrometers show similar levels of humidity, I’m happy! Well, I’m always happy”, concludes Terry, laughing!