World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Wine cellar

Article Id: WHEBN0005624725
Reproduction Date:

Title: Wine cellar  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Glossary of winemaking terms, Buttery (shop), Tel Kabri, Basement, Servants' quarters
Collection: Rooms, Wine Packaging and Storage
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Wine cellar

An underground wine cellar

A wine cellar is a storage room for wine in bottles or barrels, or more rarely in carboys, amphorae, or plastic containers. In an active wine cellar, important factors such as temperature and humidity are maintained by a climate control system. In contrast, passive wine cellars are not climate-controlled, and are usually built underground to reduce temperature swings. An aboveground wine cellar is often called a wine room, while a small wine cellar (fewer than 500 bottles) is sometimes termed a wine closet. The household department responsible for the storage, care and service of wine in a great mediaeval house was termed the buttery. Large wine cellars date back over 3700 years.[1]

Wine bottles stored in a wine cellar at Jesus College, Oxford


  • Purpose 1
  • Conditions 2
  • Active versus passive 3
    • Debate on humidity 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Wine cellars protect alcoholic beverages from potentially harmful external influences, providing darkness and a constant temperature. Wine is a natural, perishable food product. Left exposed to heat, light, vibration or fluctuations in temperature and humidity, all types of wine can spoil. When properly stored, wines not only maintain their quality but many actually improve in aroma, flavor, and complexity as they mature.


A sherry solera over the ground
An above ground wine cellar in Runcu - Romania

Wine can be stored satisfactorily between 7–18 °C (45–64 °F) as long as any variations are gradual. A temperature of 13 °C (55 °F), much like that found in the caves used to store wine in France, is ideal for both short-term storage and long-term aging of wine. Note that wine generally matures differently and more slowly at a lower temperature than it does at a higher temperature.[2] When the temperature swings are significant, 14 degrees or more, it will cause the wine to breathe through the cork which significantly speeds up the aging process. Between 10–14 °C (50–57 °F), wines will age normally.[3]

Active versus passive

Tasting room of port wine in a wine cellar of a producer

Wine cellars can be either active or passively cooled. Active wine cellars are highly insulated and need to be properly constructed. They require specialized wine cellar conditioning and cooling systems to maintain the desired temperature and humidity. In a very dry climate, it may be necessary to actively humidify the air, but in most areas this is not necessary. Passive wine cellars must be located in naturally cool and damp areas with minor seasonal and diurnal temperature variations—for example, a basement in a temperate climate. Passive cellars may be less predictable, but cost nothing to operate and are not affected by power outages.

Debate on humidity

Some wine experts debate the importance of humidity for proper wine storage. In the

  1. ^ Wilford, John Noble (22 November 2013). "Wine Cellar, Well Aged, Is Revealed in Israel".  
  2. ^ "The Science of Aging Wine". Vintage Cellars. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Lichine, Alexis (1967). Alexis Lichine's Encyclopedia of Wines and Spirits. London: Cassell & Company Ltd. Chp 6, p.22–24. 
  4. ^ M. Kramer "Seeking Closure" The Wine Spectator pg 36 October 31st, 2007


A table for drinking and gathering in a Sonoma wine cellar

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.