A question we are often asked, and often ask ourselves is, “what makes a good wine cooler?”.
It should be really simple right? All you need is a stable temperature and a reasonably high humidity? Wrong.
The first part of the problem is that domestic a/c units will only cool down to 16C. And they don’t generally allow the humidity level to be controlled and it is pretty vital that the humidity is above 50% to prevent corks drying – real caveau have humidity approaching 100%. But you do not want the humidity too high otherwise all the labels will turn mouldy which is why the vignerons do not label the wine until it is booked to ship.
A cautionary tale
We were recently pretty horrified when we took apart a competitors very expensive cellar cooler unit (think £15k) to discover that it was made from commercial refrigeration bits and not good ones at that. The whole of the condenser unit, without the case, could be had online for £200. Humidity control was literally a trough of water, the risks of standing water are a bit obvious if the unit is switched off for any period of time, that the exit air blew over: it could not have been more rudimentary if they had tried. And was it actually tested to have a CE Conformity Mark? Eeeeeruuuum no they just said it did as our client discovered when they asked for the test paperwork.
What is on the market?
Most of the snooty brands of wine cellar coolers are absolute and complete rubbish repackaged with a fancy label stuck on them.
What do we do?
At the moment, for most projects, we are using manufacturer modified units, from a well known manufacturer, that are specifically designed to work at 12C with programmable humidity via a high pressure water atomiser injector spray so that the water mist is mains treated water.
If you want a no BS wine cooling system: do get in touch.
Maybe we should just invent some snooty branding and stick a fancy label on our kit and then double the price?
Perhaps we are too honest.