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Heatwave storage interventions

I have around 120 bottles in different parts of a wardrobe in a north facing room, which is generally cool and dark. I’ve put an Arduino in there with both an air probe and a DIY bottle probe in water and generally see air temps fluctuate perhaps 5-6 degrees/24h, but the wine temps only 1-2 degrees which I’m happy with (nothing too fancy in there…). It has been averaging around 18 degrees or so.

Yesterday was a test, with some of the wine temperatures towards the top of the cupboard getting up to 24 degrees.

As temperatures are going to hit 32 where I am today, I’ve had a slightly panicked rearrangement this morning, moving everything to the bottom, wrapping it all in blankets and throwing ice packs in amongst it all. I will be intrigued to see the data… the two fanciest bottles I’ve put in my kitchen fridge.

Different sources suggest different things about an absolute spoiling temp (JR 30, wine enthusiast 26.5). What are other peoples thoughts on this? I’m sure many of the wine shops I’ve entered in the south of France have been 26+.

Does anyone else face a similar situation? Any other tips people can share?

It did cross my mind to regularly spritz them all with water but I don’t think there’s enough airflow to allow evaporation…

There is a lot of discussion on this forum about this exact issue, so I would suggest digging out some of the older threads if you can.

I’m afraid that there don’t seem to be many hard and fast rules regarding the effects of temperature on stored wine. One encouraging theme that did crop up several times is that at least some bottles of wine seem to be able to suffer very bad conditions without significant harm.

I just found a few, thanks. Feel a bit more relaxed having read other people’s experiences!

We were discussing similar the other night, as long as the temperature fluctuation isn’t too big, (which it wouldn’t be in north facing with that many bottles for thermal mass) you’ll be fine.

The people who seem most concerned with the exact temperature a wine should be cellared at are people trying to sell you temperature control equipment to do so (and I’ve always found it slightly suspicious that the conditions of a cellar in a fine chateau in Bordeaux are the exact right conditions for keeping wine).

I do have a wine fridge which as saved me an absolute fortune. It has a lock on it, so a few bottles in to an evening with friends I can’t suddenly crack open a magnum of (too young) Burgundy unplanned.

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Is that a timelock then?!

I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
The heatwave will only last a couple of days.
If it’s in cardboard or wooden boxes that will act as an insulator.
Also it would take an awful amount of energy to heat about 100 litres of liquid and 50 kgs of glass stacked togeter even by a degree or 2. I guess you’re seeing that effect with your thermomiters measuring the air and a jug of water temperatures.
Last night we had a bottle of red from our overspill drinking now stash which is upstairs in the bedroom, and it was sweltering up there. But the wine was still at a good drinking temperature.

No, but I keep the keys far enough away that laziness kicks in and I grab more accessible wine.

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I stuck a remote thermometer in the cupboard under my stairs where I keep my wine, and I’m pretty amazed by how stable the temperature has been.

I may have to start considering more long term storage of wine there.

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that looks pretty stable for that hour, be interesting to see it over 24hrs. I will post my graph later today once everything is uncovered.

I took the thermometer down from our upstairs bedroom at 9.45 this morning, so this is the slightly longer graph. 0.1C change throughout the day so far.

Now I’m wondering if I should be sleeping in the cupboard rather the bedroom.

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The fuller you keep your wine storeage area the better as it’ll hold a much more stable temp. It takes a much bigger change in air temp to raise 100 kgs of wine and glass than 10kgs of same.
Also a big mass of wine will almost act as a cooler and thats why you wont see the air temp go up as quickly under the stairs or in the cupboard as the rest of your house in the heat wave. One of those win win situations.

Two options:

My preferred suggestion, is to open & drink one of the fanciest bottles immediately. and the other bottle the following day.

Alternatively: Thermal mass is your friend! Place several concrete slabs in the wine storage cupboard - as many as you reckon the floor loading can take. Alternatively use a few 25L water cooler barrels.

If you want to keep wine cool, it’s a lot better to think in terms of insulation rather than thermal mass.

Assuming your bottles do not have large surfaces in contact with hot/warm solids or liquids, basically what you need to do is keep warm air away from them. If you don’t do that, slabs of concrete are not going to make any difference. But wrapping your bottles in insulating material, or putting them in an insulated box, will. Even better if you can put something cold inside the insulation

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Thanks for all the responses. I think @SteveSlatcher is on to it. I wrapped them in lots of blankets and interspersed a few ice packs.

Room temperature reached 30.5, but as you can see air temp (orange) around the bottles barely rose, and liquid temp in a 750ml glass bottle (grey) was flat.

Panic over

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I keep my wine in a long passage on the shady north side of my house. It’s between garage and house and is unheated.

However, at one end it has a half glazed door which opens onto the patio and faces south and on sunny days we get a very significant greenhouse effect in there.

Fearful of accidental jam making, I bought a very simple cut-to -size blackout blind. Essentially you put some velcro stickers on the door and simply stick the sheet to it with the Velcro. Very cheap from Amazon, and very effective - and easy to take down and store in autumn. A little inelegant but doesn’t matter for that part of the house.

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Just don’t worry about it (unless you live in a flat in London maybe).

I have stored large quantities of wine at room temperature in S England for 15-20 years, normally at around 18-20 in summer and peaking around 23 at the hottest times. Some under the stairs and some in cooler corners of downstairs rooms.

I have never had a wine that was heat damaged, and only on one or two occasions had one that I felt was more mature than I expected. A rate which would almost certainly have been the case with professional storage :slight_smile:

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