Cellar: Location

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Traditional underground cellars have the great advantages of being secure, dark, at a constant low temperature without recourse to external energy sources, slightly damp, and rarely disturbed. As outlined in storing wine, these constitute ideal conditions. Few modern dwellings have anywhere that enjoys all these advantages, and to re-create them it may be necessary to spend lavishly on specialist help in constructing or adapting quarters with low lighting levels and specially controlled temperature and humidity (and as few visitors as the expender of all this money and effort can bear). It is also possible to buy special cabinets which look like refrigerators and can be programmed to maintain certain temperature and humidity levels, but they are expensive and guzzle energy relative to their capacity. Less expensive options include insulating a small room or large cupboard, insulating a space under some stairs, using a dark corner of a distant spare room or a closet against an outside wall, or a secure outhouse (although care must be taken that the temperature never falls so low as to freeze the wine and push the corks out). It is important that any makeshift cellar is far from any heat source, even a hot water pipe and, especially, a boiler, but a constant medium temperature is less harmful than violent temperature swings. Those living on ground level can even excavate, and depend on a trapdoor.