Wine Storage & Humidity26/08/2020
Humidity, in simple terms, is the concentration of water vapour in the air in a given moment. The higher the concentration of water vapour, the higher the humidity.
We typically express humidity as a %. If humidity is stated as 100%, this means that the air is completely saturated with water vapour and cannot hold any more.
If you have professional wine storage systems installed on board then be aware that humidity is very closely aligned to temperature - if you adjust the temperature of your fridges then monitor and adjust the humidity settings as necessary.
The ideal humidity level for wine storage is between 50 - 70%, the closer to 60% the better!
This can be monitored quite simply, regardless of where your wines are stored. A basic Hygrometer or, even better, a dual Thermo hygrometer which will measure both temperature and humidity, can be installed on the wall of the storage area. Just keep an eye on this and make adjustments however and whenever necessary.
Why is humidity important to monitor?
If the level of humidity is too low (below 50% the air is too dry) corks can start to dry out. As they dry they shrink a little and this can allow more oxygen to enter the bottles increasing the rate of oxidation. It can also allow small amounts of liquid to escape from the bottles stored on their sides.
If the level of humidity is too high (above 70%) this can encourage mould & mildew growth. This will initially damage the labels, first visible as spore spots and unpleasant staining. If not treated quickly, this mould can spread to the walls, racking and even flooring of your storage areas making it much harder to eradicate. It can also begin to affect natural corks and, if this happens, the wine inside can become forever tainted!
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