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Wine storage...


Jonzjob

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We have just moved into our new home, in the Aude, and have a problem in that the previous owner has a cupboard in the boiler room with storage racks for 150 bottles of wine! The capacity is NOT the problem. It's the temprature. It is about 19 deg C in the room. Does anyone know how I can build and cool a cupboard to store the wine at about 12 to 14 degrees. I know that there are loads of insulting insulating boards around, but the cupboard will just come up to the ambient temp eventualy. There are wine caves on the market, but we can't/won't afford almost 1000€ for storing wine...

I'm a dab hand with a saw, hammer, soldering iron and a wood turning lathe so any ideas would be greatly appreciated  .

John.

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[quote]We have just moved into our new home, in the Aude, and have a problem in that the previous owner has a cupboard in the boiler room with storage racks for 150 bottles of wine ! The capacity is NOT the ...[/quote]

What about any old fridge? or chest freezer turned upright?

Take the door off. Add more shelves in it, because you'll need more than 150 bottles to resolve the problem!!

Stack your wine and turn the appliance on. Stupid thinking (and you'll guess that I am a woman!) but because the fridge is meant to work at a low temperature and the room in which it is, has a higher temperature than you want for your wine...maybe with no door on the difference will settle to the correct one.

AAouch! It (the latest EDF bill) hurts !!! Need more wine to cool that one down!!!!!!!

On a more serious note if you are 'bricoleur' could you make yourself a cupboard with a heat exchanger which you can regulate to the correct temperature... All materials used can be from scrapyard. Even the heat exchanger...Isn't it a fridge in reverse...

Also visit the web site for 'The Centre for Alternative Technology'. They probably will have some tips on heat exchangers... sorry not on wine
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Hi,

Sorry, but it can't be done, if the room in which you want to build the cupboard has a year long mean ambient temperature of 19C. You can easily eliminate variations, but you can't cool below it, without some kind of cooling system. For very small temperature drops of 1-2 C you can use evaporation, but it won't do much better than that without pretty elaborate systems. Old fashioned pre-refrigeration food safes used wicks outside well insulated boxes, and a similar system might work for small numbers of bottles.

I can explain the physics of this, if anyone is interested, but there are several variables involved for a passive system. Missyesbut suggests a fridge with the door open, hoping you'll get to the right temperature. You won't. You'll get a frosted up heat exchanger in a couple of days, and although the internal temperature of the fridge may be below ambiant, the electricity costs will be monstrous and you won't get the results you need. What'll happen in fact, is that the ambiant air outside the fridge will be heated by the unit, and will get in and reheat the wine. The only way a fridge can cool inside is by being closed.

Don't (_please_) waste your money on any passive system if the MEAN year long temperature in the place you're thinking of using is above what you need. However, if - like me - you have a cellar which goes down to 2-3 C in the winter and rises to 25 in summer, with solstice temperatures of 8C and 15C then you could do something with very effective insulation and high thermal capacity.

Just for your information. Cellaring is better at 8-12C, rather than the higher temperatures you quote. Also, this 4C variation is ideal to age the wine, the steady low temperatures found in actively refrigerated "wine cellars" tends to inhibit aging. (again I can explain the physico-chemical basis for this). However, these temperature variations should be slow, year long ones rather than daily variations which are extremely bad for wine.

(I used to be a wine consultant in a previous existance, planning, organising and running wine cellars for people! as a sideline to my main job as a freelance chef)
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