Wine storage is much more than the wine you choose to store inside. In fact, the wine, contrary to what you might think, is less a factor in an effective wine cellar than the cellar itself. Of course, ultimately, the wine inside your cellar is what will matter, but in the beginning, and, to some degree, going forward, the cellar itself is what will make or break your collection. Without the right temperature and humidity, and in less than ideal conditions, the wine you hope to one day enjoy or sell (wine as investment is not as rare as you may think) will not be there. Instead, with some careful planning, forward thinking, and the right cellar, how you want your wine to be when you one day drink it is achievable and very possible.
Some people choose to build their wine cellar in the basement, and while this may be the best space in your home in which to create a cellar, (if you have a basement) keep in mind that the conditions in your basement are not necessarily ideal for wine storage, and that you should still create an environmentally controlled space for your wine collection. A cooling system makes sure that regardless of the conditions outside, or even in your home, you are protecting your wine and your investment. Such a system also means that your cellar does not have to be in a basement. A cooling system means the sky is the limit when it comes to cellar location, or is at least limited by the size of your home.
Of course, where you place your cellar is based on how a cooling system can be installed. If installing a self contained unit, you need to be able to vent directly through the wall outside (only units specifically designed for extreme conditions) or to another room that is heat and air conditioned and is at least twice the size of your cellar.(the most cost effective method.) If using a split system, you can place your condenser up to 50 feet from the evaporator and either copper lines or ducting might be used. There are many ways and types of cooling systems. Consult a wine cellar specialist to determine what can be used in your situation.
You must choose the correct unit for your cellar so that it cools efficiently for your particular conditions. Not only the size of the room, but the insulation, the door, where the cellar is located inside the home are all factors when determining the correct size of unit. A wine cellar specialist can do a heat load calculation to determine the size of unit that you will need. The correct unit can be counted on to keep your wine collection safe. You will find that temperature and humidity will become common words around your home, as these are the two aspects in your cellar that are key to your wine storage. Most units have digital controls. This type of control allows you to monitor the temperature in your cellar, and tell you instantly if there are any changes. The cooling units automatically run in cycles to maintain the correct temperature. Digital controls are part of most units, but if offered as an option, consider going with it, even if it adds to the price of your unit.