Everyone knows that aging is an important factor in creating a fine wine. It is a delicate chemical process which continues long after the bottle has left the winery, on through its time in storage, up until the moment the cork is pulled. Not surprisingly, a wine which is properly stored will age and maintain its flavor much better than those which have not been well cared for.
In order to preserve the integrity of a wine, it is recommended that the bottles be kept in fairly precise conditions. According to experts, wine should never be exposed to excessive amounts of light, it should be maintained within a steady temperature range of between 52°F and 58°F, and exposed to relative humidity levels greater than 50%. Improper storage, or changes to these conditions will risk spoiling the quality of the wine.
But does this mean that a fine wine must be stored in a dark, damp underground cellar in order to be enjoyed? Of course not! It is entirely possible to create an elegant space to properly store your wine with the help of LEDs.
When people say that a quality wine should never be subjected to excessive amounts of light, they are primarily referring to short wavelength UV rays, like those emitted by the sun. As UV light penetrates a bottle of wine, it begins to break down the delicate molecules which help to give wine its unique flavor. This is why many wines are stored in dark colored glass bottles. One of the many benefits of using LEDs to light your wine cellar, is that most LEDs produce no UV light. This helps to prevent your wine from breaking down too quickly.
Of course, over-exposure to any form of light can cause damage to wine over time, so LEDs provide an additional benefit of being available in a variety of different brightness levels. At Inspired LED, we typically recommend Normal Bright LEDs for wine cellar applications. These LEDs provide the perfect amount of accent lighting while preventing damage to the wine. By incorporating a dimmer switch, LEDs can also be easily adjusted from a gentle decorative glow, to a brighter level, allowing even the smallest details of a wine label to be read clearly. For maximum energy efficiency and peace of mind, our LEDs can even be paired with accessories like the infrared motion sensor, or magnetic switch to ensure that the light will there when you need it, and automatically turn off when you’re done.
Whether you prefer whites or reds, a steady temperature is key to properly storing wine for long periods of time. While there are a range of temperatures at which wine can be safely stored (typically anywhere between 40°F and 60°F) the most important thing to consider is that once selected, the temperature conditions must remain consistent, varying by only a degree or two. Fluctuations in temperature will have an effect on the amount of oxygen in the wine, which will in turn effect the flavor.
Fortunately, unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs produce very little heat, which means that even in large numbers or when kept very close to the bottles, LEDs will have little to no effect on the ambient temperature of a room. Even if left on for long periods of time, you will not have to worry about heat affecting the quality of your wine.
Humidity is considered by some to be the most important factor in wine storage. If the air is too dry, the cork will dehydrate and shrink, allowing oxygen to seep into the bottle, in turn spoiling the flavor. It is generally advised that a proper wine cellar should maintain humidity levels between 60% and 80%. Not only are LED components capable of functioning in these conditions without fail, but since heat has a direct effect on moisture, the low operating temperature of LEDs serves to help prevent fluctuations in humidity as well.
The visual benefits of using LEDs in a wine cellar are perhaps the most obvious, and the most gratifying. Custom wine cellar builders, like those at Heritage Vine, have been utilizing Inspired LED products in their designs for several years with some impressive results!
LED accent lighting can be used to enhance the detailed design features in a cellar, adding a touch of warmth or dramatic shadow, even the magic of color changing lights with the help of an RGB system. Since our LEDs are available in a variety of colors and brightness levels, it is easy to match any décor, from modern to traditional and everything in between. By incorporating simple controls like dimmer switches or sensors, your LED system can be personalized and adjusted to suit your every need.
Whether adding a wine cellar to a high-end home, or customizing a classy restaurant, LED lighting can help to take your vineal experience to the next level. For more cellar lighting inspiration, be sure to browse through our gallery. And once you’re ready to add some lovely new LED lighting to your cellar, take advantage of our free Design Services. Our expert Design Team will help walk you through the process so that you can finish your project quickly and efficiently, and get back to what matters most. Cheers!