Can a Wine Cellar be too cold?

Short answer, yes, but it is much more than that and may not necessarily be a major issue.

Cold temperatures are believed to slow down the aging process, meaning the necessary chemical processes occur at a much slower rate. In a similar way, high temperatures speed up the aging process of wine. When storing your wine, to ensure the best taste and the most effective aging process you should ideally keep your cellar within the range of 8 C to 18 C, but the sweet spot sits at 13-15 C. The key to long-term storage (a year or more) is to maintain a close eye on your thermostat to ensure it stays at the ideal temperature of 13-15 C.

What does cold temperature do to the wine?

Cold temperatures can cause the wine to expand in the bottle, which could cause the wine to spill and for oxidation to occur in the bottle, leading to the wine going bad. It is also important to note that Wine will freezes at around -7 C.

What happens if the temperature drops?

A gradual decrease isn’t a major problem, the real issue is a significant and unpredictable drop in temperature. For the average person the proper storage of wine isn’t a big consideration, the garage or fridge is an acceptable spot to store their wine. In the short term it may be okay, but for long term storage it won’t do.

The average temperature of a fridge in Australia sits at 3 C, which is too cold to store wine and in most cases the wine expands putting pressure on the bottle and cork causing spills and leading to the wine spoiling. Storing your wine in the garage is a lot worse than in the fridge for one main reason, that the garage is subject to large fluctuations in temperature. Whether it is Winter, and the temperature is at 10-15 C during the day, but at night temperature plummets into the negatives. Or during Summer where it is just hot every day and is well above the recommended range for storing wine.

The fact is wine storage requires a specific stable temperature of between 8 and 18 C to maximise the taste and flavour. A gradual decrease may not be as devastating on the wine as a huge drop, but it is still very important to regulate your temperature range to ensure the best possible outcome from your short- or long-term storage.