Maintaining a constant, cool temperature is the best way to preserve your wine collection. After all, wine is an investment and certain conditions are needed to keep it that way.
Temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit should be avoided, as that will age wine too rapidly. If heat is trapped in your wine storage area or wine cellar, it can have an effect on the taste of the wine. Also stay away from drastic changes in temperature. The rapid change from heat to air conditioning will force a wine cork outwards, allowing air to enter the bottle (air permits wine to oxidize). A little air, at the proper time, is good—as when letting a wine breathe before consuming it. Long-term exposure destroys the fruit flavors in a wine and gives it a brownish color.
If you have a single rack or wine tower in your kitchen, dining room or living room, make sure that it sits away from the heating vents and air conditioner units. When storing wine in any kind of kitchen racks, keep wine bottles as far away as possible from heat sources and cooking units.
If you have, or are planning, a self-contained home wine cellar, consider temperature control for your cellar. Some sites are better suited for wine storage than others, such as a cool, dark basement, or space beneath a stairway. Others will need the help of a temperature control system to make sure wine is stored properly.
There are a few steps you should take before installing a wine cellar cooling unit. The cellar’s interior walls should be covered in R-11 minimum insulation, while the exterior ones should be covered in R-19 minimum insulation. The walls and floors should have vapor barriers. For walls, vapor barriers are made of polyethylene plastic sheeting and should be installed on the warm side of the wall to gather any condensation that forms from the wine cellar cooling unit. For flooring, concrete only require a vapor barrier with a concrete sealant, while other types may require R-19 insulation to protect against condensation.