Wine Cellar Cooling Systems

When you store your wines under the right conditions, you don’t only extend its drinking window but also improve each wine’s aromas and flavors. A contemporary wine cellar needs a cooling system in order to maintain the required temperature stability and humidity control inside the cellar. This system needs to be chosen wisely, by a specialist who is able to assess the different aspects of the wine cellar. The location, size, shape and even the style of usage of the cellar is a factor in determining the type and capacity of the cooling system. There are many options to choose from.

Before going into the types of cooing system, one should first determine the capacity of the cooling unit. The capacity of the cooling unit depends on the heat load on the wine cellar which can be calculated using heat-gain calculations. The character of the wine cellar hull (insulation rate, amount of glass surfaces etc.) is very important in calculating the heat gain. These calculations help to understand the capacity of the cellar enclosure to retain chill and give us clues on the cooling capacity required in order to maintain a certain temperature inside. Cooling capacities of the wine cellar cooling units are indicated in Watts or BTU/hr.

Choosing the type of the wine cellar cooling unit is a more complex task because it is directly linked to the design of the cellar. The word “design” here connotes the spatial solutions rather than the actual look of the cellar. The cooling unit takes up some space and that space should be sagely chosen assessing the availability inside the cellar, in neighboring spaces and/or in the ceiling void. Also inquiring about available building services such as chilled water will be helpful to find the best solution. Each system will have its pro’s and con’s depending on the situation and a well-trained wine cellar specialist can help find the most efficient result.

Monobloc System vs. Split System

A monobloc cooling unit, as the name suggests, is a cooling unit containing the condenser and the evaporator in a single enclosure. The well-known “through-the-wall” unit is a type of monobloc system. This system takes up some (storage) space inside the cellar but is very simple and efficient.

A split system on the other hand is where the condenser and the evaporator are away from each other and are connected by copper pipes. This system is almost equally efficient but much quieter and takes up little or no storage space in the cellar since most of the time since the ceiling void is sufficient for the evaporator unit.

Ducted System vs. Ductless System

While a through-the-wall unit or ductless split unit, either the whole or at least the evaporating part of which is located within the wine cellar, can be considered examples of a “ductless system”, a “ducted system” is required when the evaporator itself cannot be or is not desired to be located within the cellar (on any of the walls or in the ceiling void). This system provides great flexibility in design and allows maximum use of space inside the wine cellar, including an increased ceiling height.

Air-Cooled System vs. Water-Cooled System

Where to transfer the heat generated by the condenser of the cooling system is a technical matter which concerns the technical hardware of the building where the wine cellar is going to be built. Some large buildings are equipped with a chilled water network which can be accessed individually for every cooling unit in the building. This may include the individual cooling unit of a wine cellar as well. In that case, a suitable “water-cooled” unit will be used. This is an extremely efficient and energy conscious system but it requires good engineering collaboration and coordination with the main building during building phase as well as throughout wine cellars operation. An air-cooled system on the other hand, is a less efficient and more conventional solution which requires less technical coordination.

The perfect cooling system for your wine cellar will be a combination of the above explained systems chosen to serve your purpose in the best way. Wine cellar specialists at FWC who are knowledgeable about wine and its preservation as well as cooling systems and design will be your best guide in achieving the desired result.