Humidification in cellars and barrel room: the right humidity for wine

Humidification-in-cellars-and-barrel-roomHumidification of the wine cellar is crucial both during the aging of wine in oak barrels, both during storage of the bottles. In the first case an environment that is too dry also dry the barrel and accelerates the evaporation of the wine. At the same time the wine evolves too quickly, the result is a lower quality.

 One of the most common applications of misting is wetting indoors. The humidity control becomes a key success factor for many industrial applications and, as reported by “The Handbook of the engineer,” often the optimum humidity is higher than the normally existing humidity. It follows a drop in efficiency of production, both in terms of quality (increased waste), both in quantitative terms (slower production).

Among other applications, humidification is also applied in the wine cellars and barrel rooms. The process of storing wine needs a constant humidity of around 75-85%. During this delicate process, the wine inside the barrel can lose up to 15% of its volume.

Wineries with  too dry air involves the following problems:

  • Corks will dry out andwither, as a result of decreased volume and allow the wine to evaporate more quickly and air to enter the carries oxygen that alters the organoleptic propertiesand texture of the wine.
  • In  case of aging in oak barrels, desiccation of the barrel, resulting in deformation of  the barrel in contact with the wine; the joints between the planks expand, facilitating the evaporation of the wine and its oxidation.

Wineries too wet (levels above 85%), will present the following problems:

  • formation of mold on the cap: as we shall see later, mold is better than a cap dehydrated
  • damage to the labels: this last problem can be solved easily by applying a transparent film to prevent the paper is too moist

As always when we speak of thermo hygrometric parameters, temperature and humidity go hand in hand, even in cellars is like that. The ideal in cellars would be to create a loop oscillating from 13 to 17 degrees for red wines and about 18 for white wines. In these contexts, the humidity must oscillate in synchrony: to low temperatures may correspond lower humidity, around 65/70%, at higher temperatures the humidity can rise up to 85%. 

If the humidity is high the evolution of the wines will be better and also the stucture of the wine will be excellent.

Why humidify so important?

According to the winemakers moisture is the most important parameter to control, even though it is often overlooked, and the saying “melius abundare quam deficere”: real damages are made by too dry air.

The proper location for storage of the bottle is lying down, horizontal. In this position the wine wets the cap, and on the contact surface, the humidity of the cork is equal to 100%. If we do not maintain a similar level outside, it happens that, for diffusion phenomena, the wine will tend to exit through the cap and simultaneously to oxidize. This phenomenon is much faster if the cap is dehydrated, so the MGF misting systems are extremely effective.

Excessive humidity leads possible formation of mold, but the wine inside is simply excellent. The same happens with the ruined label, what can be avoided with a simple film.

The tricks to humidify cellars and barrel rooms 

Over the millennia cellars were manufactured without a floor, with an extremely breathable bottom in order to facilitate the natural evaporation of soil water. The floor is also periodically wet for the same reason.

In modern wineries to increase productivity, this system should be automated and made “industrial”.

MGF Nebulizers perform this function very well for these reasons:

the nozzles work at very high pressure (100 bar), the fog is therefore much finer than the competing systems, and then the evaporation processis much faster. This concept is intuitive, a fine mist is lightweight and does not fall to the ground, also the smaller diameter of the drops results in a bigger surface in contact with the air, and therefore a faster evaporation.

Very fine mist and rapid evaporation means more moisture without wetting the bottles and the labels.

The use of fans nebulizers allows to better spread the water and facilitates the exchange of air, reducing the formation of mold.

Dedicated electronic systems, such as iControl: IControl: cooling control system, humidification and odour removal only for misting applications, allows to really control the plant. When our competitors offer a commercial igrostate, we offer at a lower price, a controller able to detect abnormalities such as lack of water and modulate the pressure according to the needs of the environment.


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