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Wine cellar

cave (F)
cantina (I)
winecellar (GB)
cava (ES)
adega (PO)
wijnkelder (N)

Common name for the place where wine is usually stored in bottles or other containers. In the original sense, this means an underground room, but the term also applies to a ground-level arrangement. A winery, on the other hand, is usually understood to be a production site which, unlike an independent winery, does not have its own vineyards and processes grapes delivered by grape producers, as is the case, for example, with winegrowers' cooperatives or other processing cooperatives. However, winery is also used as a designation for a specialist wine shop (Vinothek). The old wine cellars, dug below ground level, were located outside the actual wine-growing community, mostly next to each other in the so-called Kellergasse, and produced a typical picture. In front of the actual wine cellar was the pressing house, where, as the name suggests, pressing was carried out. The pressing house was connected via the cellar neck with the cellar tube, the actual storage cellar. The dark cellar mould (also cellar cat) often found in such cellars was or is desirable.

Kellerröhre und Presshaus

During fermentation the fermentation gas(carbon dioxide) which is toxic to humans is produced. In order to determine the degree of gas present, the extremely unsafe method of candle sampling was previously used. In the past, the gas was discharged via two structural devices. These were the fermentation grate and the steam pipe (ventilation shaft), which were installed in the cellar door. However, both are only suitable to a limited extent because the carbon dioxide is heavier than air and therefore collects at the bottom or at the lowest point. Today, the carbon dioxide is extracted via exhausters (deaerators) and led outside or in large cellars, also in containers, and recycled.

Weinkeller - Gewölbekeller für Fassausbau und Lagerung

A good wine cellar has (summer and winter) a temperature of around 8 to 12 °C (is also the ideal wine temperature for most white wines) and a humidity of 70 to 80%. The ideal temperature is as even as possible, strong fluctuations are far more damaging than somewhat higher temperatures that remain even over a longer period of time. From about 20 to 25 °Celsius it becomes problematic, because heat accelerates all chemical processes. Uncontrolled warm storage is the most common cause of premature ageing of wines. Among other things, this destroys the fruit aromas. A possible source of error is also the cork moth, which likes to lay its eggs in damp places such as on corks. The hatched caterpillars can corrode and leak, which can lead to oxidation and spoilage of the wine.

Weinkeller - Gärgitter in Kellertüre und Dachpfeife als Abschluss der Dampfröhre

A wine cellar should be dark and well ventilated, but free from drafts and vibrations. According to conventional wisdom, the bottles should be horizontal so that the cork is always wetted by the liquid and does not dry out. In the meantime, however, there are studies which suggest that the bottles should be stored standing upright when there is sufficient humidity. Often, champagne and/or sparkling wine is also stored upright, as also Madeira, port wine, sherry and similar wines. The reason is that carbonic acid (for sparkling wines) or high alcohol content could damage the cork. An undamaged cork has a positive effect on the shelf life

There are two important criteria with regard to shelves. Firstly, the bottles must be easy to remove. It should be possible to remove or rearrange as few or at best no bottles as possible in order to reach the desired one. Furthermore, it must be possible to label them appropriately for the application of codes for a management system. In order to keep an overview, from a certain quantity (30 bottles) a wine cellar management on paper or PC program is required. A wine climate control cabinet can also be useful in the wine cellar. Many vinotheques and wineries offer the possibility to rent rooms or a place. How to behave in a wine cellar is described under cellar law. Every producer, trader and processor of wine must keep a cellar book about the activities in the wine cellar. See also under viticulture customs, bottle aging, wine enjoyment, wine temperature and wine with food Weinkeller - Barrique-Keller des Château Mouton-Rothschild - Pauillac (Médoc)
Cellar tube: from Weinviertel Tourism - Wurnig
Kellergasse: by Egon Mark
Vaulted cellar: from nattynati on Pixabay
Gärgitter: by Architektur Fotografie Vienna - Romana Fürnkranz
Roof pipe: from Weinviertel Tourism - Krönigsberger
Fermentation tanks: from tatlin on Pixabay
Mouton-Rothschild: From MPW57 - Own work, Public domain, Link

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