ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I would like to start storing and presenting cigars openly in my wine cellar. Will it hurt my wine to store the cigars in the cellar side by side?

—Chris

Dear Chris,

It won't hurt your wine, but it might hurt your cigars. I checked with Gordon Mott, executive editor of Cigar Aficionado, and he says that the ideal condition for cigar storage is a 70 degree temperature at 70 percent humidity, which roughly matches the growing conditions of the tobacco.

However, the ideal storage for wine is 55 degrees at about 70 percent humidity. This means that wine cellar temperature is generally too cool to store cigars. Why would that matter? Well, for one, humidity is also relative to temperature. I know it sounds like magic (it's science!) but for every drop in temperature degree below the ideal for cigars 70 degree temperature, you need to increase the humidity to keep cigars properly humidified. If the air is too cold, it won't be able to hold enough moisture in suspension. So at 55 degrees, you'd need about 80 percent humidity. Over the long term, your cigars are likely to dry out in your wine cellar.

The good news is that cellars aren't awful for short-term cigar storage, and that cool temperature will prevent the hatching of any dreaded tobacco beetles (ew!).

—Dr. Vinny


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