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 was told that humidity is not a factor in storing wines, only temperature is important. As long as the wine is stored on its side at approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the cork has contact with the wine inside. The retailer that told me this said the importance of humidity is a myth. I look forward to your response.
—Greg, Bozeman, Mont.
I think humidity is very important. After all, if a cork dries out it can compromise its seal and prematurely age the wine. The lower the humidity and worse the cork, the sooner your wines will age. Anywhere between 50 percent and 80 percent humidity is considered safe; ideal humidity is around 70 percent. Too much humidity can cause mold, which isn't a problem for the wine, but can disfigure a label. Let's see ... pretty labels or drinkable wine? I'd rather have drinkable wine. Of course, I'll also be the first to admit that humidity isn't the most important aspect of cellaring—I believe that constant temperature is.
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