Can high humidity damage wine?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Can high humidity damage wine?

—Richard, Stowe, Vt.

Dear Richard,

The good news is that high humidity won’t affect wine inside the bottle, and humidity is important for keeping corks from drying out. The bad news is that it can create a terrible mess for the bottle labels.

Too much humidity encourages an environment for mold and mildew to grow, which can stain your labels, and permeate other porous things in the cellar like the walls and racking. Mold can be hard to get rid of, stinky, and might be the sign of a larger, more systemic problem with your cooling system.

“But Dr. Vinny!” some of you are thinking. “I’ve been to old wine cellars and caves and they have mold on them.” Yes, I’ve been to those cellars too, and they are romantic and lovely and, remember: I said the wine will be fine. But unless you’re purposefully trying to create moldy labels, you should mind any excessive humidity in your cellar and take action if you want to keep your bottles looking their best.

—Dr. Vinny

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