Is it OK to use glass in my wine cellar?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I’m building a wine cellar and I was surprised to see many plans that include glass windows, doors or even full walls. Is the glass tempered? Does it filter out UV light? I would’ve thought glass would be bad for long-term wine storage.

—Tim, Austin, Texas

Dear Tim,

You’re correct both that glass is a very popular material in wine cellars and that it seems like an odd choice for a scenario that demands darkness and consistent temperatures. The good news is that cellar builders have ways to mitigate these concerns.

Why is glass so popular? People like to admire their collections, and show them off. While natural, untreated glass has a very high thermal emissivity and would be terrible to use in a wine cellar, low-emissivity treated glass is very effective at limiting both transmission of heat and damaging ultraviolet light. The glass doors or walls in cellars are also often double-paned. The sealed air between the panes creates a thermal break, which helps the glass act as a barrier from temperature fluctuation, and can help eliminate condensation as well.

There have been a lot of advancements in the way glass is sealed, so your cooling unit won’t have to work extra hard to maintain a consistent temperature.

—Dr. Vinny

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