Having recently moved into a new La Jolla, Calilfornia, home, I want to turn a sizable storage room into a wine cellar. I plan to install a cooling unit. Do I need to add insulation? If so, how, where and what kind?
Jonathon L. ~ La Jolla, California
If you are going to start collecting wine, then having a wine cellar with a cooling unit is a great idea. Not only does wine store better at cooler temperatures (usually between 55-60 degrees), but the temperature needs to remain constant, as temperature fluctuations are what most often damages stored wine. To create an energy efficient wine cellar that can hold a consistent temperature, I would recommend using spray-in foam insulation.
When correctly installed between the wall studs and ceiling joists , spray-in foam insulation can create an air tight barrier that will better insulate your wine cellar than traditional fiberglass insulation. Another benefit of using spray in foam is sound-insulation, as it will give your cellar the feel of a traditional subterranean wine grotto.
Some wine cellars have humidity controls, as wine stores best at 60-75 percent humidity. I would not use humidifiers though, because adding moisture into a foam insulated room can lead to mold growth. If the La Jolla air is so dry that you are worried about corks shrinking and spoiling the wine, just make sure to store your bottles on their sides. Cheers!