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Wine/too much humidity in wine cave


Dear Joshua,
I am assisting the CEO of a prominent corporation who has a home in France. He has an extensive wine cellar with well over 1000 bottles. This cellar, is actually an old cave which remains a perfect temperature but due to its proximity to a passing stream, has humidity problems. He has the opposite problem of most wine collectors. He has too much humidity.
Recently, while traveling his de-humidifier crapped out. He lost several very fine bottles due to the excessive moisture. I have an engineering background and know that there must be a system that could protect his fragile wines.
Here is his desire;
1.   Install a water collection system that can be pumped out of the cellar. Seems like a descent sump pump could handle that, as unobtrusive as possible.
2.   Install a humidistat that can be monitored remotely via his smart phone. He would also like to be able to control the humidity remotely.
3.   He would love to have a humidity alarm that would be picked up on his phone.
4.   Niceties that would make him happy; cameras connected to his WiFi for remote viewing and light controls.
5.   Bottom line; he would love to pick up his phone, open an app, and know instantly that his collection is safe.
Have you heard of such a system or will I need to piece together all the component parts? Thanks for any help you can give me.
  Sincerely, Dick Schlueter


This is a very unique problem and no, I have not encountered it before. It is important to keep in mind that high humidity is beneficial in wine storage for keeping corks moist and thus preventing seepage and subsequent oxidation. When you say he "lost several...bottles" I'm not sure what you mean. It's not really possible for wine to be ruined by excess humidity. The labels came off perhaps? Wrap the bottles in plastic wrap and you can prevent that. And it's really not that big a problem unless he's storing the wine for speculative purposes in which case I would strongly recommend that he move his collection to a professional storage facility. He'll save himself a lot of money and worry.  


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Joshua Farrell


I can answer most any question about wine- types, styles, grape varieties, regions, vintages, proper storage, production, wine and food pairing, wine service, decanting, proper glassware, serving temperatures etc. Regarding questions about specific bottles of wine, since I live in the U.S. my focus is on wines imported here. I can't answer questions about spirits and liquor valuations.


I have over 20 years of experience. I was a wine buyer and sommelier in NYC for many years including 4 years at Windows on the World which was NY's number one wine restaurant. I created and taught a Wine Appreciation Course at Borough of Manhattan Community College. I have worked for the past 15 years for the Wine Enthusiast Cos. as Editor, Columnist, Wine Storage Consultant and am currently Wine Director and Buyer for their online wine website, I recently judged in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Follow me on Twitter @WEX_Josh

Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Diversions Magazine

Windows on the World Wine School- completed all courses from beginning to advanced. Former member of the Sommelier Society of NY. Competed in the Food and Wines of France Sommelier Competition. Traveled to wine regions in Europe including, Bordeaux, Rhone Valley, Alsace, Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto, Rioja, and Jerez. Visited wine regions in NY's Finger Lakes, California's Sonoma, Napa and Central Coast and Oregon's Willamette Valley.

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