Vintners have realized that in terms of energy cost effectiveness, modern air conditioning is no match for the old reliable wine cave.
A wine cave maintains barrels at the proper temperature and humidity naturally, without mechanical assistance.
PHOTO: ALDEGONDE LE COMPTE/FOTOLIA
Wine makers are returning to traditional wine storage techniques in order to cut utility and construction costs. Rutherford Hills Winery, one of California's Napa Valley vintners, has opted to dig a wine cave rather than proceed with plans for building a 30,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse. Using electricity only for lighting, the cave will maintain ideal storage conditions — a natural temperature of 60° to 65°F, with 70% humidity — regardless of outside conditions and should save a minimum of $12,000 a year in air-conditioning costs.