How we designed a smart wine cellar

Lifestyle 9th Jun 2021 3 mins
Author:
Felicity Haythorn

Collecting wine is an art form nearly as old as actually drinking and appreciating the tipple itself. But maintaining a private collection of fine wines requires a labour of love: storing them at the correct temperature and humidity, and protecting them from light and opportunistic teenagers. Fortunately, smart technology has reduced the management burden so you can focus on building your collection. Equippd designed a perfectly lit, temperature and humidity controlled bespoke wine ‘cellar’ in the ultra-modern basement renovation at our 16 Earlsfield Road project in London. Co-founder Matthew McCourt explained how it was done.

You get a bottle out and it’s got a nice light shining down just on the label, so you can read it easily

First, cooling. ‘It’s cooled by a wine cellar cooling unit to keep it at a regulated temperature,’ explains Matt. Regardless of the exterior environmental setting, a wine cellar cooling system can effectively maintain the right level of temperature and humidity necessary to safeguard and age your wine in the best way possible. It works like a standard air conditioning unit and is great for a smaller wine cellar. 

 

Next, lighting. Light can rearrange a wine’s chemical compounds – just like oxygen and temperature – and cause faults in the wine, resulting in ‘light-struck’ wine. That means the wine is prematurely aged, damaging its taste, aroma, colour and mouthfeel. So, opt for dimmable LED lighting, which gives off minimal heat and can be turned up or down when needed. 

‘We integrated a specialist flexible LED strip that curves around the brick archway,’ says Matt. ‘We also put a single hanging pendant in there, which provides a pinspot for reading the bottle. So you get a bottle out and it’s got a nice light shining down just on the label, so you can read it easily. 

‘Using Control4 and Lutron, we installed a sensor on the glass doors, so when you open the doors the lighting is brought up, and the pinspot is brought on. The cellar lighting sits very softly when it’s not being used, but when you open the door it brightens up.’

So, you’ve decided on cooling and lighting, but what about protecting your valuable bottles? Equippd installed a door sensor to alert the owner to intruders. ‘If you leave the doors open for a specific amount of time, we can send a notification to the owner to his phone to tell him that the door is open,’ says Matt, reassuringly. ‘Or alternatively if they are out or on holiday and the house is in holiday mode and the wine cellar is opened by the kids, he will be notified that the kids are in the wine cellar!’

Now all your smart wine cellar needs to do is recommend a good cheese. Cheers.

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