bacchus goes digital
New software brings high-tech monitoring to the home wine cellar
Written by ELYSE WOOD
While our fondness for wine hasn’t
waned since the first crush more than
seven millennia ago, our understanding of what can make or break its taste
has. Twenty-first century technologies
offer temperature, humidity, and pressure controls as well as new software — from computerized
cataloging to cellar-condition alerts sent via e-mail — that
make storing wine as easy as drinking it.
Apex Custom Wine Cellars, a nationwide company with
a New England branch in Marlborough, Massachusetts, offers custom cellar designs outfitted with the company’s own
refrigeration and monitoring systems. Cellar Tec by Apex, the
company’s tech division, offers two cooling systems. The Classic series functions mainly as temperature reporting, while
the Signature series offers more complex monitoring and
is the more popular of the two. The Signature system cools
the room to a desired temperature and sets humidity levels.
It then monitors air, liquid, and ambient temperatures along
with the humidity, light levels, and the pressures of the cool-
ing equipment. In addition, a sensor alerts homeowners if the
cellar door is left open.
All of this can be done without distracting from the aesthetics of the cellar, be it Italian grotto or Icelandic modern.
In most installations, the only visible trace of the Cellar Tec
technology is a small rectangular control panel mounted on
the wall and a cooling vent in the ceiling. Other monitoring
equipment, such as temperature gauges and piping, is often
stored in cabinets that mirror the overall design scheme.
“All this information can be viewed remotely via the
Internet, and if conditions stray outside user-set parameters,
an e-mail will be sent to the customer notifying them that
a problem may exist,” says Peter Oikle, Apex’s New England
Charts and graphs can also show the conditions in the
cellar from month to month. “This can be very important to
the collector or investor who may need to show that the wine
he or she may be storing over time has been cellared properly,” says Oikle.
Although wine consultant Vaughn Filer from Wine Direct Selections, a California-based company that services the
New England area, agrees that light control and a consistent
makes fast work of
organizing a wine
cellar. The database is
accessed via touch-screen monitor
can print out labels
and scan bottles with
to keep track of what
goes in and out of