It’s certainly preferable, no matter what the circumstances, to avoid extreme temperature swings, and especially sweltering heat. If your wine rack is exposed to full summer sun and your house has no air conditioning, the wines will likely suffer, even in the short term. According to a study conducted by the Edmund Mach Foundation in Italy, wine stored at over 20 degrees Celsius for extended periods will age three times faster than bottles kept in a cellar or wine cabinet at temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees.
But, it’s not absolutely necessary to keep bottles at a perfectly constant temperature and humidity level at all times. If kept in a cool environment, where temperatures remain well below the 20-degree threshold, wine will develop pretty much as expected. If you need to store your bottles for a short-to-medium term (anywhere between one and six years), you need only to place them away from heat sources. A cool area of the basement – which runs no risk of freezing – will do the job. A closet in a dwelling with air conditioning or simply in a cool area of an apartment should deliver perfectly fine results.
If you own grands crus that you’re planning to cellar for 25 years or more – saving them for a special anniversary or for the sheer pleasure of savouring a vintage at peak quality, then you definitely need a proper climate-control system. A wine cellar governed by a steady temperature is highly recommended. Depending on the size of your collection, there is a wide range of suitable options, from compact wine refrigerators to insulated units with precise controls of temperature and humidity.