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When establishing a cellar, use a maximum-minimum thermometer to take readings at different points, and keep notes. It will become clear that some corners are warmer or cooler than others. If possible, isolate the source of temperature change and neutralize it. For example, lag hot pipes and block off very cold draughts. Insulate doors leading to heated parts of the house.with polystyrene or glass fibre. The aim is a balanced temperature that does not rise or fall too rapidly. Continue to use the maximum—minimum thermometer until you have a picture of the annual temperature fluctuation.
The ideal is a constant, low temperature. The range can be 5-18°C (41-64°F), but somewhere in the middle of this range, around 10-12°C (50-55°F) is the optimum. More important than the actual temperature is the range through which it fluctuates, and more important still is the short-term fluctuation. If the cellar slowly moves from 12°C (55°F) in winter to 20°C (68°F) in summer, no great harm will be done. But if it fluctuates by this amount every day, or week, then there will be problems. The wine in the bottles will expand and contract, the cork will suffer, and eventually the wine will begin to "weep" around the cork, leaving a sticky deposit around the capsule.

Light harms wine; especially white and sparkling wines. Ensure the cellar is dark, blocking off any lignt from outside, even from a ventilator on a sunny wall. Artificial light is necessary for access and use of the cellar, but do not make it too bright, and be careful never to leave the lights on.

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