Suppose you’re a long-term wine lover and looking for proper wine storage essential for getting the most enjoyment out of each bottle. But if you buy a built-in wine cooler for your kitchen or a freestanding wine cooler for a dedicated wine cellar, upgrading your home with a wine freezer is the best way to ensure that your wine stays fresh and ages perfectly. Our handy guide will help you with which wine cooler is best for you.
Knowing where you want to put your wine fridge and how much room you have will help you choose between a freestanding, built-in, or integrated model.
These are the most widely available and cheapest type, and you can put them anywhere in your house. Because there are no restrictions on where they sit, they can have taller and wider dimensions than built-in models, which means they can potentially have the capacity for upwards of 150 bottles. If you do opt for a freestanding model, you should keep it where the ambient temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much – so not in the garage. The same considerations you would apply to position a standard refrigerator also apply to a wine cooler.
Integrated wine coolers are usually fitted into a unit at around chest height. They don’t tend to have the largest bottle capacity, and you’ll probably need a kitchen refurb to fit one in. They won’t be suitable if you have a large or expanding collection.
You’ll probably only fit a maximum of 12 bottles in a countertop cooler (more usually six to eight bottles), but they’re an option for people who are limited on space.
Protective glass on the cooler doors will limit the damaging effects of UV rays on your wine. Ideally, you’ll be able to install your wine cooler in a place that is out of the path of direct sunlight, but if that’s not possible, you need to buy a cooler with this feature. It’s possible to buy a wine cooler with a solid door, but they’re not as widely available as windowed models.
If a wine is exposed to low humidity levels for an extended period, it can dry out the cork. This can allow air into the bottle, which can ruin your wine. Humidity controls allow you to manage the amount of moisture in the air inside the wine cooler, ensuring the cork’s integrity.
Some models feature a system in the compressor or occasionally in the cooler structure that minimizes micro-vibrations and noise. This can be a reassuring feature for the dedicated wine enthusiast, as, over time, even micro-vibrations can harm the wine’s color, flavor, and body.
This filters the air entering the cooler, preventing odors from affecting the taste of your wine. Air filters can also help reduce the build-up of dust inside the wine cooler. It’s recommended that they be replaced every 6-12 months.
These look a bit sleeker and make the cooler a bit easier to use. Smartphone-compatible wine coolers are also now available, allowing you to control the temperature from afar.
Keeps your collection of wines safe and secure from inquisitive children, experimental teens, and jealous sommeliers.
This should come as standard in all wine coolers, as LEDs only emit very low UV light levels that can cause your wine problems.
Just as they do with a conventional refrigerator, reversible doors give you more choice on where to position your wine cooler.
This allows you to place opened but unfinished bottles back in the wine cooler without the fear of them potentially leaking while on their sides. It’s an uncommon feature, though, and you’re unlikely to find it in many coolers.
Alarms will sound to let you know if the door has been left open or if the temperature inside the cooler has dropped below the set temperature. A memory function will remember the set temperature and restore the cooler back to it following a loss of power.
The shelves in most wine coolers are designed to fit a standard 750ml Bordeaux shape bottle. However, some wines – such as pinot noir – are usually found in a slightly wider Burgundy-style bottle. If your collection includes champagne, magnums, or even bigger bottles, then adjustable shelving is an absolute must.
You’ll usually find this inside mid-range and high-end models. Metal racking can sometimes lead to scratched bottles and torn labels, so wooden shelves are preferred by serious collectors. Sliding shelves make it easier to see and remove bottles from your collection.
Another reason to consider a wine fridge is to make sure that your wine tastes its best when you’re ready to drink it. While the ideal temperature for wine storage is 55 degrees, the best temperature for serving wine is another story. Wines can be broken into three basic categories when it comes to serving temperatures: