Wine Coolers Buying Guide

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.

Where is Your Wine Fridge Going to be Located?

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.

Freestanding Wine Coolers

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

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.

Countertop Wine Cooler

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.

What Wine Cooler Features Should I Look for?

UV-resistant Glass Doors

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.

Humidity Controls

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.

Anti-vibration System

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.

Charcoal Air Filter

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.

Touch Controls, Digital Displays, and Smart Functions

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.

Door Lock

Keeps your collection of wines safe and secure from inquisitive children, experimental teens, and jealous sommeliers.

Interior LED Lighting

This should come as standard in all wine coolers, as LEDs only emit very low UV light levels that can cause your wine problems.

Reversible Doors

Just as they do with a conventional refrigerator, reversible doors give you more choice on where to position your wine cooler.

Upright Storage Space

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. 

Temperature Alarms and Memory Function

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.

Height and Width-adjustable Shelves

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.

Wooden and Sliding Shelve

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.

Understanding Wine Serving Temperatures

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:

  • Red Wines: Traditionally, red wines are served at room temperature. Today’s houses are kept much warmer than they were in the past, so this means somewhere between 60 and 65 degrees.
  • White Wines: White wines typically taste better chilled, but not so cold that you can’t distinguish the delicate flavors. These should be served between 50 and 60 degrees.
  • Sparkling Wines: Carbonated drinks are at their best when served as cold as possible. For Champagne and other sparklers, 40 degrees will do nicely.

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