If you are just beginning your journey into collecting fine wine, you may be wondering how best to preserve your vintages. Fine wine really needs a home of its own where the temperature and humidity levels are specifically geared towards preserving your wine. To keep your wines in their optimum state, a wine cooler based on your specific needs will be your best bet.
In determining the type of wine cooler you should purchase, consider how varied or particular your wine preferences are, where you would like to place the cooler, and the best size for the amount of wine you want to store.
What’s Wrong with Storing My Wine in My Regular Refrigerator?
If you are a casual consumer of wine and buy only a bottle or two at a time, storing your wine in your refrigerator for a few days or even a few weeks is probably fine. But for the wine connoisseur there are some very good reasons to avoid your regular refrigerator.
- Vibration, light, and temperature in your refrigerator will fluctuate due to the door being opened and closed.
- Refrigerator temperatures are generally too cold for wine storage.
- There is a lack of adequate humidity in a regular refrigerator.
The 4 Basics: Correct, Non-Fluctuating Temperature and Humidity, No Light, No Vibrations
Some experts suggest that approximately 55° F is the best temperature to store wine but that red wines generally require a slightly warmer temperature. It’s even more important that the temperature be stable.
- Temperature ranges: white wines: 46° F to 56° F. Red wines: 58° F to 68° F.
- Ideal humidity is around 70 percent. Keeping the bottle on its side helps keep the cork stay moist and oxygen is less likely to get into the bottle as well.
- Keep wine away from all light sources, otherwise nasty aromas and flavors can occur because of chemical reactions.
- Wines exposed to vibrations can lead to dull flavors or even make the wine taste sweeter. Watch out for appliances nearby like dishwashers, washers and dryers which vibrate. Keep your cooler away from these.
How Does A Wine Fridge Work?
There are two types of wine fridges that you can buy today: the compressor type and the electric type.
Compressor wine fridges work in a similar way to a conventional fridge. They have the same cooling equipment as your household refrigerator, including a compressor, condenser coils, an evaporator, and a refrigerant.
- Compressor wine refrigerators have a powerful cooling capacity reaching lower temperatures more efficiently than their electric counterparts.
- Larger wine coolers are generally compressor-based and can handle larger collections.
- They can adapt to fluctuating external temperatures and keep a stable internal temperature.
- They’re energy efficient. Many compressors vary cooling capacity based on need, allowing you to save energy.
- They vibrate slightly. A combination of many moving parts and cycling on and off can produce slight vibrations. However, newer models are able to minimize this with rubber bushing.
- Similar to a regular refrigerator, they are a bit noisy. Again, newer models have improved on this somewhat.
A thermoelectric wine cooler has parts that include a Peltier plate, a heat pump, and a heat sink made of aluminum fins. Warm air is drawn from the wine cabinet and dispersed throughout the surrounding air.
- Thermoelectric wine coolers have fewer moving parts. This means less energy is needed to operate than compressor-powered units.
- They don’t vibrate.
- Because they have fewer internal parts than compressor refrigerators, thermoelectric wine coolers operate soundlessly.
- Thermoelectric wine coolers are typically smaller than compressor wine fridges and so have a limited capacity to store bottles.
- They’re on all the time. Even with fewer moving parts, you may end up using the same amount of energy as a compressor-based cooler as compressor wine fridges only turn on when necessary.
- The performance of a thermoelectric wine cooler falters in warm environments or those with fluctuating temperatures.
Getting in the “Zone” – Single or Dual?
Both compressor and thermoelectric coolers can have single or dual zones.
Single Zone Wine Coolers — These have one temperature setting and keep the temperature ideal for your wine. They can have a storage capacity of well over a hundred bottles. Single zone wine coolers are better at maintaining a single temperature with high accuracy. This makes it the ideal choice for storing wines that require a consistent temperature range.
If you only need to store one type of wine, such as red only or white only, then a single zone wine fridge is perfect. Some people do choose to store both types of wine in a single zone fridge by placing the red wine at the top (heat rises). However, your red wines may be slightly too cold to be preserved in the best way possible if left for several months, so it depends on how quickly you drink it.
Dual Zone Wine Coolers — Dual zone wine coolers have two temperature controls and the storage space is divided into sections which may be set to their own temperatures. This style is ideal for keeping both reds and whites.
If you’re not sure and think you might want to store multiple varieties of wine at the same time at some point, a dual temperature wine cooler may be a practical choice. Dual zone coolers must maintain a temperature difference of at least 5 degrees in its two zones.
Many times, a dual zone unit will offer a larger storage capacity for one style of wine over the other. Make sure to purchase the unit that best suits your drinking preference.
Wine Coolers by Location Type
There are many decisions to make before buying the best cooler for yourself, not least of which are placement and size.
- Freestanding Wine Cooler: These coolers are designed for standalone installations.
- Built in Wine Refrigerator: These are designed to fit the specific design of your kitchen.
- Under Counter Wine Fridges: These are quite popular, don’t take up a lot of space yet are stylish, and spacious. They often come with two sections for wine and beer.
- Countertop Wine Cooler: These are usually small and allow you to store up to 25 bottles.
What Special Features Should I Look For?
These days the sheer variety of wine coolers can be overwhelming. It’s always wise to have a specific idea of the features you want in any appliance. Here are a few features that a wine enthusiast might find beneficial.
- Digital temperature controls accessible without opening the door
- Water bins to maintain high humidity
- Tinted glass or a solid door to protect your wine from ultraviolet light
- Removable shelving
- Space for larger bottles
You can count on C&W Appliance Service to provide the very best in repair and maintenance to it and all your major appliances. Call us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for prompt service.