Your wine should be stored in certain conditions in order to remain fresh and age well.
Wine is best stored at temperatures between 11°C and 14°C, humidity levels between 50% and 70%, and out of sunlight with minimal vibrations.
If you store wine in poor conditions, it may develop an acidic taste and deteriorate quickly - which is why it’s so important that you choose your wine storage space wisely.
Wine coolers and wine cellars are possibly the best ways you can store your wine collection, but what are the differences between the two?
Keep reading to learn more about wine cellars and wine coolers, as well as the key differences between them.
What Is A Wine Cooler?
A wine cooler is a unit that stores your wine correctly - although every wine cooler will keep your wine cool, most wine coolers will also protect your wine from humidity and sunlight.
Some wine coolers will also offer dual or multiple temperature zones as opposed to just one temperature zone.
This means that the unit can maintain two or three different temperatures - so you can keep wine ready for serving while wine stores in the long term, or store your reds, whites, and sparkling wines at separate temperatures.
If you have a larger collection and drink wine regularly, you’re sure to benefit from a wine cooler with multiple temperature zones. Smaller wine coolers typically only have one single temperature zone.
Some wine coolers may have adjustable or removable shelves, which is ideal if you have larger bottles than typical Bordeaux bottles.
Although most wine coolers have shelving that allows you to store your wine horizontally and stack your bottles, some wine coolers will allow you to store your wine standing up or at an angle, which is great for displaying wines and preventing oxidisation.
Some other features that some wine coolers may have include temperature and door alarms, handleless designs (the doors open by touching them), locks, and interior lighting.
There are three main designs of wine cooler - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated.
Freestanding wine coolers stand freely on their own and aren’t generally suitable for under counter or cabinet space.
This type of wine cooler needs between 5cm and 10cm of space around the unit for optimal airflow and to prevent overheating, as well as around 12 inches of space above the unit.
Unlike built-in and fully integrated wine coolers, freestanding wine coolers aren’t limited to the kitchen or dining room - you can place them anywhere you like.
Built-in wine coolers are typically designed to be installed under cabinet space - however, they can come in various shapes and sizes. Typically, built-in wine coolers can store around 50 bottles - but some can store over 100.
Fully integrated wine coolers are similar to built-in coolers but are fully integrated into the kitchen design.
This typically means that the unit is completely enclosed in cabinet space, including the door. Integrated wine coolers can look great in any kitchen, and offer a seamless look.
What Is A Wine Cellar?
A wine cellar is the perfect unit of choice for any large wine collection. Despite the name ‘wine cellar’, wine cellars aren’t limited to cellars or basements.
A wine cellar can refer to any temperature-controlled room that’s used to store wine.
Wine cellars are often constructed out of brick or stone and have stone or even dirt floors. This creates the perfect humidity levels (between 50% and 70%).
Instead of simply protecting your wine, wine cellars will protect the bottle too, which is perfect with aged wines or more expensive bottles.
High humidity levels can cause labels to peel or mould to form, decreasing the value of the bottle and its contents.
If you plan on storing your wine for longer periods of time, a wine cellar is the best place to do so. Likewise, if you have a larger wine collection, a wine cellar is the best place to store it.
Wine cellars can store over 1000 bottles of wine, and can accommodate a wide range of wines - whether you have some fresh wines, some matured wines, some sparkling wines, and some red, there’s a place for all in a wine cellar.
Wine Cooler Vs Wine Cellar
Although wine coolers and wine cellars can both store your wine well, they are very different units, each with their own set of pros and cons.
If you’re unsure which one is best for you, read on to learn more about the core differences between the two.
Wine coolers are generally more suitable for small to medium wine collections, whereas wine cellars can store hundreds, if not thousands of bottles of wine.
However, wine coolers can store smaller collections in perfect conditions, and larger models can store up to 200 standard Bordeaux bottles.
Wine cellars can provide a fully controlled and customisable wine storage environment to ensure that your collection is stored in the best possible way.
Larger wine coolers may offer dual or multiple temperature zones so you can store wine in the longer term and keep wine for serving.
However, wine cellars generally have more customisable options so you can tailor the storage conditions to your wine collection.
Wine coolers can come in all shapes and sizes and can be integrated into the interior of your kitchen.
However, you can customise a wine cellar to look great - you can opt for a modern theme, a rustic theme - whatever you think would match your style.
Wine coolers are pretty accessible - you can place them in your kitchen, or if it’s a freestanding model, you can place them pretty much anywhere for quick access to your favourite wines.
However, wine cellars are generally installed in cellars or non-accessible locations and aren’t ideal for quick access and serving.
Although wine coolers can be expensive, wine cellars are generally more expensive to buy, build, install, and maintain. It’s even more expensive if the conditions aren’t natural, and need replicating.
Wine coolers, on the other hand, can cost as little as under £200, and come at a range of prices suitable for any budget.