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Wine Cooler Buying Guide
Here is our guide to choosing your wine cooler, you can also find tips of installation, energy efficiency at the end of the guide.
TYPES OF WINE COOLERS & WINE CABINETS
The type of wine cooler or cabinet you need will depend on the space you have and what purpose you are using it for.
If you are getting a kitchen renovation or have an empty cabinet space under your counter, a built under wine fridge will be suitable as they have a front grille to ventilate heat out from the rear due to the way it is installed
A freestanding wine cooler is a great option if you have a space that have plenty of air circulation such as the living room or an entertainment room.
When considering an integrated wine cooler, there are two styles that can be incorporated.
Integrated means the appliance is installed into a housing unit like an integrated microwave or coffee machine.
Fully integrated is similar although a fixed door (called a technical door) is attached and fixed to the appliance door. When the door is opened, both doors move as one.
WHICH KIND OF WINE CABINET DO I NEED?
For storage and service
Most types of wine coolers would be suitable as they have the ability to cool and serve at your desired serving temperature, the temperature can be set between 5°C to 18°C.
The types of models are usually freestanding, undercounter or integrated - offering lots of options such as size, colour, and design.
For ageing and preservation
Ageing wine cabinets should mimic the same conditions as a traditional wine cellar so it is important to have features such as charcoal filter, humidity regulation, protection from UV light, constant temperature and no vibrations.
You can often spot an ageing model easily as it usually comes with a full solid door as this will block lights out completely, and with the capacity to hold from 80 to over 200 bottles – enabling you to store your precious collection for many more years to come.
FEATURES TO LOOK OUT FOR
Depending on the type of wine cooler you have, the temperatures will vary throughout your unit as they will have different types of cooling system.
Compressor models have a dynamic cooling system where temperature is regulated by a built-in fan and circulates air at set temperature. This ensures temperature stay constant even after opening the door frequently.
Polyvalent models work by deactivating the fan which provides a multi-temperature system, where the temperature 7°C to 18°C varies between the top and bottom of the unit – serving as a storage cabinet, but you also have the option to keep the fan on to use as an ageing cabinet.
Thermoelectric models contain a type of technology where electrical current is passed through a node which effectively transfer heat from one side of the appliance to the other.
This feature ensures that wine is stored and aged correctly through minimal or no vibrations as this would affect the taste of the wine.
Enables the wine cabinet to cope and adapt with the ambient temperatures from 32°C all the way down to 0°C. this extra protection is useful if you are planning on placing the unit in a room where the ambient temperature fluctuates, e.g. a garage.
Eliminates unpleasant odours that can be caused by the internal environment of the unit
The internal lighting of the cabinet usually come in blue, there are only a few models that have more colour variations such as white and others. You should have the option to switch it on/off as you wish.
It is highly important that the door of the wine cooler is tinted so that it blocks all UV rays into the cabinet.
An alarm will sound if the cabinet door was accidentally left opened, if the temperature changes drastically then the internal fans will have to work harder to maintain its temperature and also affecting the collection.
An additional feature to keep your wine collection safe and the children out of the cabinet.
Most units have the option for you to reverse the door so it is hinged to open whichever way flows with your kitchen.
A device that measures the humidity and water vapor in the atmosphere, this is only available in a few models.
Most wine fridges come with wooden shelves as standard.
For larger capacity wine coolers, telescopic shelves and a display shelf usually comes with the unit, you can often purchase different styles of shelving too. If you like that premium feel to your home, then it is worth investing in a larger model.
All shelves fit a standard 750ml Bordeaux bottle unless stated by the manufacturer otherwise.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A WINE COOLER?
A major benefit is to store your wine correctly, because wine reacts to the environment it is stored in. If stored in a poor condition, the wine will not mature properly and will age too fast if it’s too warm, or bitterness and deposits may develop if too cold. Which is why it is important to store wine in correct conditions.
Having a wine cooler for your collection is also a great way of displaying it, adding a sense of luxury wherever you put it in your home. Especially if you are having a kitchen renovation, adding a wine cooler into your design will definitely give the wow-factor.
Investing in a high-quality wine cooler, rather than a low cost one is the best way to solve your wine storage solution. It is more environmentally friendly as it takes less energy to produce one good quality unit that will last for many years than producing five low quality units that last for 1-2 years.
It is more cost efficient for the wine collector/enthusiast too as it will have a lower chance of breakdown, meaning it will save the hassle of spending more on a better replacement or going through a repair.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
As most units are designed to take standard 75cl Bordeaux bottles, think about the type of wine you buy. Larger bottles like champagne and Magnums will take up more space and reduce the storage capacity.
If you are getting serious about wine collecting then go for the large option – the largest bottle capacity for undercounter wine coolers is about 52 bottles so think about how much you need to store.
Recommended storage temperatures for red wine is 12-16°C and whites is 10-12°C. Our wine cooler range includes single, dual temperature zones, you can even adjust over 3 independent temperature zones in some of our top models.
Top of the range models will maintain the right humidity and regulate the air inside the unit. Because the cork needs to be kept moist for the wine by keeping a humidity of 50-80%, but too damp will cause mould to form.
Fan assisted cooling helps with proper ventilation especially with the unit is installed into a space/ undercounter, which is why it is important to ensure there is enough ventilation for freestanding wine coolers as they do not have a fan built in and can overheat.
Solid doors insulate better than glass doors, ageing cabinets often have this feature. Most undercounter models have tinted glass door which blocks the sunlight, the more glazed the door the better it is at protecting your wine.
Wine coolers should be kept in an environment where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much. But if you want to keep it in a garage, you must choose a model that has a built-in winter system.
1. For undercounter models – leave 2.5mm gap on each side for ventilation, and a front grille if a plinth is installed in front of the unit.
2. For freestanding models – ensure a minimum of 3-5 inches gap is available on each side and back, and nothing installed over the top of the wine cooler
3. For integrated models – ventilation through the top and back of the housing unit and the front grille at the bottom is needed for correct ventilation. Your professional installer should always refer to the manufacturer’s installation drawings.
4. Always allow at least 6 hours for the refrigerant inside of the new wine fridge to settle before switching it on.
5. Always check the measurements of the wine cooler or package dimensions before purchasing so that it fits through entrances and doorways.
DID YOU KNOW?
A D-energy rated wine cooler is the equivalent of an A-Energy rated household refrigerator?