Enjoy wine and can sense — by taste and smell, of course — the difference between a merlot and a cabernet? Are you serious about your wine drinking? If so, it sounds like you need a good wine fridge for home.
With one of these, you can keep your favourite wines chilled at the perfect temperature all the time. Whenever you need a glass, just take out a bottle of your preferred red or white and pour knowing it will be the perfect temperature. Not sure which one you should buy? We give our recommendations below, as well as a few tips on what to look for when shopping.
Top 5 Best Wine Fridges (2017 - 2018) - Our Picks!
|Inventor Vino Wine Cooler Fridge 49L, Glass Door||49L (5 wine bottles + room for other bottles and cans)|
|||Kalamera KR-21ASSE Freestanding stainless steel wine refrigerator||21 wine bottles|
|Russell Hobbs RH8WC2 Digital Wine/Drinks Cooler||8 wine bottles|
|Kalamera KR-12A2E Silent Touchscreen Wine Cooler||12 wine bottles|
|Husky HN6 Husky Reflections Slim Line Wine Cooler||12 wine bottles|
Difference Between Wine Coolers and Wine Cabinets
Chilling wine at the right temperature ensures you get the fullest flavors, aromas, and body from it. Wine coolers are specialized storage appliances made for chilling wine before serving.
Wine cabinets are highly specialized wine storage appliances made for the storing fine wines for years or decades. Because of their more advanced engineering, wine cabinets tend to be pricier than wine coolers.
Wine Cooler Vs. Wine Cabinet Appearance
Designed to coordinate with kitchens (like fridges), with transparent glass doors that open by a handle on one side of the frame, a wine cooler resembles a fizzy drink fridge in a corner shop. Wine cabinets, by contrast, are usually made from wood and resemble a fine piece of furniture fit for the dining room, with opaque or glass-paned double or single doors opened with knobs.
Wine Cooler Vs. Wine Cabinet Functions
To age properly wine has to be kept in the dark at a precise temperature and humidity, and free from vibrations. Thirteen degrees Celsius is widely held to be the ideal temperature for aging wine.
Wine coolers are intended for wine made to be drunk without aging, because, like fridges, their day-to-day temperature varies. Thru the years, even slight temperature fluctuation spoils the delicate aging process.
Wine cabinets cost more than coolers and have a much larger bottle capacity but provide cellar-grade protection for costly collections. Equipped with advanced temperature and humidity controls, they maintain a precise internal temperature and humidity level (13ºC and 60%, respectively), while providing complete light and vibration protection.
Storing Fine Wines in Wine Coolers
Most wines are grocery and corner market-bought — made to drink quickly. Fine wines are made to be drunk after years or decades of aging and need to be stored in ideal aging conditions. Some high-priced wine coolers have all the features for long-term wine aging; low and moderately-priced coolers do not and therefore are not suitable for storing fine wines longer than a few months.
Wine Cooler Vs. Wine Cabinet Longevity
Wine coolers have refrigeration systems built into their structures. When these systems break the owners must either have them repaired, make the repairs themselves, or buy another cooler. That leaves time for exposure and damage to the collection. Wine cabinets are made to last decades and have cooling systems separate from their structures which are quickly and easily replaced.
Types of Wine Cooler Refrigerators
There are three types of wine coolers: built-in, integrated, and freestanding. Most models are 60 centimeters wide, but they range from 15cm to 70cm wide. Deciding where you want your cooler will help you to decide which is suitable.
Built-in wine coolers cost more than freestanding models, because, like cupboards, countertops, and ovens, they are part of your kitchen (and save space). Since they are prefabricated to fit into the kitchen seamlessly their dimensions are standardized, so their potential bottle capacity is smaller than that of freestanding coolers.
Under-Counter Models (integrated)
Made with standardized counter-height dimensions to fit neatly under countertops in kitchens or mini-bars, under-counter or integrated coolers are good space savers. They can conveniently occupy the space used by seldom or altogether unused appliances, like trash compactors. Because of their standardized dimensions, under-counter wine coolers also have smaller potential bottle capacity than that of freestanding coolers.
This is the cheapest type of wine cooler because there’s no installation or standardization — you can put them anywhere. Freestanding coolers can have bigger dimensions and potential bottle capacity — up to 150 bottles. If you have limited space, a freestanding model made for countertops with a maximum 12-bottle capacity may be suitable.
About Wine Cooler Temperature Zones
The chilling range for white wines starts at 7ºC (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc) and reaches 11ºC (Viognier). Red wines start at 12ºC (beaujolais, merlot) and reach 19ºC (bordeaux, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz).
Deciding on the suitable number of temperature zones depends on whether you like white wines only, reds only, both, or both and plan to store fine wines. If you happen to only drink red or white wine, then a single temperature zone if fine.
If you want to use a wine cooler like a wine cabinet — for storing — then a single temperature zone is enough. Just be sure not to store expensive wine made to age in a wine cooler (see above “Wine Coolers and Costly Wines) for more than a few months.
Dual-Temperature Zone Wine
Dual-temperature zone coolers are suitable if you drink reds and whites, however, they are more costly because you are paying for two zones in which you can store reds and whites OR reds or whites and your expensive collection.
Some Luxury wine coolers are made with three or more temperature zones where you can keep your reds and whites chilled at serving temperature, and your expensive collection bottles at a constant storage temperature.
Features To Look For
Choosing a wine cooler with the right features begins with knowing how you intend to use it. Below are five major feature categories and the benefits attached to each:
- Bottle Capacity – Where do you want to put the cooler? If you have plenty of space and a large collection, a 50-plus capacity freestanding cooler may be suitable, but if it has to fit into a tight area, an under-counter 20-bottle capacity cooler may be better.
- Number of Temperature Zones – The number of temperature zones should be decided according to how many types of wine you chill daily and whether you plan to store fine wine.
- UV Protection – Will you periodically (a month or two here and there) store fine wines in your cooler? UV protection helps to keep your collection unspoiled.
- Humidity Regulation – Will you periodically (a month or two here and there) store fine wines in your cooler? Strict regulation of the humidity level helps to keep your collection unspoiled.
- Anti-Vibration – Will you periodically (a month or two here and there) store fine wines in your cooler? Protection from vibration helps to keep your collection unspoiled.
Common Features by Price Level
Some wine coolers are as cheap as a football game ticket, others are as expensive as a motorcycle — they have a WIDE price range. The lowest-priced coolers (around £50) have a couple basic features and are suitable for chilling either low-priced reds or whites.
At £1,500, wine coolers boast enough features to please wine enthusiasts, but connoisseurs may want to spend the £6,000 or more for an extremely large capacity, built-in cooler loaded with advanced features, like those manufactured by Sub Zero.
Take a peek at the features generally available per price range:
£50 to £200:
- minimum 7 to maximum 35-bottle capacity
- single temperature zone (below £ 200)
- dual temperature zones (£200)
£200 to £500:
- maximum 50-bottle capacity
- multiple temperature zones (at £350)
- UV-protected glass (standard at £350)
- anti-vibration (standard at £350)
- triple-temperature zones common
- maximum 150-bottle capacity
£1,500 and higher:
- large capacity and all advanced features available
Buying a wine cooler firmly entrenches you as a wine enthusiast. Serve your wines chilled in one of our recommended models and enjoy!