Each brand of wine has its own special taste and aroma. If you do not want to lose them, you need to provide certain conditions for wine storing. You might ask yourself a question about whether it is worth getting a wine fridge for this purpose. In today’s article, we are going to consider all the pros and cons or wine coolers and whether you really need a wine fridge.
What is the point of a wine fridge? A wine fridge is professional refrigeration equipment used for storing and cooling wines. By using such a wine fridge, you will preserve the richness of the wine characteristic as well as extend its shelf life. In addition to its functionality, a wine refrigerator will be a great complement to the interior of an apartment or restaurant.
Now let’s dive into the pros and cons of wine coolers and what functions they perform.
What Does a Wine Cooler Do?
A wine cooler will help create proper conditions for storing alcohol.
- A wine cooler maintains proper temperature. A wine cooler maintains the temperature of 6-18 degrees that is optimal for serving and long-term storage of wine.
How cold does a wine fridge get? As a rule, you can set the temperature at your discretion in the range from 5 to 20 degrees Celsius, but the best conditions for storing wine are created by a temperature of 10 to 14 degrees Celsius since it is suitable for long-term maturation of all types of wine and allows you to quickly bring any type of wine to the required serving temperature.
- A wine cooler does not let the air in the wine bottles. A wine cooler is designed in such a way that bottles with wooden corks are stored in a horizontal position. Thanks to this, the plugs get wet and do not let air in the bottle. A wine fridge protects the wine from oxidation which occurs when air enters the bottle.
By the way, keeping bottles lying down is the right option. The cork touches the wine and prevents oxygen from entering. If air enters the bottle, the wine turns sour. This can happen when the cork dries up. Therefore, in good wine cabinets, an optimal level of humidity should be maintained so that the cork does not dry out or, conversely, does not become mouldy and does not ruin the wine.
- A wine cooler does not let the sunlight in. The doors of a wine cooler are made with tinted glass that does not transmit ultraviolet light. A wine cooler protects the wine from external factors.
You do not need to put your wine cooler in a dark corner as the tinted door protects the wine from the sun even if you place the wine fridge near the window. The bronzed glass door allows you to admire the wine collection while keeping out ultraviolet and other invisible radiation, which can provoke unwanted chemical reactions in the bottles.
- A wine cooler maintains a proper level of humidity which will not allow the cork to dry out. The lava stones located inside the refrigerator are designed to absorb moisture in case of excessive dampness and give it back if the air inside the refrigerator is too dry.
- A wine cooler purifies the air. Wine coolers have a special filter that cleans the air inside the fridge in order to exclude extraneous odours that can affect the aroma of wine during its long-term storage.
- A wine cooler does not shake or vibrate to avoid wine sediment formation. For these purposes, special compressors and fans are installed in wine fridges which eliminate wine shaking which can lead to the formation of sediment.
- A wine cooler has different climate zones for wine. More expensive wine coolers can divide the fridge space into climatic zones for different types of wine maintaining a separate temperature in each climatic zone.
- A wine cooler can be a great investment. Modern wine coolers can be used like safes as they can be locked and connected to the security system of a house or apartment. After all, good wine is a worthy investment and wine coolers protect wine from its main enemies — heat, light, shaking and moisture.
- A wine cooler is durable. How long does a wine fridge last? On average, wine fridges can last up to 10 years if you get a well-established wine fridge brand like NewAir or Whynter.
How to Load a Wine Refrigerator
Wine Cooler vs Wine Cellar — What Is Better?
Wine coolers are definitely better than wine cellar for the following reasons:
- Wine coolers provide professional preservation of wine in houses or apartments with a minimum amount of used space. Obviously, if you live in an apartment, you cannot have a wine cellar. However, even if you own a house, you may also not have enough space in your house to build a wine cellar.
- Wine coolers are presented in different design that can be suitable for any interior. Do you like the modern style or maybe you are a fan of the loft? No problem, you can always find a wine fridge that will be perfect for the overall design of your house.
- Wine coolers can be moved anywhere. Wine coolers have wheels that is why they can be moved anywhere. If you want to renovate your house and change the location of the wine fridge, it will take you not more than five minutes.
- Wine coolers have built-in pull-out shelves for glasses and tables for tasting wine as well as built-in displays for pressure control and regulation.
- Wine coolers will give you sound signals if something is wrong. They notify about a loose door and other malfunctions.
- Wine coolers provide 100% protection from light and heat.
- Wine coolers have a ventilation system that protects it from unpleasant odours.
How Do I Choose a Wine Cooler?
Here is a list of things you need to pay your attention to when choosing a wine cooler:
- Volume. Think about how many bottles you will need to store in your wine cooler. Equipment capacity is perhaps the most important factor when choosing a model.
Also, you need to pay attention to the interior fittings. You need to decide what is more important — the number of shelves, the ability to place containers of non-standard shapes or the weight that one shelf can support. So, models with pull-out shelves are especially convenient for those who do not plan to frequently reorganize the space in the wine cooler.
- Moisture. The automatic maintenance of optimum humidity is important for the quality of the wine. The best level of humidity is 65-80% as wine corks will not dry out and will not be ruined by the mould.
- UV protection and fresh air supply. A wine cooler should have a thick tinted glass door that will protect your wine from the sunlight and other factors.
If you are buying a wine cooler with a glass door, make sure it has a UV-resistant protective coating. If the door is uncoated, then it is better to choose a model without glass at all.
Pay attention to whether the selected refrigerator model provides fresh air supply to the chambers. Usually, this function is provided in more expensive and bigger refrigerators in which bottles are stored for a long time. If you plan to keep several bottles in the refrigerator which will be updated periodically, you can do without ventilation.
- Air filter. Make sure your wine cooler has a good quality air filter as it serves a very important purpose of cleaning the air inside the fridge in order to exclude extraneous odours that can affect the aroma of wine during its long-term storage. However, these filters should be changed from time to time. Usually, you will need to change your wine cooler filter once every two or three years.
- Temperature mode. As a rule, wine coolers are presented as one, two or multitemperature mode.
According to the recommendations of experienced sommeliers, wine should be stored at a temperature not higher than 14 °C and not lower than 10 °C. In such conditions, the drink retains its taste and aroma and the amount of alcohol in it does not decrease. The ripening process is proceeding correctly, too.Classic mono-temperature refrigerators have one operating mode — cooling. They maintain a stable temperature inside at an average level within the above standards of 10-14 degrees. This will be enough for you if everyone in your family prefers one type of wine. However, if you want to store different types of wine that require different temperature, you should opt for a more functional wine cooler.Dual temperature models have two zones with different temperature conditions. They can store white wine (6-10 °C) and red wine (10-18 °C) at the same time.True connoisseurs rely on multi-temperature models with three zones and more. They operate in both cooling and heating modes. Such wine coolers are suitable for the simultaneous storage of white, red, pink, sparkling drinks.When buying equipment, do not forget about the climatic class (the conditions in which the system works):
• N and SN (normal and subnormal): outside temperature ranges from +10 ° C to +32 ° C.
• ST (subtropical): + 18-38 ° C.
• T (tropical) + 18-43 ° C
- Humidity level. Some people ask “How is wine fridge different from a fridge?” The answer is — the humidity level. this indicator distinguishes the wine cooler from the usual one. Wine coolers maintain the optimum humidity level is maintained which is 70-75%. The drip system saturates the air with moisture which prevents the cork from drying out and souring the drink. Traditional models maintain humidity at the same level while some expensive models allow you to adjust this indicator.
- Vibration protection. The compressor of the wine refrigeration equipment one way or another creates vibrations that can disrupt the biochemistry of the drink and create sediment at the bottom. Therefore, cheap wine fridges with plastic or metal shelves are not suitable for long-term storage of expensive wines.
Vintage and collectable bottles need high-quality vibration protection. If you do not want to ruin the taste of vintage wine, it is worth choosing models with an anti-vibration system. Its wooden shelves and special shock-absorbing pallets provide the vibration protection. The holders can be fitted with rubber pads.
- Ventilation and air filtration. Budget models do not provide for a very good air purification system. But this is not the most important thing if you store wine for a short period of time. Your wine will remain safe and sound even if you do not buy an expensive wine cooler.
However, when it comes to expensive collection wines, you need to think about ventilation in advance. Do not forget to change these filters as recommended in the wine cooler manual.
- Additional functions. Think about all the additional functions you would like your wine cooler to have. Wine coolers with interior lighting are quite convenient since the presence of a light bulb inside simplifies the procedure for choosing a drink and also allows you to properly examine your wine collection. Wine fridges with locks and door locks from children or uninvited guests can also come in handy.
If you are a serious collector and are fond of different types of wine, then it is advisable to purchase a wine refrigerator that is divided into several zones with independent temperature control. This will allow you to store both red and white wine since they like different temperature conditions.
- Design. The design of a wine cooler is also very important since this is a quite expensive purchase that should make you happy and be suitable for your interior. Wine coolers can be either built-in or free-standing. Think about what you want to have more. If you have a small kitchen, for example, I would consider getting a built-in wine cooler. There is no correct answer on whether you should get a free-standing or a built-in wine cooler. It is all up to your taste.
Basic Rules on How to Use Wine Coolers
A wine cabinet is electrical equipment, the safety and reliability of which depends on compliance with the operating conditions. A wine cooler is installed on a level surface so as to ensure free circulation of air required for ventilation and cooling. The required voltage for a wine cooler is 220 V.
It is prohibited:
- to use extension cords for work;
- to install a wine cooler next to a stove or heating devices;
- plug into an ungrounded power outlet.
- to turn on the wine cooler earlier than 2 hours after delivery.
Wine coolers should not be installed in rooms:
- with a humidity level exceeding 75%;
- containing conductive dust;
- in the presence of a chemically active environment;
- with metal, earth, reinforced concrete and other conductive floor coverings.
If you need to transport a wine cooler, you need to remove all the bottles from it, fix all non-static structural elements inside, close the door and seal it with duct tape and pack a wine cooler in a soft cloth.
Wine coolers should be transported in an upright position. Compliance with the operating conditions guarantees reliable operation and preservation of aesthetic appearance.
Before connecting your wine cooler you need to carefully wipe the inner surface with a soft cloth moistened with warm water. You need to comply with the specific requirements on how to use a wine cooler that are set out in the manual for your wine cooler.
The socket to which the wine cooler is connected must be in good working order. It is forbidden to touch a wine cooler that is operating at the same time and a device with natural grounding (radiator, water tap).
If during operation there are signs of damage to the power supply such as tingling when touching metal, the device must be urgently disconnected from the power supply. No moisture is allowed on the compressor.
If you want your wine cooler to last long, you need to take the following rules into the account:
- If you want to minimize the electricity consumption of your wine cooler and prevent a decrease in productivity, you need to maintain the temperature in the range of 20-25 degrees.
- If you do not want to break the door of your wine cooler, you need to make sure it is fully open when you are taking the bottles out of the wine fridge.
- If you do not want to use your wine cooler for some time, you need to unplug it and clean with a damp cloth and leave the door ajar to prevent odours and mildew.
- If you want to avoid compressor failure, you should not turn on the wine cooler earlier than 10 minutes after it was turned off.
Some people wonder whether they can put soft drinks in a wine fridge. As long as soft drink bottles are fully closed, there is nothing wrong with putting soft drinks in a wine fridge. However, you should not try to store cheese or other foods in a wine cooler since this can cause unpleasant odours that will ruin the taste of your wine. Also, most wine coolers have wooden shelves that easily absorb all the smells that is why you cannot use a wine fridge as a normal fridge for food.
Basic Tips on Wine Cooler Maintenance and Care
Before cleaning your wine cooler you need to unplug the wine fridge by holding the plug with dry hands.
The surface of the equipment can be easily damaged. Therefore, do not use abrasives and aggressive chemical compounds to maintain wine cooler. Wine coolers should be washed with an aqueous solution of baking soda at the rate of 2 tablespoons per litre of water or with a mild detergent without using metal brushes.
The condenser on the back of a wine cooler should be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner or hairbrush once a year.
The wine cooler is a device that lasts for decades. A wine cooler is not a usual food refrigerator, so it does not require periodic defrosting and cleaning. Models with air supply to the chamber may require periodic cleaning or replacement of the fan filter.
It is advisable to connect wine coolers to the network via a UPS or time relay as interruptions in the supply network can lead to compressor breakdown.
What Is the Difference Between a Wine Fridge and a Regular Fridge?
The main difference between a wine fridge and a regular fridge is the temperature, humidity and vibration. A regular refrigerator is designed to rapidly lower the temperature and displace moisture, while a wine cooler is designed to gradually lower the temperature and maintain moisture levels which help to preserve the wine.
A regular refrigerator is designed to store cold and dry perishable food, so lettuce, bread, sausage and beer live happily together at an average temperature of 5 ° C. But this temperature is too low for sensitive wine and too dry for the corks to be wet. Why is it important to keep corks moist? So that they do not dry out and do not let oxygen through.
Vibration is another “enemy” of wine that is found in regular refrigerators. Unlike wine refrigerators, regular refrigerators run on compressors that are rigidly attached to the body and cause vibrations that interfere with the wine’s maturation process, not to mention additional noise. Are wine fridges noisy? Even though wine fridges also work on compressors but they have a special vibration absorption system to reduce the impact of shock and noise, allowing the wine to mature in its natural state. That is why wine fridges are not noisy at all, especially more expensive models that have additional noise reduction system.