If you’re like most people, the first place you store your wine is in the fridge. Perhaps you even have a few bottles tucked away in a closet or cupboard. The truth is these are less than ideal storage places, especially if you plan on preserving and aging your wine. A much better choice would be a wine cooler, or wine refrigerator, to help you get the most enjoyment from each bottle. You don’t have to be a wine enthusiast to want to maintain the flavor and color of any wine you purchase and don’t open for a while.
If your wine collection is large, and stocked with expensive wines that will age well long-term (five to twenty years), a wine cellar storage unit will better protect your investment.
Wine coolers are used for short-term aging and storage (under five years). In fact, it is estimated that 99 percent of the world’s wine is designed to be consumed within five years, and much of that within one year. Furthermore, white wines generally aren’t suitable for prolonged aging, as some reds are. If your wine falls within the 99 percent, the collection should probably be consumed while “young”, and a wine cooler will suit your needs.
Consider the benefits of investing in a wine cooler for your kitchen, dining room, or home bar:
Wine experts agree that storing your wine at a consistent temperature will help it last longer. Cupboards and closets are too warm, dry, and do not maintain a consistent temperature. When wine is exposed to heat, the aging process speeds up. Even after two or three weeks, a wine stored in an over-heated environment will taste dried out and dead.
Refrigerators are too cold and not humid enough. Fluctuation in temperature caused by the frequent opening and closing of the refrigerator door can also cause the wine to age prematurely.
Proper temperatures for storage range between 50 and 57 degrees, preferably 54 degrees when storing red and white wine together. This temperature will not adversely affect the wine, although it will slow down the aging process. If storing all red wine, the temperature should be between 60 and 65 degrees. For all white wine, you can store it at 45 degrees.
Certain wine cooler models come with dual compartments, allowing you to store both red and white wine at their ideal temperatures.
Corked wine needs proper humidity levels to keep natural corks moist and expanded. Environments that are too dry will cause corks to dry out and shrink, allowing oxygen to enter the bottle. Too much oxygen leads to oxidation, where the oxygen dissolves into the wine and the wine degrades, loosing its color, aroma, and flavors. You know your wine is oxidized if it’s slightly brown in color, and has an unpleasant odor.
Storing wine bottles standing up, as is usually done in refrigerators, allows the corks to dry out. Wine coolers are designed to store wine bottles on their sides, which greatly reduces the rate of oxidation.
Although most wine coolers do not have adjustable humidity control, they are already calibrated to maintain a relative humidity level of 30 to 40 percent. In comparison, the humidity level of a standard refrigerator can vary significantly, although it is often around 10 percent or lower.
Some wine coolers have humidity reservoirs you fill with water, while others are heavily insulated to help maintain a constant humidity. Placing a pan with water in the wine cooler can improve the humidity, and anywhere between a 50 and 80 percent humidity level should be safe. Unless you’re planning to store wine for longer periods, the humidity level in your wine cooler should be adequate.
Protection From Light
Prolonged exposure to natural or fluorescent light will destroy the flavor of your wine. This is why many wine bottles are tinted, and another reason why the refrigerator (with constant door opening) is not a good place for wine storage. Wine coolers have either solid doors, or glass doors with built-in light protection to prevent damage to the wine.
Proper Serving Temperatures
In addition to storing wine at the proper temperature, wine coolers keep both red and white wine at the right temperature for serving, especially with the dual compartment coolers. Chilling white wine in a refrigerator leaves it too cold, and leaving red wine at room temperature leaves it too warm. Serving wine from a cooler will give even a less expensive bottle a more robust flavor.
Versatility and Convenience
Wine coolers come in a wide selection of shapes and sizes, although most are designed to be compact. A freestanding wine cooler sits alone, whereas a built-in cooler is installed into existing counters and cabinetry. Freestanding coolers have vents at the back, and need space behind them to dissipate the heat, whereas built-in coolers have their vents at the front.
Freestanding coolers can be installed almost anywhere — all you need is an outlet. There just needs to be enough room for ventilation at the back. Their portability can greatly enhance your lifestyle, whether you move them from room to room, or take them to a social occasion.
Built-in wine coolers are also versatile and can be left freestanding, although as under counter installations they offer seamless storage in your kitchen, dining room or mini-bar.
Whatever model and location you choose, wine coolers offer the convenience of being close to your preferred serving area.
Wine coolers can help you organize your wine so it’s easy to find a particular bottle when it’s ready to open. There is no right or wrong way for categorizing your wine. Just choose a method that seems logical to you.
One of the easiest ways to organize is by color and style — whites (light, unoaked vs. full bodied and oaked), reds (light, fruity vs. robust and full-bodied), and sparkling. Depending on the size of your wine fridge, you could organize by vintage. Other organizational options include: brand (which you can breakdown into further categories), varietal (refers to the type of grape used in making wine), price, and region.
Once you’ve finished your organization, document your inventory, either with a spreadsheet or old-fashioned pen and paper, and cross off bottles as they’re opened. There are also computer programs and mobile apps that specifically keep track of your wine collection.
Wine coolers provide the ideal storage for your wine. To keep yours operating at ideal temperature and humidity levels, you can rely on C&W Appliance Service. Call us at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496 for repair and maintenance of all your major appliances.