Whether you’re a wine lover and plan on ageing your wine, you’re investing in your wine collection and plan to sell it when it’s a certain age, or you simply want to store your collection in the best conditions, you should have a firm understanding of the conditions in which your wine should be stored.
Keep reading to learn more about wine coolers, and some factors you should consider when choosing a wine cooler for long-term storage.
Wine coolers can come in a variety of designs, but they all have the same function - to keep wine cool. However, most coolers will also consider other storage factors such as UV protection and humidity control.
Some wine coolers will also feature lighting so you can clearly see your collection, as well as removable or adjustable shelves. This is perfect if you have different sized bottles in your collection, as most wine coolers are designed to accommodate standard Bordeaux bottles.
There are three main designs of wine cooler - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated. Freestanding wine coolers stand freely and give you lots of freedom when it comes to placement. With built-in wine coolers, however, your placement options are limited as they are designed to fit in under-counter spaces or kitchen cabinets.
Fully integrated wine coolers are designed to be integrated into your kitchen. They are similar to built-in wine coolers, and you can place them in cabinets next to your fridge, as well as under counters. The key difference is that fully integrated coolers are completely enclosed in cabinet space.
When placing a wine cooler, you should always consider ventilation - if you don’t leave the right amount of space around the unit, then the compressor could cease functioning correctly and the unit could overheat. Freestanding units typically need around 5cm of space around the unit, as well as a fair amount of space above the unit for air to flow correctly. Built-in and fully integrated units have different requirements that vary depending on the model, so always be sure to check the specs and user manual.
With countless different brands, models, designs, shapes, and sizes of wine coolers on the market in 2021, it can be difficult to choose which wine cooler is best for you. However, with the right research, you can find the perfect wine cooler whether you plan on storing wine in the short term, the long term, for serving, or a combination.
When you’re looking for a wine cooler to store your wine in the long term, there are several things you should consider - temperature zones, light protection, and humidity regulation. Long term wine storage typically classes as anything over five years - and the good news is that there are plenty of wine coolers perfect for effectively storing wine for much longer than five years.
If you’re storing wine in the long term and/ or planning on ageing your wine collection, you may want to opt for a wine cooler with a single temperature zone. Wine coolers with a single temperature zone will maintain a single temperature throughout the unit, so if you’re storing wine in the long term, be sure to leave your collection uninterrupted.
However, if you plan on using the same wine cooler to keep some wines stored in the short term too, or simply plan on grabbing a bottle of wine from your cooler every so often, then you should opt for a wine cooler with dual or multiple temperature zones. This means that you can keep wine ready to be served while the rest of your collection is stored safely and undisturbed in the long term, without the temperature being affected.
Wine coolers with multi-temperature zones will typically have three compartments - for example, the top will store reds for serving, the middle will keep wine in the long term, and the bottom will be ideal for storing white and sparkling wines in the short term for serving. If you’re going to keep your wine for ageing for over five years and don’t plan on disturbing it, your best bet would be to opt for a single-zone cooler.
Wine is best stored at between 11°C and 14°C - so ensure that a wine cooler can effectively maintain this temperature zone. It may be beneficial to choose a cooler that has a digital temperature display, so you can easily check that it’s at the optimal storage temperature.
Another thing that you should always consider when choosing a wine cooler for long-term wine storage is sunlight. Even if you’re placing your wine cooler away from direct sunlight, you should opt for a unit that offers UV protection. UV rays from sunlight can speed up the ageing process and result in your wine tasting sour, acidic, and generally unpleasant - which is the last thing you want if you’re ageing or investing in your wine.
Placing your wine cooler in direct sunlight can raise the internal temperature, so always be sure to place your cooler in a dark space if you plan on storing your collection for a few years or more. If your wine cooler of choice has a glass door, ensure that it’s UV-treated so no harmful UV rays can enter your cooler and affect your collection.
If you plan on storing your wine for years at a time, chances are that you’re investing in your collection, or you simply care about the outcome. If you’re storing your wine for serving, you don’t really need to be concerned about humidity regulation.
However, for long-term storage, too much or too little humidity can have a negative effect on your collection. Too little humidity could try out the cork, causing it to slip out of the place and ultimately expose your wine to oxygen. This can speed up the ageing process and affect the freshness of your wine.
Too much humidity can have a similar effect - it can make the cork overly moist, also exposing your wine to oxygen. It can also leave moisture around the wine, damaging the labels. It can also cause mould or mildew to grow. If you’re storing your wine for over five years, you’ll want your bottle (and labels) to stay intact - especially if you plan on selling them later on.