More and more wine lovers are deciding to store their wine in a wine cooler. Wine coolers consider all of the major wine storage factors, ensuring that your wine remains fresh for longer and ages well. Wine coolers are the ultimate wine storage solution - but how much do you know about wine coolers?
Wine coolers come in three main designs - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated. Today, we’ll be talking all about freestanding wine coolers, including how they're different from built-in coolers, and the main features of freestanding wine coolers. We’ll also be explaining exactly what a wine cooler is and why you need one - so keep reading to learn more!
A wine cooler is an appliance designed specifically for storing your wine in the best conditions, taking into account factors such as heat, sunlight, humidity, and vibrations. Wine is best stored at a certain temperature - if it gets too hot, then your wine may develop an unpleasant and irreversible cooked taste. If your wine is stored in conditions that are too cold, it could freeze and lose its natural flavours and aromas. The optimal storage temperature for wine in the long term is within the range of 11°C to 15°C.
However, the recommended temperatures are a little different when it comes to serving the wine. White wine and sparkling wines are usually best served at cooler temperatures (around 7-8°C, whereas red wine is typically served at around 15°C. However, this depends on the type of wine, the body of the wine, and the age.
Wine coolers also regulate the humidity levels, usually within the range of 50% and 70% humidity. Your wine collection needs a little humidity to ensure that the cork remains in place. If you store your wine in an environment without enough humidity, then the cork could dry out and slip out of place, exposing your wine to oxygen.
However, you should be careful not to expose your wine collection to too much humidity. Too much humidity can cause condensation droplets to form around the bottles, damaging the labels and encouraging mould growth. This can hugely decrease the value of the bottle - which is something no wine investor wants to happen!
Freestanding wine coolers can come in all different sizes - they can be small enough to fit on a tabletop, and big enough to store over 200 bottles of wine. However, all freestanding models are designed to stand freely, without being restricted to cupboard, cabinet, or wall space. You have plenty of freedom when it comes to placing freestanding wine coolers - you can place them standing freely in your kitchen, your living room, utility space, garage, or even your basement.
When placing a freestanding wine cooler, it’s important that you leave space for ventilation. Usually, the compressor systems are located at the sides or at the rear of freestanding wine coolers - so be sure to leave a couple of inches of space around the rear and sides of the unit to allow the cool air to enter and the warm air to exit. It’s also recommended to leave approximately 12 inches of space above the unit to prevent overheating. However, always check the manufacturer’s installation requirements to ensure you don’t void the warranty and damage the wine cooler.
Freestanding wine coolers aren’t suitable to be installed into walls, cabinets, or under kitchen counters. If this is what you’re looking for, then check out built-in wine fridges or fully integrated wine fridges. Built-in wine coolers have different installation requirements as they’re designed to be installed in a confined space. However, built-in wine coolers can almost always be used as freestanding wine coolers too. Built-in wine coolers will usually have the fridge door on display, unlike fully-integrated wine coolers that are usually completely enclosed in cabinet space.
Typically, built-in wine coolers have the same depth and height of kitchen counters, but it’s always best to double-check the measurements to ensure it will fit. If you don’t check the measurements, you may find yourself with a wine cooler that sticks out of your cabinet or breakfast bar.
Freestanding wine coolers can come with a variety of features. If you’ve never purchased a wine cooler before or simply want to know what features to look out for, then we’ve got you covered.
If you have a larger wine collection or a varied collection, then you may benefit from purchasing a wine cooler that has dual-temperature zones or multi-temperature zones as opposed to a single temperature zone. Freestanding wine coolers can have either single temperature zones, dual temperature zones, or multi-temperature zones.
Wine coolers with dual temperature zones allow you to store your reds, whites, and sparkling wines at separate temperatures for optimal wine storage. This also means that you can prepare some bottles for serving and store some bottles in the long term for ageing all within the same wine cooler. You won’t have to fork out for a second or third wine cooler if you opt for a design with dual or multi-temperature zones.
Most wine fridges, including freestanding wine fridges, are designed to accommodate standard Bordeaux bottles - however, some wine coolers have suitable shelving that can accommodate larger bottles such as Champagne or Prosecco. Display shelves allow you to store your wine upright and display your favourite bottles. Sliding shelves slide out for your convenience, and are sometimes removable. This is especially useful if you want to rearrange your wine cooler and make space for larger bottles of wine. The majority of wine coolers feature fixed or sliding shelves that allow you to store your wine collection horizontally, making the most of the space that the wine cooler has to offer.
Some freestanding wine coolers can have locks, which is super convenient - especially if you have young children, troublesome teenagers, or you simply want to protect your precious wine collection.