Choosing the right type of wine cellar can be a little tricky
Wine lovers know the importance of having a wine cellar at home to keep their bottles of wine at the perfect temperature. A wine refrigerator (also called a wine cooler) serves the purpose of not only storing the bottles but keeps them at the optimum temperature. This ensures that when it is time to enjoy them for a drink at dinner or after work, they are perfect.
What wine fridge do I buy? I have an interesting collection of wines and I need a wine fridge at home, which one will be perfect for me? Which wine refrigerators are out there and how do they differ? How much do they cost? If you have any or all of these questions going through your mind, you are not alone. Do not worry, we will clarify and answer them in the following guide.
First of all, we must be able to distinguish between a wine refrigerator, and a mini-refrigerator or minibar (which, of course, can also be used to store wines). Wine refrigerators are built specifically to store wines at the right temperature. They have shelves with the dimensions, shape, and inclination suitable for a bottle of wine, and can normally be programmed at different temperatures, always taking into account the temperature range that is usually suitable for most wines.
To determine the difference between purchasing a wine refrigerator (not a minibar or a common fridge), consider the following aspects that unequivocally define a wine refrigerator:
The bottles are stored horizontally. This is crucial. Why? So that the cork in the bottle remains moist.
The wine fridge guarantees that the relative humidity inside remains adequate so as not to spoil the wine.
It also guarantees that the temperature of your wine, besides being ideal, is always constant. A wine should never be exposed to temperature changes.
A wine fridge should protect the bottles from ultraviolet light. You didn't know that did you? Wine hates the sunlight!
A wine fridge includes carbon filters to keep the wine from being exposed to any bad odors.
A refrigerator, or a minibar, also serves to keep the wine cold, but normally its dimensions and the shape of the shelves will not allow you to keep the bottles the same way a wine refrigerator does. And the equipment is not going to be as specific.
The size of the wine fridge is the factor that will most directly influence the cost. The smallest you will find on the market presently will hold 4 bottles, while at the other end you will find refrigerators that can hold large bottles, with the capacity to store 50 or more. Calculate the size of your winery, how many wines you want to have on hand, and choose your wine refrigerator according to your specific needs. Bigger doesn't always mean better.
The most basic wine refrigerators have a single container so that all bottles are kept at the same temperature. But if you have a large wine collection with wines of different qualities, you will probably need to store them at different temperatures. In this case, you will need to invest a bit more money and buy a wine fridge with different temperature zones that you can program separately. The Tristar WR-7512 model can serve as an example. A little trick in this respect: if you have a mono temperature wine fridge, place the red wines above and the other wines in the bottom. Why? Because this area exits the cooled air, and will always be slightly cooler.
The LED light is less harsh and is cheaper (consumes less energy) than traditional lights. This is a benefit that increases the price of the wine fridge, naturally.
There are many companies that are dedicated to the marketing of wine fridges. If you are going to buy one online, chances are that all of them may sound familiar to you, because there are not many brands that work exclusively on this type of product. Wine brands often have a presence in many other segments of the small appliance industry or kitchen appliances in general.
In any case, there are a few manufacturers you'd expect to produce a quality unit, such as Igloo, however there are also more specialty brands that produce great offerings. Companies like Allavino and Firebird bring a lot to the table with their cooling units.
The Best Selling Wine Cellars
Well, maybe the term "professional" is a bit excessive in some cases, but it is evident that there is a "premium" segment of wine refrigerator whose size, performance and price far exceed what normally a user is willing to invest for their home.
These are wineries are normally reserved for wineries or for catering business with very specific and demanding needs.
As you carefully choose your wine refrigerator, you must know how to place it in the right area so that the conditions of the conservation of your wines are the best. To know where to place your wine fridge (or bottle cabinet, or wine cellar ... as you want to call it), we advise you to take into account the following basic guidelines:
Look for an area that remains cool. A good rule of thumb is to choose the room in your home that is the least warm, which is usually a terrace or basement. It is no coincidence that wineries are always built below ground level, right?
Avoid places with direct light sunlight. Eliminate any risk of a sunlight coming into contact with the surface of the bottles.
If possible, choose a quiet area. Also, proper ventilation. Wine fridges need to dissipate refrigerated air somewhere, so leave a few centimeters on each side to prevent overheating. Do not place them near a wall or put objects on top of your wine.
You can install them, anywhere in the house ... but make sure you have an electric outlet nearby. And, for your information, just a tip: better to place it near the place where you will usually consume your wine (kitchen or dining room) so you do not have to transport them more than you should. You want to avoid the risk of falling, handling, etc.
Storage rooms and garages are usually very popular because they meet several conditions set as above. But if you decide to place your wine cellar in one of these, be wary of vibrations and above all the accumulation of fumes and odors. In these conditions be sure to incorporate anti-odor filters but, it's better and easier if you don't have to use these options by finding a location that works better for your wine to be stored.
A third option is inlaid wine bars or integrated wine bars. They are complete furniture that is integrated into your kitchen. They are fun and interesting to have and allow you to have a small storage space in your kitchen to have your favorite bottles (not for all your wine) on hand and in the best conditions.
We can divide the wine fridges into two clearly differentiated groups, according to the system used to cool and maintain the temperature of the wine.
Wine Fridges with Compressors
The wine fridges compressor operates much the same way as does a full size refrigerator. This means that they produce a slight vibration and some noise, which in the case of a refrigerator (which stores food) are imperceptible and irrelevant, but to save wine is not advisable. If you are planning to store the same wine for many years, it is best to avoid winemakers with a compressor.
Thermoelectric Wine Fridges
The thermoelectric wine bars, on the other hand, have more features. The cooling system is smaller, so the final size of the piece is usually more compact. They vibrate less and generate less noise, and also offer greater stability in temperature than winemakers with a compressor.
At first glance, it looks like advantages, right? Well no: wine fridges with thermoelectric system have an important disadvantage, and that is that they depend on the outside temperature. They are only capable of achieving a certain differential with respect to the ambient temperature. Usually, the differential will be 8 or 10 degrees Celsius at most. This forces us to place it in a reasonably warm room that is not subject to temperature changes.
A wine fridge with a compressor, on the other hand, gives us more freedom to place it wherever we want.
You should also keep in mind that a thermoelectric wine fridge generates more heat in the back. This does not have to be a problem, but you should consider it when thinking about your location.
Let's get down to business: maintaining a wine fridge is very simple, but you have to do it well. Just consider these three details:
You must change the carbon filter at least once a year to make sure it does not allow any odors to penetrate your wine.
Check from time to time that the temperature and humidity level of your wine fridge is constant. If it is not, it is possible that your wine is being damaged.
If you are going to do a thorough cleaning of your wine refrigerator (and therefore you are going to unplug it, empty it, etc.) ... always do it in winter. This will lower the temperature. Then, when you plug it in, you will not have to worry about too much of a temperature offset and can put your wine back into the refrigerator.
If you're going to call yourself a wine buff, then having a proper wine fridge is a must! We hope we've helped you learn about what to look for when you want to purchase, as making a smart investment now will keep your wines protected for years to come.
There are many people interested in making a wine cellar at home, although what they have in mind really is to build a wooden bottle rack to store their bottles horizontally. From there arise the ideas of how to make it work, the small built in wine cellars, etc. But a wine refrigerator (or wine cooler), as we have seen, is an appliance, and can not be built in the garage of a home, no matter how small.
What do you think? It can be very useful if you already have a cellar or a basement where the ambient temperature and humidity conditions are the best to store the wine.