How to Choose Wine Cabinets
The necessity of a quality wine storage space continues to be talked about among wine connoisseurs. Wine collectors are advised to buy a storage appliance for their unique wine collections, but the wide range of choices and prices can be confusing to the consumer. However, there are some key factors that should guide your selection if you are looking for a reliable wine fridge.
Retail outlets and homes often have space constraints. Consequently, it is important to adapt the capacity of a wine cabinet to the size of the wine collection as well as the available space.
Wine cabinet capacity ranges from 8 to 300 bottles. The technology used to regulate the cabinet temperature will be different based on the appliance size. Most of the small-capacity cabinets use thermoelectric technology, while larger appliances use a compressor.
Along with cabinet size, the shelving configuration will impact its capacity. There are typically two configurations available: full shelves, and a limited number of fixed shelves. Full shelves configurations will have the smallest capacity. Limiting the number of fixed shelves allows the collector to store bottles on top of each other, increasing the overall capacity of the cabinet.
Shelves can be made of various materials. Metal is usually not recommended, as it does not absorb vibrations. If wood is featured, it should not have any wax or finish, so as not to release odors.
Red and white wines require different storage temperatures. You generally store white wine at 40-52°F (5-11°C) and reds at 50-64°F (10-18°C).
With multi-zone models, you can have independent temperatures within the unit. You can keep champagne at its ideal temperature on the bottom shelf, with your claret at its ideal temperature on the top shelf. Single-zone models have one temperature, so compromise is a must. Before drinking you may have to bring a particular bottle slightly up or down to the correct temperature, whereas with cabinets that have multiple temperature zones, every wine is always ready to drink!
An increasing number of collectors want to keep their wine bottles at varied temperatures. Usually 2 to 3 temperature zones are sufficient for most customers to store sparkling, whites and reds.
But there are wine coolers available that can maintain several different temperatures, to ensure that a customer’s sweet wines, sparkling, rosé, whites, light reds and full-bodied reds are all perfectly chilled and ready for drinking.
A cabinet’s hygrometry is usually an under-estimated parameter when selecting a cabinet. Managing the humidity is key to maintaining a healthy cork. If the cork dries out or becomes mushy, it will impact the ability of the wine to breathe through the cork. Excessive humidity will also alter the labels.
Not all cabinets offer humidity control. Traditionally only higher-end and large-capacity units provide it. The ideal humidity level for wine cellars is between 50 and 80%.
Repeated vibrations, even on a small scale, can disturb a wine as it matures, accelerating the aging of young wines and loosening the sediment in old wines, causing irreversible damage.
It is necessary to take any potential sources of vibrations — household appliances, underground trains, etc. — into account in order to neutralize any effects as much as possible. Quality wine fridges will feature a compressor built on rubber dampers that helps with this.
Traditional wine cellars are largely a thing of the past. Nowadays cabinets are placed everywhere in a home, from the basement to the living room. If your next cabinet will be in a high traffic area, pay attention to its look and design. Nobody wants a bulky appliance sitting in the middle of the living room!
Appearance “killers” are typically appliances with bulky handles, apparent door hinges and frame welding.
Where to put your wine cellar
As with most refrigerators, you should try and keep your wine cabinet where the ambient temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much – so avoid the garage. Wine fridges can cope with temperature changes but big fluctuations put extra pressure on the unit.
Also choose the wine cellar that will fit nicely in your room of choice, so consider not only the capacity of the fridge but also its dimensions!
An appliance’s country of origin is important when assessing its quality and reliability. Quality and safety regulations are obviously different from country to country. Cheap, unqualified labor also will influence the quality of the end product.
Wine fridges made in North America and Europe are traditionally a sign of superior quality.
As demand increases, more and more appliance manufacturers are adding wine cabinets to their portfolios. But when looking for a reliable appliance, the manufacturer’s breadth of experience and reputation for a particular type of product is valuable. The most reliable wine cooler providers are always companies that only focus on wine refrigeration units. They typically offer premium quality and a dedicated service infrastructure.