Ultimate Guide to Wine Coolers | How To Store Wine At Home
Ultimate Guide to Wine Coolers
There is nothing quite like a rich and aromatic bottle of wine. Whether you’re raising your glass to mark a special occasion, to ring in the New Year, or to enjoy with family and friends, wine can be treasured, aged and collected. To protect expensive bottles of wine or a special wine collection, it’s important that you understand how to store wine correctly, or risk ruining the flavor and potentially losing money if you’re collecting wine as part of an investment.
There are a number of factors that can come into play when storing wine and ageing bottles over time. So to help empower you when it comes to choosing a wine cooler or creating a wine cellar at home, we’re going to reveal what it really takes to protect a wine collection and how to choose the best storage solution for you.
What Can Ruin A Your Wine Collection
Red, white, rosé and sparkling wine each need different environments to age and improve over time. Once you open a bottle of wine, oxygenation will take place as the bottle is exposed to the air, and although this can improve the flavor for some bottles of wine, this process can also impact the tannin flavor of some wines and result in a browning and nutty aroma and taste. So, it’s worth investing in a wine stopper and enjoy the opened bottle over the next couple of days.
For unopened bottles of wine, and to store your wine collection properly, you will need to pay close attention to a number of environmental factors. Even though your wine collection is sealed, heat, temperature, humidity and noise pollution can all potentially damage your prized collection. Let’s take a look at what can ruin a wine collection and why investing in a high-quality wine cooler is necessary.
Light & UV Rays
Have you ever wondered why many wine bottles are tinted? Well, wine stored in direct sunlight can be ruined due to harmful UV rays and tinting bottles before adding wine can help protect them against sun exposure.
In the same way, sunlight can damage your skin, UV rays can also impact your wine collection, and especially in relation to white wine, rosés and sparkling wine.
Sun exposure can give your wine a cooked flavor, so it’s important to learn how to store wine correctly or risk an unpleasant taste the next time you reach for your favorite bottle of white. A wine cooler, wine cellar or wine fridge will shield your wine collection from sunlight.
Ideal Wine Storage Temperature
Wine cellar temperature is another crucial environmental factor that can make or break your wine collection, and is why storing wine in a regular fridge at home is a big mistake. Every time the fridge door is opened, you are risking ruining your wine collection, as the temperature increases and then the fridge attempts to cool again. That’s why many serious collectors choose to have a wine cellar built at home or invest in a multi-zone wine cellar.
Ideal wine storage temperature depends on your bottle of wine, and this is why it’s a good idea to invest in a wine cooler with dual zones if you have a variety of red, white, and rosé wine.
For the aging process, a change in temperature can speed up or slow down this process and can help you mature wine quickly or allow it to gradually age and intensify over the years. But, failing to store wine correctly can spoil your bottles and be pretty frustrating, especially if you’ve waited a couple of years to enjoy a bottle.
Note: Allowing the temperature to drop below zero or to reach 20°C (68 ˚F) will completely ruin the aromas, tannin flavors, color and texture of the wine, not to mention the delicate wine sticker that can reflect the value of the bottle if you decide to sell it in the future.
Red wine: Red wine should be stored in a wine cooler or wine cellar and kept at around 12 to 19˚C or 53 to 66 ˚F. This applies to Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Red Burgundy, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Port, Grand Cru Bordeaux, Recioto and other full-bodied red wines.
White wine: Dry white wine, such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and dry Italian white wines should be cooled and stored at around, 7˚C or 46˚F. However full-bodied white wines like Chardonnay can be stored slightly warmer at 12˚C or 54˚F.
Rosé wine: Keep a rosé bottle of wine at around 7˚C to 12˚C or 45˚F up to 53˚F, making sure to keep the temperature consistent throughout storage.
Sparkling wine and Champagne: Similar to white white, sparkling wine and Champagne can be kept cool at a consistent temperature of around 5˚C to 7˚C or 41˚F up to 46˚F.
Fluctuations in temperature will speed up the decaying process and damage your wine collection, but a dual zone wine cooler will help to protect your wine by storing each bottle at the ideal wine storage temperature and away from harmful UV rays.
Wine Storage Humidity
Wine storage humidity should be around 50 to 70%, in order to prevent the cork from becoming dry and the oxygenation process from taking place. This delicate balance is important as too much humidity can cause mold around the cork and your labels to begin to smudge, yet too little risks damage to the wine itself.
Even the smallest change to wine storage humidity levels and temperature can weaken the glue holding wine bottle labels to the glass, and this can again damage the value of your wine collection. You can keep an eye on the wine storage humidity levels by purchasing a mini digital humidity meter.
A reading of 50% to 70% is ideal, but over 80% and mold, mildew and damage to the wine label is a serious possibility. To learn more about proper wine storage temperatures and humidity, see our temperature and humidity guide.
To take the hard work out of regulating the humidity levels and temperature, invest in a high-quality wine cooler. Feel free to browse our collection of built-in wine coolers, dual-zone wine coolers and multi-zone wine cellars.
Or harbour the power of Tru-Vino cooling technology with our Allavino FlexCount II Wine Coolers. This state of the art technology is transforming the wine industry and providing a truly dependable and consistent temperature-controlled environment for preserving fine-wine.
Movement & Vibration
Once you’ve stored your wine, try not to rearrange your wine collection or move the bottles around. Movement and vibration can trigger a reaction and cause wine to either become sweeter, or less acidic and aromatic.
If you start picking up your bottles to show family and friends, be aware that this can cause the sediment to become agitated which will impact the flavor. Keep your wine cooler away from white-goods such as washing machines that can cause a wine cooler to move or shake, and try to limit the number of times you move the bottles once they’re inside your wine cooler unit.
Features & Wine Cooler Designs
So if you’re thinking of investing in a wine cooler, let’s discuss some of the main features that you should be looking out for, and why they’re important for your wine collection.
Single, Dual and Multi-Zone Wine Coolers
One of the most important decisions to make before investing in a wine cooler or wine fridge is whether you need a single, dual, triple or multi-zone design.
Single zone: Available as a built-in wine cooler or freestanding design, a single zone maintains a single temperature throughout the fridge. A great entry-level wine cooler and ideal if you prefer a certain type of wine.
They are often much smaller in size than a dual or multi-zone wine cooler so perfect if you’re limited on space. However, larger wine refrigerators can be found, and it is not uncommon to have two single zone wine coolers to achieve a larger capacity if you are storing several different types of wine. Our side by side wine coolers are a perfect solution if this is the direction you want to go.
Dual-zone: Two temperatures are set inside the wine cooler to store different types of wine. Available in both a built-in and freestanding design, a dual-zone wine cooler is a good choice if you’re just starting to collect wine, or you want to store and protect a small collection with a mix of both white and red bottles.
Triple or multiple-zone: For the serious wine collector, this type of wine cooler allows you to store a wide range of different types of wine at different temperatures. Often much bigger and with far more capacity than a single or dual wine fridge, they are ideal if you plan to invest in wine over the next five to ten years.
A wonderful conversation starter, multiple-zone wine coolers are a modern version of a wine cellar and make for a striking and sophisticated addition to your home.
Quiet Wine Coolers
A wine fridge can create noise as it maintains a consistent temperature and environment for your wine collection to age. If you are concerned about noise pollution at home, consider a quiet wine cooler instead.
Look out for a thermoelectric system which uses electricity and produces no vibration and very little noise. This is also sometimes known as a solid state refrigerator.
Alternatively, if you’re purchasing a wine cooler with a compressor system, consider where you’re going to put your wine cooler. A compressor wine cooler is very efficient but they do require ventilation and space.
A basement is always a great place, but a kitchen can also be a good setting, as noise will also be coming from your regular fridge and freezer, and the hustle and bustle of daily life will likely overpower the noise of a wine fridge anyway.
Built-In Wine Coolers Or Free Standing Fridges
Choosing a wine cooler is a personal choice and you should consider the size of your wine collection and how fast you plan to grow it, whether you have space in your kitchen or you can put a freestanding wine cooler in your basement, the style and color you prefer and of course your budget.
A wine cooler or wine cellar is certainly a talking point and this decision will take time and careful consideration. The most popular designs include black finishes and stainless steel, but you can also choose a silver design and glass door.
Consider the following questions before making a final decision:
- How big is your wine collection at the moment and do you plan to invest in more wine?
- Does your wine collection feature one type of wine or a mix of white, red, rose and sparkling wine? Consider whether you need a single, dual and multi-zone wine cooler.
- Would you prefer a built-in wine cooler that fits snug under your kitchen counter? If so, what color would blend in well with your kitchen counters and cupboards?
- Do you have a basement or another space where you can install a large stand-alone unit?
- What’s your budget for a wine cooler?
Wine Cooler Additional Features
Buying an efficient wine cooler is also important, especially if your wine collection is rather large, or you have big plans to expand it over the next couple of years. To keep energy bills down, you should check whether the wine cooler you hope to buy has the following features:
LED lighting: Low LED lights are an efficient feature and will allow you to read wine labels without affecting the temperature inside. Additionally, most wine refrigerators utilize LED lighting for the fact they produce very little UV light rays. This is due to the phosphors within the LED itself that puts off white light.
Thermoelectric cooling system: Far more energy efficient than a compressor, if you want to save electricity, lookout for a design that includes thermoelectric cooling.
Triple Pane Glass: For maximum insulation, choose a wine cooler with triple-pane glass, as this style will regulate the temperature inside the unit without using up more energy.
Safety Features Of Wine Coolers
Child Locks: If you have young children at home, they might become curious about this new addition to your kitchen or basement. So, to keep unwanted hands from opening the fridge and getting into your wine collection, as well as protecting your family from heavy wine bottles and broken glass, look out for a wine cooler with child locks. This will give you peace of mind that your wine will be safe and secure, and your little ones won’t be tempted to explore your wine cooler.
Charcoal Filters: Some wine coolers include activated charcoal filters to remove any unpleasant smells and potent odours that could impact the wine. This is particularly important if you have an under-counter or built-in wine cooler in your kitchen, as cooking can cause strong odours that will linger and potentially get inside your wine cooler. The charcoal filters will purify any bad smells but need to be replaced on an annual basis.
UV Glass Doors: As we’ve previously mentioned, wine can become spoiled from harmful UV rays, and that’s why many wine coolers use UV glass. Protecting your wine collection and investment, it’s an important safety feature to have.
Best Wine Coolers To Buy
Here’s some inspiration to help guide you on the best wine cooler from our personal online range to protect your unique wine collection, whether you’re new to the world of fine-wine or you’re a more established wine collector looking to upgrade their current model:
Best entry-level single-zone wine cooler: Kalorik 33 Bottle Single Zone Wine Cooler
Our favorite built-in wine cooler design: Vinotheque 46 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler
Perfect for a new wine collector with a love for red and white with room to grow: Allavino 112 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler
For the serious connoisseur looking to protect their wine collection: Allavino 344 Bottle 4 Zone Wine Cooler