If you’re a wine aficionado then you probably want to store your precious bottles within suitable conditions to preserve their flavor and other quality characteristics. That’s what for wine coolers (also referred to as wine refrigerators/wine cellars) are designed for. They are best suited for short term storage, for up to 12 months.
You don’t have to cram in your bottles in the kitchen fridge next to all the food stuff, or worry about getting wine cooked in the pantry during summer months.
Wine coolers are available in various sizes (from compact, 4-bottle units up to 100+ bottle models) and style regarding:
- placement (freestanding or built-in),
- cooling technology (compressor, thermoelectric or other), and
- number of temperature zones (single, dual or multiple).
Wine lovers can choose from a wide range of equipment designed for proper storage and cooling of wine at home. Stores (both online and off-line) offer wine fridges and coolers in different sizes, colors and price range.
Wine Coolers for Home Use According to Style & Size:
Freestanding or Built-In?
Built-in wine fridges are fitted and fixed under the kitchen counter, flush with the cabinetry, similarly to built-in stoves and other kitchen appliances. They vent in the front (disperse the warm air from inside the cabinet) allowing minimal clearance (manufacturers usually recommend at least 1/2″ at all sides).
Counter-top or freestanding wine coolers can be placed on the kitchen counter, or if they are larger units then on the floor in the livng room, wine bar or entertainment room. Countertop size models are usually designed to hold and cool from 4 to 20 bottles. These compact wine storage appliances are almost exclusively thermoelectric units.
Larger models (40-50-bottle fridges, or wine cabinets with 100 or more bottle count) use traditional compressor refrigeration and either vent at the back, in which case they can be used only as freestanding with a couple of inches (4-5″) clearance around the sides and at the top, or ventilate in the front but are too large for built-in installation but look great as standalone.
For wine lovers who have little space in their homes, manufacturers developed space-economic wine bottle coolers:
There’re slim, 15 inch or narrower units that occupy very little space (small kitchen trash bin) but can hold up to 25-35 wine bottles.
Tower wine coolers, like the Thermador Wine Preservation Columns, are narrow, elegant, shelved cabinets that can be placed conveniently in your kitchen or dining room without taking up too much space.
Stainless steel wine bottle coolers look elegant and match with other shiny, stainless home appliances, complementing the home decor.
If you’re looking for something traditional and stylish then consider buying an oak wine barrel cooler.
Single bottle wine coolers hold and chill one bottle of wine. They’re more suitable for serving rather than storing wine. With a dual-bottle wine cooler you can chill or warm 2 bottles of wine at the same time.
For storing the wine supply in a restaurant or wine bar, commercial wine coolers are recommended.
If you want to cool canned beverages take a look at the GE Monogram Beverage Center.
If you want to enjoy fine, chilled wine on picnics then a portable picnic wine cooler bag or carrier might be a good investment.
Wine Cellars for Long Term Storage
If you have a large selection of bottled wines then you’ll need a capacious cellar, perhaps a wine cabinet or wine room. Wine cooler refrigerators are suitable for storing and cooling bottles of wine for maximum 1 year. For aging wine and for long term storage you need a climate-controlled wine storage cabinet or wine credenza, like Le Cache or Vinotheque. These furniture-style wine storage units are equipped with advanced cooling equipment ensuring proper temperature and humidity levels.
If you plan to build your own cellar then you need to install a cellar cooling system to provide suitable temperature and humidity for your wines.
Based on Technical Specifics You’ll Find:
- Electric wine coolers operate similarly to ordinary fridges, using compressor cooling system, but they ensure more stable temperature level and and the ability to set cooling temperatures that are best for your wines. Some of the high-end units (Sub-Zero, EuroCave) maintain proper humidity (50-70% relative humidity is recommended) inside the cabinet.
- Themoelectric wine refrigerators use innovative technology based on the Peltier principle. Low noise, no vibration and energy efficency are the major pros of such wine storage appliances. Due to the limitations of this technology, thermoelectric cooling is applied only in small wine coolers (from 1 bottle up to cc. 30 bottle storage capacity).
- Some manufactures (e.g. Vinotemp) apply hybrid cooling technology – a combination of traditional compressor-based refrigeration and thermoelectric cooling. This ensures higher efficiency, silent operation and low electricity consumption. An eco-friendly (R134a) coolant is used to reduce the harmful impacts on the natural environment.
- Absorption Cooling – Electrolux uses this type of refrigeration method in its wine cellars. Since absorption cooling is a physicochemical proceess, it doesn’t require compressor or motor, ensuring silent, vibration-free operation.
- Dual temperature zone wine coolers have two separate compartments with individual temperature controls for storing red and white wines separately, at different temperatures within one cabinet.
- Multiple Temperature Zone Wine Storage Units – they contain 3 or more independently controlled storage zones. Some Liebhherr wine refrigerators have 6 temperature zones.
TIP: See also our Wine Cooler Buying Guide & Tips to find out what factors and features to look for when shopping for a wine cooler.