You don’t need to be a wine snob to appreciate the difference a wine cooler or refrigerator can make when serving your wines. Storing and aging your wines properly is the number one thing you can do to bring out a wines true characteristics and full flavor potential.
Whether you’re a casual wine enthusiast or knowledgeable wine expert, wine coolers offer one of the easiest and most affordable ways to give you the best flavor profiles and tasting experience possible. However, finding the best wine cooler to meet your needs and budget can be tough, so we’ve put together this resource – a one-stop-shop, all-inclusive guide to help you find the wine cooler that’s right for you.
What’s the Best Wine Cooler for You?
Overwhelmed? There are quite a few options. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when deciding what’s the best wine cooler for you.
- How much wine do you want to store?
- What’s your budget?
- What kind of wine do you want to store?
- Compressor vs. Thermoelectric Wine Coolers
- Light and Door Design
1. How much wine do you want to store?
Are you the “buy a case of wine if you love it” type? If you enjoy buying certain vintages from your favorite producers or like to take advantage of discounts offered when you buy a case, you’re going to want to buy a wine cooler that can accommodate more bottles.
Wine coolers and refrigerators come in all sorts of different sizes ranging from a countertop unit that holds 6 bottles to much larger wine coolers holding hundreds of bottles. Depending on the size of your space and your budget, it’s better to have more room than not enough. But then again, you can always upgrade later.
2. What’s your budget?
Obviously your budget plays an important role in determining which storage option is right for you. But remember, if you’re investing in some decent wines, proper storage is crucial to making sure you enjoy all that they have to offer when opened.
If your budget is tight, do what’s best for you financially. You can always upgrade or get creative (like finding a wine storage company or creating a wine cellar in your basement).
3. What kind of wine do you want to store?
If you drink both red and white wine, you’ll want to invest in a wine cooler that keeps both at an optimal temperature. Red wine should generally be stored at 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while white wine is best when stored around 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fortunately, a dual wine cooler allows you to store both red and white wines in the same place. These types of wine cooler refrigerators are divided into two temperature zones, keeping your wine safe from humidity, too. A helpful tip is to look for a wine cooler that has soft interior lighting in order to easily see your wine collection without exposing the bottles to harsh light.
4. Compressor vs. Thermoelectric Wine Coolers
Compressor wine coolers work just like food refrigerators. With a compressor, the refrigerant’s molecules are compressed together, creating a heated vapor, which travels through a condenser, then undergoes a flash evaporation, turning it cold. The benefit of compressor cooling systems is that they are better at maintaining stable temperature even when external temperatures fluctuate. If you live in an area with extreme seasonal differences or if you have a really large collection of wines, a compressor wine cooler is probably a safer option.
Thermoelectric cooling systems use the Peltier effect, which relies on a temperature difference created by an electrical current. Since they don’t have a compressor, thermoelectric coolers are known for being quieter, more energy efficient, and vibration-free (vibrations like those found in regular refrigerators cause movement disturbing the naturally occurring sediment which will prematurely age wine just like excessive heat). But thermoelectric wine coolers don’t typically work as well in warm areas or in places where the temperature fluctuates drastically.
5. Light and Door Design
An oddly important design feature to consider when purchasing a wine refrigerator is the type of door your wine cooler has. Generally, there are three options: solid stainless steel, wood finish, and tempered glass. The reason this is so important comes down to light exposure.
Natural or fluorescent light is devastating to your wine collection. Dark and thickly constructed wine bottles offer some protection; however, prolonged exposure light breaks down your wine destroying it’s flavor over time. Tempered glass, like a solid wood or stainless steel door, is an effective way to protect your wine bottles from harmful light. However, a tempered glass door allows you to view and show off your wine collection.
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