Wine Cooler Buying Guide
Wine Coolers 101
Types of Wine Coolers
Countertop Wine Coolers
Freestanding Wine Coolers
Integrated Wine Coolers
Wine Storage Tips:
- Always store wine bottles on their side to prevent the cork from drying out: a dried cork can crack and let air into the wine
- Look for aluminum shelves to help keep your cooler’s temperature and humidity more consistent
- If you plan on storing red wine for a long time, the relative humidity should be between 60-75%
- The best red wine storage temperature is from 10 to 15° C
- While there is some debate about whether or not vibration affects the taste and quality of wine, avoid moving your cooler too often to keep bottles still
Wine Cooler Features
Temperature Zones +
Some wine coolers have separate temperature zones to keep different wines at their optimal temperatures. Dual zone models feature separate compartments, each with its own programmable temperature: one for whites, one for reds. Single zone wine coolers have just one thermostat, but the cooling system keeps the lower levels slightly cooler, which can be helpful if you tend to serve or collect one type of wine more than another.
Thermostats and Displays +
A programmable thermostat with a clear display lets you easily control your wine cooler’s temperature and humidity. Unlike refrigerators, which use cooling systems that tend to dehydrate the items stored inside them, wine coolers keep humidity levels stable. Some models conveniently allow you to adjust the temperature from the outside, without disturbing the bottles inside.
Wine coolers come with shelves that slide in or out to let you customize your storage space. Molded wire racks are better for keeping wine in place, especially if the racks are moveable, while flat shelving is best if you keep a variety of uniquely-shaped bottles. For the collector, shelves that can be adjusted for different heights will offer you the most control over storing your wine.
Lights in wine coolers are designed to help preserve your wine from harmful UV light, which is known to fade labels and prematurely age wine. They also allow you to see which bottles you have without opening the door.
Wine cooler doors are usually made from glass so you can easily see your wine collection. Some coolers come with reversible hinges so the door can open either way, which is especially handy if the cooler is going into a small space. The glass itself is also very important. Select doors with UV protection to avoid premature aging of the wine, and insulated glass that will help the cooler stay at a consistent temperature while using less energy.
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Wine Serving Tips:
- While each wine is a little different, here’s a quick reference to the best serving temperatures for each type of wine: red wine 10-18° C, rosé 7-13° C, white wine 7-10° C, sparkling wine and champagne 4-9° C
- Consider aerating your wine with a decanter up to an hour before serving: it “opens up” the wine via oxygenation, and also helps to keep sediment in the bottle
- Tulip-shaped wine glasses help to focus the smell, or nose, of the wine and will let you taste the wine better
- Fill wine glasses to just below the widest point so your guests can swirl the wine around the glass to open it up