Regardless of the size of your collection, or the types of wines that your collection consists of, you should store your wine the way it deserves. A wine fridge is one of the best ways that you can store your wine, whether it be in the short term or the long term.
However, there are different types of wine fridges, and it can be difficult to know which one is best for your collection. What is the difference between integrated and built-in wine fridges? Why should you get a wine fridge? Which wine fridge is best for your collection?
Keep reading to learn more about wine fridges, and to find out the key differences between integrated and built-in wine fridges.
What Is A Wine Fridge?
If you’re wondering what a wine fridge is, then you’re in the right place. A wine fridge is an appliance designed to store your wine in the right way, typically considering factors such as light and humidity as well as temperature, of course.
For long term storage, wine is best stored at temperatures between 11°C and 14°C, so the majority of wine fridges will have this as their preset temperature. However, some wine fridges will allow you to store your wine at several different temperatures within the same unit. This is called dual or multiple temperature zones and is ideal if you have a mixed collection, as you can store your reds at one temperature, whites at another, and sparkling wines at another. However, many will have a single temperature zone.
This is also useful if you plan on storing your wine in the long term for ageing uninterrupted while storing wine in the short term for serving within the same unit. Wine fridges can also protect your wine ageing humidity by regulating the humidity levels. Wine is best stored with a little humidity, but not too much or too little. In fact, 55% - 75% is the optimal humidity range.
Not enough humidity could dry out the cork, resulting in the cork slipping out of place and the wine being exposed to oxygen. Too much humidity can not only cause mould to grow but damage the labels - which is something no wine collector or investor wants to happen.
Wine coolers can also protect your wine from harmful UV rays. Your wine should always be kept out of direct sunlight, as UV rays can speed up the ageing process by causing unwanted chemical reactions.
Sunlight can also heat up the wine - which is why wine coolers offer UV protection. If a wine cooler has a glass door, chances are, it will have been UV treated to no sunlight can harm the wine inside.
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Integrated vs Built-In Wine Fridges
Now you understand what a wine fridge does, it’s time to learn more about the different designs. There are three main designs of wine fridges - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated. Freestanding wine coolers stand freely and aren’t limited to kitchen cabinet space, but need a certain amount of space around the unit for optimal airflow and to prevent overheating.
You also have plenty of freedom when placing a freestanding unit - but what about integrated and built-in fridges? Integrated and built-in wine fridges are both designed to be installed into kitchen or cabinet space, but what are the main differences between the two? Read on to find out.
Integrated Wine Fridges
Integrated wine fridges are typically more expensive than other designs, as more time and effort is required during the installation process. Fully integrated wine coolers are designed to be integrated into your kitchen or cabinet space, which requires a little more work than simply placing a freestanding wine cooler down onto the ground or a surface.
This type of wine cooler can be integrated anywhere into your kitchen - whether it be cabinet space or a breakfast bar. It’s designed to be completely enclosed in cabinet, including the door of the unit.
This creates a sleek and seamless look, which is perfect for modern kitchens. Purchasing a fully-integrated wine fridge gives you peace of mind knowing that no matter which design of wine cooler you choose, it will fit in seamlessly with your interior design - after all, it’s designed to be enclosed in cabinet space.
However, when installing a fully integrated wine fridge, avoid placing the fridge next to appliances that generate heat such as ovens. This can result in the internal temperature of the wine fridge rising, meaning the compressors have to work harder - ultimately using more electricity and raising your electricity bill. If you’re a fan of sleek and seamless aesthetics, then you’re sure to love the style of fully integrated wine fridges.
Built-in Wine Fridges
Built-in wine fridges are very similar to fully integrated wine fridges - but there is one main difference. Unlike integrated fridges, built-in wine coolers are only partially enclosed in cabinet space. The doors of built-in wine fridges are always visible, which is perfect for displaying your wine collection.
However, this means that you should choose the design more carefully, as it’s not entirely hidden from view. For a sleek and seamless look, be sure to choose a design that matches the interior of your kitchen. Built-in wine coolers can be conveniently installed under kitchen counters, which is perfect if you have a small to a medium-sized wine collection.
Similar to integrated wine coolers, built-in wine fridges can be difficult to install - so if possible, have somebody on hand to help you if the delivery doesn’t come with someone who can install the unit. With built-in wine fridges, it’s important to leave around half a centimetre of space around the rear and sides of the unit to prevent overheating.
You won’t need to worry about leaving any space above the unit as they are designed to be installed in tight spaces. If you want to purchase a wine cooler with a glass door, then your best bet is a built-in or freestanding unit. This is because you won’t be able to see the door with a fully integrated unit - whereas a built-in unit can proudly display your wines through a glass door.