There are plenty of things you need to consider before you choose a wine cooler. Wine coolers should store your wine at the right temperature so your wine collection stays fresher for longer.
Wine coolers should also protect your wine from harmful UV rays - as when wine is exposed to sunlight, the flavour profile, aromas, and appearance can deteriorate pretty quickly.
However, wine coolers can do so much more than that. In order to find the perfect wine cooler for you, your collection, and your home, you need to understand more about wine coolers and their features.
We’ve got you covered - keep reading for our buyer’s guide on wine coolers, including information about their designs, shelving, temperature zones, as well as extra features.
The first (and maybe the most important) thing you need to consider when choosing a wine cooler is which design you want. The design you choose should be based on your kitchen or the space you have available in your home.
Freestanding units can fit in pretty much any place, whether it be for your kitchen, dining room, garage, or business. You have plenty of freedom when placing a freestanding wine cooler, which is why so many people choose this design.
You can find freestanding units that can store under 15 bottles,s and wine coolers that can store collections with over 200 bottles. Before purchasing a freestanding wine cooler, ensure that you have a convenient location with enough space for the unit.
You don’t just have to ensure that there’s enough space for the unit - you also have to consider space for ventilation.
Most freestanding wine coolers require around 3 inches of space around the rear and sides of the unit, and at least 10 inches of space above the unit for optimal airflow and to prevent the compressor from overheating.
Built-in wine coolers can be conveniently placed under counters, and are ideal for medium-sized wine collections.
Before purchasing a built-in wine cooler, ensure that you have under-counter space available for it. This wine cooler design is great for a modern, sleek kitchen - but can be difficult to install, so ensure that you have somebody on hand to assist you if needed.
As with freestanding wine coolers, ensure that you leave around 0.5cm of space around the rear and sides of the fridge to prevent overheating. However, you don’t need to worry about space above the unit, as they’re designed to fit into small spaces.
If your kitchen is sleek and modern, then a fully-integrated wine cooler is sure to add to the seamless aesthetic.
Unlike built-in wine coolers, the door of integrated coolers is completely enclosed by cabinets, so it’s certain to match the rest of your kitchen. Wine coolers can be integrated anywhere in your kitchen, whether it be into a breakfast bar or cabinet space.
However, avoid placing wine coolers near appliances that get hot like your oven, as this can affect the internal temperature and cause the unit to work harder, using more electricity.
Another thing to consider is shelving. First of all, you should check how many shelves that the fridge has, as this will give you an insight as to how many bottles that it can store.
If you have Champagne, Prosecco, or any other bottles that aren’t standard Bordeaux bottles, then you should opt for a wine cooler that features adjustable or removable shelves.
There are several main types of shelves used in wine fridges. Fixed shelves are the most common, and they’re exactly what you’d expect - shelves that are fixed into the unit that you can’t move.
Most wine cooler shelving allows you to store your wine horizontally and depending on the shelving layout, stack your bottles on top of one another.
Sliding shelves do exactly what you expect them to do - slide out for easier access to your wine. Sliding shelves are nearly always removable, which is brilliant if you need to store larger bottles.
However, some feature display shelves, which allow you to store your wine vertically. This means that you can show off your favourite, oldest, or most expensive wines. You can also store opened wine on display shelves, as it won’t spill.
If you have a wine collection with different types of wine (red, white, sparkling), then you may want to consider a wine cooler with dual or multiple temperature zones. This is also ideal if you want to store wine in the long term while storing wine ready to be served at the same time.
However, if you’re on a budget or your collection consists of the same wine, then a single wine zone cooler may be your best bet. Most small wine coolers have just one temperature zone, whereas many larger coolers feature dual or multiple temperature zones.
For more information about temperature zones, click here.
Some wine coolers are full of extra features that optimise your wine storage experience. For example, you may find wine coolers with a lock and key to protect your wine. This is ideal if you have children, teenagers, or sneaky housemates.
Some wine coolers will also feature an alarm. If you’re forgetful, this feature is especially useful, as you’ll be warned whenever you leave the door open. The alarm will also sound when the temperature drops below a certain figure, or if the interior gets too warm.
Many modern wine coolers will feature a digital display, which is sure to fit into any modern kitchen or business. Digital displays and controls are much easier to operate and offer a seamless experience.
Another feature to look out for when you’re browsing for a quality wine fridge is lighting. Most wine coolers will feature internal lighting so you can see your collection when you open the door. However, if you opt for a cooler with glass doors, then you may want to choose an option that has permanent LED interior lighting. Most will come in either white, blue, or amber - but it can vary from brand to brand.
Click here if you're a wine collector and want to learn how you can optimise your wine storage.