It’s normal for wine lovers to buy a bottle of wine, or two, or three… and then store them in the refrigerator or kitchen for a short while until they are ready to be opened and enjoyed – so why do you need a wine cooler?
If it gets to the point where you buy a couple of bottles and they start lying around on your counter or taking up space in your fridge, then you need to start thinking about buying one.
One of the things that affect the flavor of a wine is temperature. Wine is enjoyed best at temperatures that are a bit cooler than room temperature, but a bit warmer than refrigerator temperature.
You should definitely consider getting a wine cooler if you live in a relatively warm house or one that experiences big temperature changes because of the weather.
A wine cooler will come in handy if you want to start collecting bottles too. You may stumble upon a few classic wines that you would like to leave to age and enjoy at a later date.
“The storage conditions of your wine have a big impact on how they age.”
The seals on wine bottles are not 100% airtight so whatever is lingering in the environment and in and around the wine can affect it.
You should certainly get a wine cooler if you find yourself having over 30 unopened bottles stored for more than one month!
In order to make an informed investment decision, it’s important to note the differences between a wine cooler and a standard fridge.
Standard food refrigerators are designed to keep food at low temperatures and eliminate humidity so that your food doesn’t go bad. A wine cooler, however, is designed to keep wines at a low temperature – but not too low.
Wine coolers also maintain a certain level of humidity which helps the wine age properly and keeps the wine cork moist and just impermeable enough to maintain the wine’s high quality.
A standard fridge is opened several times during the day as you take out various items. This constant opening and closing results in a big loss of cool temperature and the fridge is then forced to readjust itself each time.
A wine cooler is only opened when you need to remove a bottle, which is way less often than opening a standard fridge. Therefore, the wines keep at the correct temperature over longer periods of time.
A standard refrigerator makes a loud noise too that is caused by the vibration of the fridge. It runs off compressors that aid in its functionality which produce the vibrations.
Some wine coolers have a thermoelectric cooling system that prevents vibrations. Others will still come with compressors but will be built to be as quiet and as still as possible to absorb vibrations as much as possible.
A quiet and still wine cooler will enable your wine to mature properly by protecting the sedimentation process from vibrations. Wine sediment should move at its own pace in order to mature naturally. Vibrations and noise send waves to the wine and can disturb this maturation process.
Wines are usually stored on their side too as this allows its sediment to be distributed evenly and it keeps the cork moist. Wine coolers are designed to store wines on their side for this purpose.
Standard fridges generally have a vertical storage area to maximize space. This means that wine kept in a regular fridge are vertical, therefore altering the quality of the wine by causing the sediments to be disturbed.
Your standard home refrigerator also stores several items ranging from meat products, fruits, and vegetables to dairy products and eggs. All of these foods produce smells, and these smells can permeate the wine in your fridge.
A standard fridge has low humidity too, which dries up wine corks and makes them permeable enough to allow in such smells. These smells will eventually affect the quality of your wines.
Having a wine cooler means that you only store wine in it. Therefore, you do not store food or other items that will smell and affect the quality of your collection.
Unlike a standard fridge, certain wine coolers have dual zone cooling systems that allow you to cool your red and white wines at different temperatures. Red wine should be consumed at a warmer temperature than white wine.
These separate cooling compartments have different temperature controls that set the temperature for each zone as required. This allows the wines to maintain their high quality and age properly. It also allows you to enjoy your wine straight away at the most desired temperature without having to let it sit for a while after taking it out of a standard fridge.
There are many great wine coolers available today that are designed to fit your needs. Here is a Wine Cooler Buyer’s Guide which explains some useful things to consider, so that you make the best choice for your budget, space and lifestyle.