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Best Wine Cooler Buying Guide

Introduction

Wine lovers and those starting to dabble in the wine world can appreciate a good wine cooler. You may even just be a person who has wine on hand because you do a lot of entertaining. Proper wine storage is very important if you want to optimize the flavor until the last drop of wine is gone. A wine cooler is the best way to keep your wine fresher for longer and helps it age better. You can serve your wine at its optimal flavor every time when you store it in a wine cooler.

What is a Wine Cooler?

A wine cooler is a refrigerator that is specifically made for storing wine. It differs from a traditional fridge because it can store things at a warmer temperature, ensuring that the wine doesn’t get too warm or too chilly. These are both things that can affect the taste of your wine.

Benefits of a Wine Cooler

Before getting into the information on how to buy a wine cooler, you should learn some of the many benefits that a wine cooler can offer you. Here, you will see some of the many benefits of investing in a wine cooler:

Inexpensive Compared to Other Options

Sometimes people invest in another refrigerator or getting a wine cellar. Wine coolers are generally inexpensive in comparison to both of these options. Wine cellars and other refrigerators also take up less space than a wine cooler, which is one reason that these are a cheaper alternative. Plus, wine coolers are cheaper to manufacture. If you want an affordable way to keep your wine tasting great for longer, the wine cooler can be a great investment for you.

Low Maintenance

Another great benefit of a wine cooler is the fact that it is low maintenance. It’s a simpler item mechanically than a regular refrigerator, which means there are fewer parts to replace and these parts are generally cheaper to replace. This is a low maintenance solution that you can enjoy in your home for a long time.

Great to Use on a Daily Basis

Wine coolers are made specifically for the purpose of keeping wine chill, so naturally this is the ideal choice for wine storage. Wine coolers can keep the conditions perfect for your wine thanks to the specialized settings, making it a much better choice than a regular refrigerator or wine cellar.

Eco-Friendly

You may be hesitant to purchase another appliance like a wine cooler because of the added energy costs. Fortunately, wine coolers are typically very eco-friendly materials. Thermoelectric cooling is a common alternative to the more traditional compressor-style of cooler for some wine coolers. This is a far more energy-efficient option. You can also feel confident in the fact there are no hazardous emissions or chemicals that are used in the cooling process. This makes the wine cooler the most eco-friendly option on the market.

Portable and Storage

When you get a freestanding wine cooler, you have the added benefit of portability. These are great for fitting into smaller spaces and you can take it if you want to travel with it. As for the storage part, the wine cooler is made for holding wine bottles. This allows you to hold more bottles safely in the wine cooler.

Versatility

Another amazing benefit of the wine cooler is that they are versatile items that can be used for a few different purposes. You can put other beverages in the wine cooler, such as soda, iced tea, lemonade, and water. You can also put some food in there, though you should avoid placing foods with an odor in with your wine. You also have to consider the temperature that the food needs to be stored in order to be stored in a safe manner. Some foods that you can store in your wine cooler include fruit, some cheeses, and chocolate. You can also put your glasses in there to chill them for better enjoyment when enjoying your beverages.

These are just a few of the biggest benefits of investing in a wine cooler. This can be a perfect addition for your home.

Differences between Wine Coolers and Traditional Refrigerators

While some of this was discussed previously, here you will understand why you want to invest in an actual wine cooler rather than just purchasing another traditional refrigerator. Wine is best if stored in a wine cooler rather than a traditional refrigerator. There are some distinct differences between a wine cooler and a refrigerator, such as:

  • Standard refrigerators are kept at between 32 degrees and 40 degrees, keeping your food safe for consumption. This keeps your more perishable items like milk and juice good, but this is too cold for storing wine.
  • Storing wine in your main refrigerator isn’t a good idea either. Since people are frequently in and out of the fridge, this could create vibrations that can negatively impact your wine. Wine coolers are typically only used when you want to drink wine.
  • A wine cooler lowers the temperature of the cooler gradually and maintains humidity in the cooler. However, traditional refrigerators are designed for the purpose of cooling objects down quickly and to decrease the humidity.
  • If you store your wine in with the food in the refrigerator, the odor can seep into your wine bottles.
  • While both the wine cooler and refrigerator run on compressions, however wine coolers have special designs to absorb the vibrations of the compressor.
  • Wine coolers were designed to help encourage the natural aging process of wine, while the colder air in the refrigerator will slow down this process.

There are other significant differences, but this shows you that you want the benefits of the wine cooler versus a traditional refrigerator.

Buyers Guide

There are so many different options for wine coolers that you may need some help to find out which one best meets your specific needs. In this section, you can see everything that you need to know to make an informed decision as far as which wine cooler is the best choice for you.

How to Choose a Wine Cooler

Uniformity

When you are storing your wine, you absolutely need uniformity of temperature. Wine can easily degrade if it is stored in an area where there are wide swings of temperature. The exact temperature for the wine can depend on the wine’s density. The average temperature for white, red, and sparkling wines can range between 45 degrees and 60 degrees. As discussed in the next section, there are different options, allowing for either a single compartment for one temperature or a dual-zone, which offers different storage temperatures for optimal storage of your different wines. For the most part, wine coolers today will have great uniformity, though some models are less uniform than others.

Shelving

You really want to take a close look at the shelves. Ideally, you want something that you can adjust based on your needs. This can give you versatility in selecting all of the different types of wines, allowing you to accommodate the various sizes of these different bottles. You want solid shelves that can safely store your wine.

Noise

Unfortunately, some wine coolers are far noisier than others. This can be a problem if you have your wine cooler near your sleeping or living areas of the home. There is another downside to the noise: vibrations. Noisier models have higher vibrations, which can potentially have a negative impact on your wine.

Features

Taking note of the different features can be important, especially if there are specific things that you want and need in your wine cooler. Some of these additional features include:

  • Digital temperature controls, allowing you to adjust the temperature without opening the door. This helps with consistent temperatures.
  • Settings for red and white wines, making it easy to use for everyone.
  • Water bins to keep up the humidity levels, ensuring corks and labels don’t dry out.
  • Integrated locks, keeping your more prized wine bottles safe from other people.
  • Tinted-glass doors to protect your wine from harmful light.
  • Adjustable interior lighting and shelves that can tilt up, which allows you to display your prized bottles of wine.

Single Zone Wine Coolers vs. Dual Zone Wine Coolers

Among the options that you have to choose from, one of the biggest decisions that you need to make is between a single zone wine cooler and a dual wine cooler. This will help make this decision easier for you.

Single Zone Wine Cooler

Whether you know it or not, you already are familiar with the concept of a single zone cooling solution: your refrigerator. In simplest terms, a single zone cooler is a wine cooler where the temperature is the same throughout the entire cooler. There are a few reasons why this could be an ideal solution for you.

  • Single zone wine coolers are typically smaller, meaning that this is a great choice if you have limited space.
  • For a long-term solution for your wine collection, single-zone coolers can do a sufficient job for this.
  • Some people are either all about the reds or only drink wines. Since you will only stick to that one type of wine, you have no need for anything more than a single zone cooler as red and white wines require different temperatures for optimal flavoring.
  • If you want to create a wine room or a wine cellar, you will likely want multiple wine coolers to accommodate the different types of wine. Since single-zone coolers are smaller, you can fit more coolers into the cellar.

Dual Zone Wine Cooler

With dual zone wine coolers, you have a storage solution that offers two compartments that have their own individual control panels. This allows you to set a temperature in one zone, making it cooler than what may be the temperature in another zone. A dual-zone wine cooler can be perfect for you if:

  • If you frequently entertain guests, dual-zone coolers allow you the freedom to store a variety of different wines. You can keep your reds and whites at their optimal temperature, which means that you can serve the wine at the perfect temperature for your guests.
  • Sometimes you may want to try different types of wines. Rather than worry about how you are going to properly store them, you can enjoy a variety of wine and store them at the right temperatures.
  • It can be complicated finding your favorite wines, especially if you have to search through different coolers to get it. With a dual-zone wine cooler, you get the convenience of having all of your wine in one location.

Compression Options and Cooling Systems

Wine coolers either have a traditional compressor or a thermoelectric cooling. There are some things to consider with these options.

Traditional Compressor

A compressor cooling system can be very efficient, but these need to have proper ventilation to let the hot air escape the cooler. The process of cooling with a compressor is to use a chemical refrigerant through the coils, which absorbs the heat and releases it outside of the cooler. This makes a humming noise when it runs.

Thermoelectric Cooling

Thermoelectric wine coolers don’t use the same chemicals for their cooling process. These systems force electricity through a heat pump, which is a small metal plate. Thermoelectric systems lack vibrations and are completely silent. This means that this is the best choice for people who want to store their wine for the long term. You should know that these don’t get as cool as compression coolers, as their temperatures can depend on the ambient temperature in the space. Thermoelectric coolers work better in basement settings, like a wine cellar.

Things to Consider Before Buying

When buying a wine cooler, there are a lot of things for you to consider. The first thing is to think about your needs for a wine cooler, especially how much of a budget you are willing to spend on one. Wine coolers can vary greatly in prices, from only a $100 to over $1000. These can depend on the size, added features, and luxe materials. You will want to prioritize what you are looking for, such as if you want the versatility of a dual-zone cooler or if you want features like LED showcase lighting.

Where is the wine cooler going to go? You need to decide where you are going to put your wine cooler, so you can determine the size of the wine cooler that you can get. Do you want a built-in? The best time to get a built-in cooler is when you are remodeling the space so that you can easily add one to the home. There are also different styles that you can choose from for your freestanding wine coolers, giving you the ability to pick the one that best matches your design scheme.

Do you want or need extra features? Some people may want to splurge more for safety features like child locks, safety sensors, or alarms to keep your wine (and children) safe. Maybe you are looking for better temperature controls or triple-pane glass. Think about which features matter to you, then look at your options within your budget.

Common Questions about Wine Coolers

This guide already addressed many of the common questions that people have about wine coolers, such as the difference between a single zone and dual-zone wine coolers. Here are some other common questions about wine coolers:

  • How Do I Clean my Wine Cooler?

After unplugging the cooler, you need to remove all of the shelves. Use a mild cleaner inside of the cooler, and clean each of the parts together. You should try using warm water at first or a baking soda solution before using detergent.

  • How Can I Store My Reds and Whites in the Same Cooler?

Ideally, you will use a dual-zone wine cooler for this but not everyone has that luxury. If you have a single zone cooler, you can store your reds at the top of the cooler where it is warmer while putting white wine at the bottom.

  • What Can I Do to Optimize Aging?

Keeping the cooler at a stable 55 degrees and at 70% humidity will help to achieve the best aging results.

Tips for Storing Your Wine

If you are going to store your wine, you will want to make sure that you follow some basic tips to optimize your wine storage. These tips can help you make the most of your wine storage solution so that you can enjoy your wine for longer.

One of the most important things to remember is the temperature. You have heard a lot about the temperature in this guide but that’s because the temperature is crucial to storing your wine. You do want to have a cooler temperature for your wine, but it should never be too cold. If you store your wine in a place where the temperature is over 70 degrees, you could cause the wine to mature your wine. If the temperature is significantly higher than this, your wine can get cooked and this could cause it to lose its flavor and aroma. If the temperature gets too cold, the wine could potentially freeze or develop ice crystals inside of the bottle, which could push out the cork. Some say that the perfect temperature for your wine is about 55 degrees.

Another important aspect of temperature is consistency. When the temperature fluctuates in the location where the wine is stored, this can cause lead to the wine expanding and contracting. This can lead to the cork being pushed out, leading to the cork drying out or allowing the wine to seep out of the bottle. The cork has to stay damp to keep a seal in the wine, protecting the wine from the air.

Light is something that should be avoided when it comes to storing wine. UV rays have the ability to prematurely age the wine and they can cause the labels on the wine bottles to fade. Ideally, LED or incandescent bulbs are the best choices since fluorescent bulbs can emit some UV light.

Dry air has the tendency to dry out the wine bottle’s cork, which can allow the air to enter into the bottle and spoil your wine. This is why humidity can make a huge difference in storing wine. When you store bottles for a long time, like up to 10 years, you want to have a humidity level of 70% to keep your wine fresher for longer. 70% can be the ideal level of humidity, but anything within the range of 50% and 80% can be adequate enough. However, you should know that any humidity higher than this range can lead to mold formation in your wine.

The ideal position for storing wine is resting it on its side rather than upright when you are storing it for a long time. The reason for this is that it can help to keep the wine cork moist, however, you should store the wine upright after it has been opened to avoid any spills. Storing wine on its side can also save on space if you have limited space for storage.

Lastly, be sure that your storage solution has limited vibrations to it. Vibrations can cause undesirable chemical reactions in the wine, which leads to wine aging at a quicker pace. Some vibrations can even be significant enough as to where the sentiment in older wines can be kicked up, leading to a gritty or dirty flavor to it. Vibrations are more of an issue if you are storing your wine for a long time, but this is not as much of a problem in the short term.

If you are looking for an amazing wine cooler for your space, shop our collection of wine coolers now. You can get 5% off (discount expires tonight at 11.59pm). *See product page for details. Call us at (800)349-6717 or email us at support@winecoolerplanet.com for any questions that you may have about our products.


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