How to choose a wine fridge?

Kitchen & Dining

No matter if you’re a long-time wine lover or simply beginning to grow your taste buds, the right wine storage is vital to extract the most pleasure from each bottle. Regardless of whether you opt for a built-in wine cooler for your kitchen or a freestanding wine fridge for a private wine cellar.

A wine fridge for your home is definitely the perfect way to guarantee that your wine remains fresh and ages flawlessly.

You can also easily serve your wine at the perfect temperature to help maximize the taste.

What is a wine fridge?

Such elements like the sun, temperature, vibration affect the taste, quality, and durability of the wine over a certain period of time. There is a difference between wine refrigeration and wine storage. If you need to keep your wines for a special event, then wine fridges are exactly what you are looking for.

A wine refrigerator or fridge is a specialized refrigerator that is a slightly warmer temperature than a regular refrigerator, preferably somewhere near 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the temperature at which things begin to slow down and everything in the wine starts to age at a consistent level.

At all times, be sure not to place your wine fridge in a spot with a temperature that is 30 degrees hotter than your wine’s preset preferred temperature. Or else, the fan and the cooling unit may be overworking, and your warranty might be voided, and it could spoil the taste of the wine as well.

On the flip side, wine storage devices have a lot of attributes in the way of improved reservoirs for the long-term aging of wine. These storage units operate somewhat otherwise than a wine refrigerator.

Types of wine coolers

How to pick the proper wine cooler? Selecting the proper wine cooler might sound tricky because there are so many choices available out there.

Keeping your wine stored properly and serving at the correct temperature is essential to bringing the most out of each bottle. When selecting a wine cooler, you should take the factors below into careful consideration.

  • Placement.
  • Capacity.
  • Temperature adjustments.
  • Equipment.

Depending on the various storage purposes, you may have a choice of a compressor or a thermoelectric cooling mechanism. Champagne, sweet wine, white wine, sparkling wine all can be kept in one section and there is an additional area for storing red wines.

Read more: Best Wine Coolers & Wine Refrigerators

Compressor wine cooler

  • This kind of cooler is using an engine to keep the interior cooler. More efficient, it operates by the mechanism of compressing and releasing air and needs a shorter time to cool.
  • The compressor in the cooling compartment electronically compresses the refrigerant molecules, thereby increasing the temperature of the molecules. After that, a rapid release of the particles reduces the temperature again.
  • This mechanism enables cold air to enter the interior of the cooler using a fan, while heat is released through the rear of the cooler, keeping an ideal temperature.
  • They can cope with the surrounding high temperature.
  • Consumers have to remember that just like the refrigerator, the compressor switches on and off, producing a sound that does not always make the compressor wine cooler appropriate for bedroom placement.

    Single zone wine cooler

  • This cooler, as the name indicates, is about a single, seamless area of storage. A single temperature is spread and sustained over the entire cooler, keeping all the wine bottles cooled to an identical temperature level.
  • The racks within are built to hold every bottle independently, providing an optimal cooling atmosphere (the bottles do not overlap).
  • The cooling mechanism that powers this kind of cooler can be either compressor-based or thermoelectric-based since it cools to a unique temperature only.
  • The efficiency of the single-zone cooler differs based on the kind of cooling mechanism that is used. Compressor cooling is regarded as being more efficient than thermoelectric cooling because it cools more rapidly and uniformly. But based on the way and purpose of using the wine cooler, one is not likely to be preferable to the other.
  • As with any other feature of the wine cooler, it really depends on your own choice and preference. Being consistent is the essence of the way the single-zone cooler functions. For this reason, fans of a specific kind of wine are able to have the entire cooler at a constant temperature instead of being concerned over constant temperature fluctuations.

Dual-zone wine cooler

  • This kind of cooler features two storage sections with different temperatures.
  • The cooling system can operate using either a compressor or thermoelectric basis.
  • The racks are built to keep every bottle individually, thus providing a more specific cooling.
  • Compared to one-zone wine coolers, these are pricier.
  • Due to the two independent storage systems, this kind of wine cooler is appropriate for the consumers with a collection of various kinds of wine that must be kept at different temperatures.



How does a wine cooler work?

There are two kinds of wine refrigerators that you can get today: the compressor kind and the electric kind. Each functions slightly in a different way and comes with its unique pros and cons. Compressor wine fridges function in a manner that is similar to a conventional refrigerator. Electric refrigerators are more widely used and popular than the compressor type nowadays.

Compression Cooling

A compression refrigerator uses a specific fluid known as a refrigerant. The refrigerant circulates with the help of a compressor system on the back of the refrigerator. The compressor compacts the refrigerant, that is a gas, increases its temperature, and pushes it through the metal spools on the back of the refrigerator. The hot refrigerant gas is cooled to the temperature of the kitchen, turns back into liquid refrigerant, and goes into the coils within the refrigerator.

When the liquid refrigerant passes through the spools, it becomes expanded. The more surface area the refrigerant possesses, the greater the amount of heat it can take up from the surrounding air, thereby cooling the inside of the refrigerator and increasing the temperature of the refrigerant. Then it returns to the compressor to begin the process once again.

Thermoelectric cooling

Thermoelectric refrigerators are more common today. Most home wine refrigerators use electricity since they are typically smaller and run more quietly. A thermoelectric refrigerator uses the so-called Peltier effect. The Peltier effect needs no refrigerant or other chemicals, it operates using only electricity to take advantage of a natural phenomenon. When an electrical charge is directed through two connected pieces of metal, a heat transfer occurs going from one side to the other, known as heat flow.

The hotter one side becomes, the colder is the other side. Placing a heat sink on the hot side helps to dissipate heat in a more efficient manner, thus allowing more heat to be pulled away from the cool side, reducing the temperature more than would be possible otherwise. The heat sinks found in wine refrigerators resemble the ones you might find in your computer. They are made of aluminum slats, that are effective conductors of heat, along with a fan that keeps things even cooler and enables the slats to take in more heat from the panel.

Thermoelectric vs compressor wine cooler

Thermoelectric vs compressor wine cooler

  • Compressor Benefit One: Compressor coolers are able to become significantly cooler compared to thermoelectric coolers.

A majority of thermoelectric coolers aren’t cooling lower than approximately 50°F, meaning you can’t reach the appropriate serving temperature for Champagne or any other sparkling wine. Moreover, thermoelectric coolers will not be advised for use in areas that become hotter than 80°. The reason for this is that the Peltier unit lacks a great deal of heat flow and can really only reduce the temperature by 20 degrees or so. When your home is a comfortable 72°F, reaching 55°F in your wine cooler (the suggested wine storage temperature is not a problem for any wine). But once the thermostat begins to increase, it will become more challenging to keep that goal temperature.

  • Compressor Benefit Two: Compressor coolers are less expensive to run.

With electricity bills a concern for just about everyone, it only makes sense to think about how much you’ll spend to power your wine cooler. However, if you are just making a spec comparison, then you are missing a big part of the picture.

To begin with, thermoelectric wine coolers run at a constant rate, whereas compressor wine coolers switch on and off depending on your needs to keep the inside temperature up (exactly the same way your refrigerator does). The continuous use of power not only leads to increased energy bills but also means components will fail more quickly and have to be replaced.

Secondly, the power output efficiency of a thermoelectric cooler is dramatically impacted by environmental temperatures. As discussed above, thermoelectric refrigeration capacity can be fairly limited. The bigger the gap between the wine cooler and the surrounding room temperature, the more power it needs to use to achieve that temperature (if it can achieve it at all). In contrast, compressor units function a lot more effectively during hot conditions.

  • Thermoelectric Benefit One: Thermoelectric coolers are silent and vibration-free.

As there are no running parts in a thermoelectric cooling system, these wine coolers function almost noiselessly. Indeed, if the cooler is set up correctly on a firm, flat base, there shouldn’t be any noise at all. The fans that are built into the housing could produce a low buzz if there is an obstruction or the cooler is not standing even, though otherwise, the cooler works unremarkably in any home interior.

The absence of moving parts further implies that there is practically no vibration within the entire cooler. When storing wine for extended periods of time, there is no need to be concerned about continuous shaking that might disrupt the sediment in the bottle and possibly spoil the taste.

A compressor cooler is, obviously, a refrigerator, and a fridge’s compressor can be quite loud when in operation. These units may not be the best choice if you’re searching for anything to be used in a peaceful living area.

  • Thermoelectric Benefit Two: Thermoelectric refrigeration equipment is environmentally friendly.

Refrigerators that operate on vapor compression refrigeration, including freezers, A/C units, and wine coolers, are dependent on a fluid coolant that functions as a heat sink, passing heat from one place to another. During the beginning of refrigeration, fridges were operated with ammonia, yet this substance is still highly toxic to people. The next substance was Freon, a chlorofluorocarbon that has been shown to deplete the ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere. In the last two decades, much scientific research has gone into making alternative refrigerants, and those now in use are far less harmful than their predecessors. However, these refrigerants still release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

In addition, refrigerants are hazardous waste that must be disposed of properly-disposing of an old refrigerator can lead to serious impacts on the local ecology and human health if the refrigerant leaks into the soil or water supply.

In contrast, thermoelectric wine coolers cause no pollution or emissions. The components of a thermoelectric system pose no greater risk to the environment than any other electrical device. When it’s time to dispose of a wine cooler, consider recycling it, but there’s no need to worry about hazardous compounds.

The choice of the correct cooler

So how do you choose a wine cooler or some other kind? Finally, it is a question of individual preferences, budgets, and the specific needs of your wine collection.

Compressor Cooler

  • Are cheaper to operate.
  • Achieve colder temperatures.
  • Refrigerate consistently in hot climates.
  • Provide more storage space.

Thermoelectric coolers

  • Cheaper to buy.
  • Silent and free of vibrations.
  • Offered in smaller sizes.
  • Eco-friendly.

It is up to you whether to consider the pros and cons and choose the one that is best for you.

Do wine coolers expire

Wine refrigerators serve both for storage and aging of wine. In the short term (under 6 months), the wine is stored in perfect storage terms to maintain the flavor you would like to savor today or 6 months from now. Wine fridges also keep your wine nicely chilled so that you can savor it close to the appropriate serving temperature whenever it’s time to consume it!

Also: The best vacuum wine pumps

Storage temperatures for wine

The overall optimum storage temperature for wine is around 55 degrees, which is similar to the year-round temperatures below ground. Caves and actual cellars used to be the primary wine storage devices in the pre-refrigeration days as they made it simple to maintain wine at these temperatures. Storing wine at 55 degrees significantly slows the aging process, meaning you needn’t worry about loss of color, taste, or aroma.

Keeping the temperature even is essential as well. If the wine is subjected to temperature changes, it speeds up the deterioration process. It also causes changes in relative humidity, making it likely to break corks and damage the seal on your wine bottles. Shrunken corks can lead to the wine going bad in only a few days.

40 – 50 degrees: light, dry white wines, and champagne.
50 – 60 degrees: full-bodied white wines as well as light, fruity red wines.
60 – 65 degrees: full-bodied red wines and port wine.

Serving temperatures for certain types of wine

According to Wine Guardian:

  • Sweet sparkling wine – 39-43°F.
  • Ice wine, sweet vouvray – 42-44°F.
  • Crémant, non-vintage classic rosé, white zinfandel – 42-45°F.
  • Vintage sparkling wine, New World Muscat, Riesling Gewürztraminer, Loire Valley white wine (Sancerre), Sauvignon Blanc, Alsace Riesling, Italian white wine – 43-46°F.
  • Beaujolais, Nouveau French Chablis, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Viognier, Condrieu – 48-52°F.
  • Tawny Port (chilled), full-bodied Chardonnay – 50-54°F.
  • Côtes du Rhône – 53-56°F.
  • Chianti, Sangiovese, Barbera – 56-58°F.
  • Young Bordeaux, young Cab – 58-61°F.
  • Merlot, light Zinfandel – 58-62°F.
  • Tawny Port – 59-62°F.
  • Red Burgundy Pinot Noir Chianti Riserva Barolo Merlot (aged in oak barrels) – 61-63°F.
  • Grand Cru Bordeaux, mature California Cab, mature Rhone, Zinfandel, vintage Port – 61-64°F.

Wine fridge temperature settings

Once you’re just beginning to collect wine, continue reading about proper wine storage in a one-zone refrigerator.

A single-zone refrigerator is definitely something that you would like to get if you do not have much room and would like something more compact for your small collection. No worries, you will get a bigger two-zone refrigerator when your collection grows bigger after a while. The key thing to remember is that single-zone fridges only provide one temperature for all of the wines you need to store, and you have to adjust it quite thoroughly. Plus, as you remember from the previous table, every wine comes with its unique temperature. Adjust it to 54 °F, which also equals 12°C, and you should be okay.

You can also get dual-zone fridges, which need more space than single-zone fridges, but the highlight is that you can adjust different temperatures in the two zones. For instance, you can choose to set 19°C (66 °F) in one zone and 7°C (45 °F) in the other. How great is that? These are the temperatures of the dual zone wine cooler you can adjust for various kinds of wine. The best is to adjust the temperature from 50 °F (11°C) to 65 °F (18°C) for red wine and another zone from 45 °F (7°C) to 50 °F (11°C) for white wine.

Using a two-zone wine refrigerator allows you to have an easier and more practical way to control the temperature of the wine fridge for several wines.

What temperature should a wine cooler be?

The temperature range of the wine cooler is the one you set yourself. but it will not go above or below certain temperatures. The maximum temperature you will use is 67 °F, which is 19°C, and the minimum temperature – 45 °F, which is 7°C.

Every fridge comes with the wine fridge temperature adjustments that will help you set things up properly. And with the proper temperature, you will be able to maintain your wine in perfect condition for years, and you will be able to bring it even to your grandchildren’s wedding.

To recap this information and stress its significance, we have to emphasize the white wine refrigerator temperature and the red wine refrigerator temperature.

Tip: Maintain the white wine refrigerator temperature within 45°F (7°C) and 50°F (11°C) and the red wine fridge temperature between 50°F (11°C) and 65°F (18°C).

Wine Refrigerator Buying Guide

Temperature, humidity, and vibration are the main distinguishing features between conventional fridges and wine fridges. Without getting into the intriguing world of evaporator coils and sensors, it’s easy to say that a regular refrigerator is designed to rapidly reduce temperature and suppress moisture, whereas a wine fridge/cellar is built to slowly lower temperature and keep a humidity level beneficial for wine storage. They serve two distinct purposes. A day-to-day refrigerator is configured to hold a variety of perishables cold and dry, so that lettuce, bread, sausage, and beer coexist peacefully at an average temperature of 40°F – too cold for the sensitive nature of your wine, as well as too dry to maintain cork moisture.

On top of cold and dry conditions, dominant smells can harm wine in a normal fridge. You may get a hint of Kung Pao Shrimp in your Pinot Noir when it is left on the same rack for too long. What can cause this? When the cork in your Pinot bottle gets shrunk and becomes porous because of the lack of humidity in the air, letting surrounding smells leak into your wine. Keep in mind that traditional fridges are designed to hold humidity down, not keep it in.

One more ” wine’s enemy ” existing in traditional fridges is vibrations. In contrast to thermoelectric wine refrigerators, all-purpose fridges operate with compressors that create vibrations that break the aging process of the wine, without even mentioning the mechanical sound generated in the process. Certain wine refrigerators and non-thermoelectric wine refrigerators are also operating with compressors, yet they feature a dedicated vibration absorption system to decrease the shock and noise effects, thus letting the wine age at a more natural speed.

Conclusion

Briefly, it depends on individual tastes when selecting the proper wine cooler for you. Wine can be stored either for short-term or long-term use. Corresponding to the difference in the taste of the wine, there is also a distinction in its storage temperature. When selecting the most suitable wine cooler for your place, look for the capacity, characteristics, longevity, and practicality.

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Steve Toomey

The main inspirer and creator of this resource. In passion about gardening, home decor & interior. Also, likes to DIY projects and interesting in house gadgets. Moreover, he likes to find out how to make cooking easier and simple with kitchen gadgets. Read More.

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