A wine rack is a decent place to store wine. But a rack doesn’t keep wine nicely chilled. Some people love to chill their wine in the fridge, but that takes up valuable fridge interior real estate that could be used for other food and drink. A wine cooler, otherwise known as a wine fridge, is a nice solution. One can be a game-changer for any wine drinker. But they can also come in handy for those who don’t consume a ton of wine. I have one in my kitchen as we are big wine drinkers. But I also use it for bottles of sparkling water, champagne for special occasions, and even sometimes in the summer, coolers and beer.
How does a wine cooler work?
There are two types of wine coolers: thermoelectric and compressor. A thermoelectric wine cooler uses a heat pump with wires positioned between the bottles of wine to keep them cool. A compressor wine cooler works similarly to your refrigerator. It has liquid refrigerant that circulates cold air to keep the wine at the perfect temperature.
What are the types of wine coolers?
There are various options when it comes to wine coolers. Namely, these include countertop, built-in, and freestanding. There are also single-zone and dual-zone. As the name implies, dual-zone wine coolers can keep bottles at different temperatures at the top and bottom. This is ideal if you have a selection of both reds and whites. In all cases, a wine cooler has shelves that can be pulled out to show your bottles of wine lying flat at the perfect angle.
The temperatures can range from 46°F up to 67°F (7.8°C to 19°C), with the coldest options ideal for wine coolers and types of wine like Port. The temperatures aren’t suitable for perishable foods and juices, so you’re best to stick to wine, water, and other non-perishable drinks in these fridges. But some wine fridges do have special drawers for perishable food. Some even have built-in freezers for back-up storage or quick chilling as needed. These can work as great overflow refrigerators as well, though these are less common.
Wine coolers come in a variety of sizes as well to accommodate smaller or larger wine collections and for smaller or larger spaces. You can find wine coolers that can hold anywhere from 29 bottles up to as many as 60.
Some, like the Insignia 29-bottle wine cooler Shelly Wutke reviewed earlier this year, have built-in lights. This allows you to peer inside without opening and closing the door. You can then easily see what’s available and when it’s time to re-stock.
What are the benefits of a wine cooler?
A wine cooler helps wine retain its original flavour (and colour!) This is achieved through keeping it at the optimal temperature for consumption. If you place a bottle of white wine in the regular refrigerator, for example, it will be cooled to a typical fridge temperature of 40°F or below. This is typically colder than it should be.
Conversely, leaving your red wine on a wine rack can lead to the bottles getting warm. This is especially so when you have the heat running in the winter or it’s a hot and humid day in the summer and you haven’t yet cranked up the air conditioning. The constantly changing temperatures, especially if you live somewhere with drastic temperature fluctuations, can do a number on your wine over time.
But as noted, even though the name suggests that wine coolers are only for wine, you can get creative. Use wine coolers for other drinks you want to have at the ready for special occasions, gatherings, or even daily consumption, like bottles of sparkling (or still) water, non-alcoholic beverages, and even sodas if the racks can accommodate smaller sized bottles and cans. Some wine coolers have space at the bottom specifically for housing canned beverages, too.
Sure, you can store those items in a fridge. But having a dedicated wine cooler leaves your fridge interior space open for more important perishable food items.
Should you get a wine cooler?
If you have the space, either in the kitchen, in a home bar, in the basement, or other room of the home, a wine cooler can be a valuable appliance to have. Even if you don’t drink wine often, it will keep the wine you do have at the perfect temperature so you get the most out of it when it’s time to drink. This will be especially appreciated if you have expensive bottles, like ones you received as gifts or bought when traveling, that you have been aging and/or waiting for a special occasion to crack open. I keep a steady supply of white wine, for example, which I use almost exclusively for cooking.
For those who entertain, a wine fridge is also a nice place to show off your collection and allow everyone to pick what they want to try next.
The value in a wine cooler is far more than just improving the quality of your wine. While that’s the primary reason, there’s so much more they can accommodate. But especially for wine drinkers and/or collectors, a wine cooler/fridge will be a great addition to the kitchen, basement, or bar.
Check out a wide range of wine coolers at Best Buy Online.