How To Buy A Wine Fridge – Your Guide
Whether you want to call it a wine fridge or cooler the end result is the same, isn’t it? Now a wine fridge is a big investment but if you are a wine expert then you won’t want to just stick your prized bottles in your regular fridge next to your vegetables will you?
Whether it’s in your kitchen or installed in your very own wine room or cellar a wine fridge does the important job of keeping your wines at the optimum condition. So, if you are a wine lover and have been thinking of housing your bottles more professionally then a wine fridge/ cooler is just what you need.
But there are a lot of things to consider if you want a wine fridge. They come in different styles, and the price can vary wildly. So, why don’t I help by outlining everything you need to consider when getting a wine fridge? We’ll look at the costs, styles, features and everything else you need to think about.
What Is A Wine Cooler?
Well, I talked about this briefly in the intro but let’s just breakdown the main points you need to consider. A wine cooler isn’t your ordinary refrigeration unit it’s a specially designed appliance that will keep wine safely stored at its ideal temperature.
Wine is a very delicate beverage in many respects and it needs to be stored in certain conditions to ensure it keeps its taste and lustre. A wine cooler is, therefore, the simplest way for wine lovers to safely keep their bottles stored away.
Should I Get A Wine Cooler?
Well only you can really answer this question but if you have already been looking into wine storage options then a wine cooler would certainly be a wise investment. If you are the type of person who only enjoys a glass of wine every once in a while and is happy with your regular supermarket bottle then you probably won’t need a wine cooler.
However, if you are a more dedicated wine lover or even someone who could be thought of as a wine connoisseur then you could definitely benefit from getting your home a wine cooler. After all, if you are willing to spend money on expensive vintages then shouldn’t they have optimal storage as well?
A wine cooler will allow you to enjoy your wines at their most ideal temperature this will have a huge impact on the taste, aroma, and body of the wine. It might be hard to think of a wine cooler as something other than a fancy, luxurious fridge but it is specially designed for wine and will allow you to enjoy them at their best!
What Do Wine Coolers Cost?
So, let’s get the most difficult question out of the way first what is a wine cooler going to cost you? And the answer could be a lot! Okay, to be fair there is actually a wide spectrum to the costs of a wine cooler and some are much more affordable than others.
In fact, at the cheaper end of the spectrum, you can find some wine coolers for only £200 or potentially even less if you find one during a sale. However, at the other end of the spectrum, there are some wine coolers than can cost up to £3000!
If you are struggling to work out which is best for your wine collection then you need to consider how much of an investment you really want to make. If your wine collection is made up of expensive vintages then you might want to pay more for a high-end wine cooler.
However, if your wine collection is mainly made up of cheaper bottles/ vintages then opting for a cheaper cooler to keep them stored away is likely going to be your best option. After all, you’ll still be able to enjoy the wines at the optimal temperature, won’t you?
If you want certain styles or features when it comes to your wine cooler then you will have to pay close attention to the price as well. Certain features/ designs will only be available with higher-end more luxurious appliances, for example, different temperature zones will only be available with more expensive coolers.
Cheaper models of cooler will likely only have a single temperature zone. The total storage capacity is another important thing to consider when choosing a wine cooler as well. Do you want it to store all your wine collection or just your most prized bottles? The bigger the cooler the more expensive it will likely be.
In general, you can consider the main price guidelines to be something like this. Up to £200 will usually net you a basic freestanding model. The coolers in this range will usually be quite light on features but the more expensive options will have a high-quality build and could fit up to 35 bottles.
The £200 to £500 range of wine coolers are going to be much more varied and they’ll be larger freestanding units available that have more features and could fit up to 50 bottles. But they’ll also likely be some built-in models as well, these will often be more luxurious options but will have a smaller capacity than the similarly priced freestanding units.
If you are willing to pay more than £500 then you’ll find a much wider assortment of luxury wine coolers available. The coolers in this price range are going to be aimed at the more serious wine collector, the more you are willing to pay the more features you’ll find like triple-temperature zones.
The Types of Wine Coolers
Wine coolers come in four main types and each is quite unique. Some models are going to be better suited to certain budgets while others will only be found with more luxurious ranges. But the price isn’t the only consideration.
Certain types of wine cooler are designed to fit in certain spaces while others are more versatile and flexible. So, let’s look at each of the four main types of wine coolers in more detail. When you know how each type is different you’ll be able to better judge which is the best for your needs.
Freestanding Wine Coolers
Freestanding wine coolers are as their name implies able to go almost anywhere! This gives you some big benefits when it comes to their versatility. Freestanding units are also usually the cheapest option as well and they aren’t bound by the same restrictions as built-in models.
This means freestanding units usually offer more storage space. Freestanding units are the perfect entry point and offer a simpler package in general but also one that can serve many wine lovers well. They might not look quite as nice as other models but they do their job well.
Built-In Wine Coolers
Built-in wine coolers are the real winner when it comes to their look and style. They are usually very modern-looking appliances that will be a highlight to any kitchen/ wine room. They might be the classic wine cooler most people see in catalogues and showrooms but they do actually have some restrictions you won’t find with other models. For one thing, built-in wine coolers are more limited when it comes to their storage space because they have more standardised dimensions.
Integrated Wine Coolers
These are another of the more luxurious options available. Integrated wine coolers are fitted into a unit (usually in a kitchen) at around chest height and they are a great way to add a more unusual feature to your kitchen but they would also make a very visually appealing addition to a wine room or cellar.
However, while integrated wine coolers are no doubt one of the best looking types of cooler they do have some downsides. Integrated wine coolers are one of the most limited options available in regards to size so if you have a larger collection they might not be the most practical option.
Countertop Wine Coolers
Countertop wine coolers are your cheapest option when it comes to coolers but they are also the smallest. A countertop wine cooler won’t have a lot of storage space at the most you’ll be able to fit around 12 bottles.
But in most cases, a countertop wine cooler will usually only be able to accommodate around 6 – 8 bottles at most. If you don’t have the space to accommodate a larger cooler or only have a very small collection they can still make a fine choice. But most people who want a wine cooler will be looking at the larger options.
Other Important Considerations
So, now that we’ve looked at the price-ranges and types of wine coolers we need to examine the other important considerations you’ll need to ask yourself when buying one. Your budget isn’t going to be your only concern if you are a serious wine drinker then you’ll need to consider some other important features. So, be sure to fully answer these three key questions before you start looking at coolers.
Q1 – Where is Your Wine Cooler Going?
This one might seem quite simple at first but you really need to think about where you are going to put your wine cooler. Do you want to have it built into a unit, just have it set up and ready to go in your kitchen or do you have a more creative option in mind?
There are basically three different options when it comes to wine coolers these are freestanding, integrated and built-in. Freestanding wine coolers are the cheapest option and they have more flexibility when it comes to choosing where they go. However, the other models can be built directly into a wall or counter give them a more luxurious feel and look.
Q2 – How Much Wine Do You Want To Store?
This one should be pretty easy to answer for most people, do you have a large expansive wine collection or do you only have a dozen or so bottles? People with more expansive collections won’t be able to use a single cooler to store their whole collection but they often won’t need to.
Wine coolers are often used to store bottles you plan to drink so they aren’t really designed for long-term storage. Although they can certainly house bottles for a long time. But if you only have a small collection you might not need a larger wine cooler. Think carefully about how large you really need your cooler to be as the size will have a big impact on the total price.
Q3 – How Many Temperature Zones Do You Need?
One of the most important things about getting a wine cooler will be the temperature zones namely the number of zones you have. Coolers can go from one zone to three and the more zones you have the more versatility you’ll have with your cooler.
If you want to store some wines at optimal serving temperature and others at a temperature better suited for storage then you will at least need a dual-temperature cooler. However, some people prefer to have dual-temperature in order to safely store red and white wines at different temperatures.
Triple-temperature zone wine coolers are only going to be found with the more expensive wine coolers. With these, you can set three specific temperatures to give yourself a lot more flexibility when it comes to your wine storage.
So, that completes our look at the important considerations you’ll need to think about when choosing a wine cooler. Now that you know more about the types of wine cooler available and the costs involved what else do you really need to know when buying a wine cooler?
Well, wine coolers can offer a wide range of different features some are going to be almost standard features that most coolers will offer. While others are going to be much more luxurious features that you’ll only find on more expensive coolers. Let’s take a look at some of the main features, anyone, thinking of buying a wine cooler needs to know about.
The Wine Cooler Features You Need To Know About?
Wine coolers like most other kinds of kitchen appliances can offer a wide range of different features. You might need specific features due to your own personal requirements while others might be more niche. Below, I’ve compiled a mini-glossary of all the main features you need to know about.
The anti-vibration system might sound quite fancy but it’s actually a feature even some more budget-friendly wine coolers will have. The anti-vibration system works by using a compressor to minimise micro-vibrations and noise.
This will help any wines stored in the cooler maintain their colour, flavour, aroma, and body. It might not seem like it but even small vibrations can have a very negative impact on the wines stored in the cooler over time so an anti-vibration system does provide a valuable service.
UV Resistant Glass Doors
This is another feature you can sometimes be lucky to find on more budget-friendly wine coolers. Although it might take some searching, these protective glass doors help protect any wine stored from UV rays. However, if you can install your wine cooler in a place far away from direct sunlight then you likely won’t actually need it.
This is a more modern feature that not every wine cooler will have and at the moment they are more exclusive to high-end coolers. Smart functions allow you to control your wine cooler’s temperature from afar by using your smartphone. It’s a nifty feature for sure by likely not one many people will actually need.
Interior LED Lighting
This is a feature that is going to be seen in the vast majority of wine coolers. Because light that gives off UVs can damage the wine most coolers will use LEDs to keep the interior of the cooler lit up. LEDs only have very low levels of UV rays so they are much more suited to wine coolers.
This is a very useful feature to have on a wine cooler but it’s also something that can be hard to find especially on more budget-friendly appliances. Most shelves in a wine cooler will be designed to fit the standard 750ml bottles. However, with adjustable shelves, you can alter your cooler to safely fit smaller and larger bottles for beverages like champagne.
These might seem like something you’ll only find in more basic wine coolers but they are actually a feature more commonly found in mid-range to luxury coolers. Wooden shelves aren’t just preferred to collectors for their look and style they actually help protect your bottles from harm. Metal shelving can chip bottle and tear labels something no serious wine lover will want to happen.
Now, this is a nifty feature worth looking out for! A temperature alarm will sound if the interior temperature of your wine cooler drops. This can help you detect problems and hopefully fix them before something more serious happens. These alarms will also sound if you accidentally leave the door of the wine cooler open as well.
This is a simple feature but a very useful one, unfortunately, it can be hard to find a cooler that offers it. But if you do then it will certainly benefit you! Upright storage allows you to safely store opened (but unfished) bottles of wine in the cooler without running the risk of them leaking.
Charcoal Air Filter
The quality of the air inside your wine cooler is very important. Which is why a charcoal air filter is a very useful feature to have. With this, you can prevent a build-up of dust inside your cooler and help prevent odours from damaging your stored wines and altering the taste.
Touch Controls and Digital Displays
Wine coolers can have a wide range of different control panels but one of the best is touch controls. These controls are designed to be easier to use and allow you to more precisely alter the settings in your cooler. A digital display will also allow you to more easily monitor the temperature of your wines as well.
So, that completes our look at 10 of the most important and popular wine cooler features. Do you need all of them? No depending on your own personal requirements you might not need any of them at all. But it’s still beneficial to know about them and if something has taken your interest then keep an eye out for it.
What About Wine Cabinets?
If you have been reading this guide and have been thinking “what about wine cabinets” then don’t worry I was getting to them! Wine cabinets are similar to wine coolers in many respects but they aren’t the same thing. In fact, there are some important differences between wine coolers and cabinets.
Wine cabinets can be used to store both red and white wines at once but unlike wine coolers, they will only have one temperature zone. Due to their larger size a wine cabinet can house more bottles of wine and for much longer periods of time. Even the more expensive and durable wine coolers are only designed for short-term storage in most cases.
Wine coolers can also have a wide range of different features to help them control humidity, vibrations and block UV rays. However, just like with wine coolers how many of these features you will get will depend solely on the type of wine cabinet you buy.
Wine cabinets are also much more expensive than wine coolers so they are going to be a much larger investment. Wine cabinets are therefore better suited to people who have larger wine collections especially people who are looking to have their wines professionally cellared.
Buying A Wine Cooler
So, that closes out our look at wine coolers yes there is a lot to learn and think about if you want to get one. But that is part of the fun! If you want to keep your wines at the optimal temperature and ensure they always look, taste and smell their best then a wine cooler is just what you need.