Wine cooler: Guide

Last updated December 2017

With a wine cooler in your home, you can always serve wine at the perfect temperature. You also get the advantage that you can lay down your wines for long-term storage. When buying a wine cooler, it's therefore important that you know what you intend to use it for; whether it's the former purpose – to get your wine to the right before serving it – or the latter – for storage. Perhaps you even want to do both? The reason why you need to know the answer to this question is that wine coolers are designed differently depending on how they are to be used.

A wine cooler intended to keep wine at consumption temperature can have a number of temperature zones. White wine should be served at 8-12 degrees, while red wine should be served at 16-20 degrees. A wine cooler intended for long-term storage should instead have a temperature zone of 12-15 degrees because this is the best temperature for storing wine. There are combination coolers with a number of different temperature zones which can store wine for serving and for the longer term.

But more than just the temperature affects wine. Light is one example. If you intend to store wine, you should avoid exposing it to light. This primarily means UV light, but research is slightly unclear on this subject and many people consider that you should avoid all forms of light. This means that it's sensible to choose a wine cooler with dark doors, for example dark glass or completely solid doors. The advantage of dark glass is of course that you – and other people – can see your fine wine collection.

Air humidity is also important for the wine, above all if it has an organic cork. Dry air dries out the cork and if the wine is exposed to oxygen it will oxidise. But you can also have problems if the conditions are too damp. If the air humidity is too high during long-term storage, you instead risk damaging the label. It's best to try to achieve an air humidity of around 75%. However, the acceptable range is quite broad.

Another factor that can affect the wine, even though it has not yet been completely established through research, is vibration. Wine is also affected by the noise level in the room, so the fewer vibrations the better for the wine and for your home environment.

Products in the guide

Caso

Caso Design is originally a German company, but one that operates throughout the EU. Caso has a large range of wine coolers, with models in all price classes. In addition to wine coolers, Caso also manufactures a range of other kitchen appliances and white goods, such as hobs, microwave ovens and juice presses. The company focuses on modern, innovative technology combined with stylish and functional design.

Liebherr

Liebherr's specialist knowledge extends over a number of areas, from mining to airborne transport systems. And of course refrigerators and wine coolers. The manufacturer's wine coolers are divided into two segments. They have Vinidor cabinets, which are intended for long-term storage, and a range of other wine coolers with 2-3 temperature zones that are primarily intended as serving cabinets. Temperature choices range between 5 and 20 degrees.

Vestfrost

Vestfrost is a Danish manufacturer which currently has four different product series of wine coolers. Just like many other manufacturers, they have specific wine refrigerators that they consider are particularly good for long-term storage. What makes them a little different is that the doors on the long-term series are not made of glass. They are instead solid, insulated doors so that the space inside the cooler is completely dark and retains its temperature well. Vestfrost also works with other storage related to refrigeration and freezing, together with biomedicine.

AEG

AEG is a broad brand with products in both kitchens and tools. Their range of wine coolers is relatively small, but the models are very energy efficient and have low noise levels. They primarily differ from each other in terms of size.

Candy

Candy brand wine coolers form part of a large group of white goods that originally come from Italy. What started with a dishwasher has rapidly developed into a range of ovens and other products. And of course those products include wine coolers. The company also has a relatively large range of wine refrigerators which primarily cover the lower price classes. 

Useful information about wine coolers

When you set out to buy a wine cooler, you need to be aware of a number of different factors. If you know about these, and know what you want, it becomes much easier to make a choice that you will then be happy with. Otherwise you risk buying a wine cooler that you have to change at a later date. You should take into account the following factors.

Size and space efficiency

The size of the wine cooler is important in two regards. How many bottles it can hold, and whether you have space for it in your home. The more efficient the wine cooler is in terms of space, the more bottles can fit into a particular area. Two apparently identical wine coolers can therefore hold different numbers of bottles. First decide on the place in your home where you will put the wine cooler, and then choose one that's as efficient as possible for your budget in terms of space.

The right number of cooling zones

Temperature zones are crucial to wine cooler function. These zones are also sometimes called cooling zones. If the description about cooling zones says 1, then you can only have one temperature in the cooler, and this means you have to choose what type of storage you want. For example, only white wines kept at consumption temperature.

Temperatures on the basis of function
White wines, ready to serve: 8-12 degrees
Red wines, ready to serve: 16-20 degrees
Long-term storage: 12-15 degrees

It's most common for wine coolers to have 1-2 temperature zones. If the construction is sufficiently good, you can set a temperature for red wine at one end and one for white at the other and achieve an ideal temperature for long-term storage in the middle.

The right air humidity

It's often said that an air humidity of around 75% is ideal for storing wine. If you want to store wine for the long term, you should strive to achieve a balanced air humidity. But if you're only storing it for consumption, this factor isn't particularly important because it takes a long time before dry/moist air can affect wine storage. Dry air can dry out the cork which means that oxygen can get into the wine and affect it. Humid air can instead damage the label.

Avoid light

When you store wine, you should avoid it coming into contact with the light. Above all, you should avoid UV light, but because discussions are still ongoing about whether other forms of light can affect wine, you should ideally avoid all forms of light for safety's sake. Remember that the wine cooler should work just like a wine cellar. You should always make sure that the door is equipped with UV filters, or alternatively that it is not made of glass. And if it is made of glass, it should ideally be dark glass so that as little light passes through as possible.

Energy labelling: Power consumption, noise level and number of bottles

Your wine cooler will be on all day, every day, so you want a wine cooler that's as energy-efficient as possible. Wine coolers are now energy-labelled. This means that you can see exactly what energy class it belongs to by means of a label on the cooler. This rating runs from A-G (sometimes with a + after the A as an extra step). For example, A is better than C and A+ is better than A.

The energy rating also shows the wine cooler's noise level in decibels, and the number of bottles it holds. In other words, when you compare different wine coolers, you should look at this rating because it gives you a good idea of how different wine coolers perform.

Vibrations

There's no unanimous research that says that vibrations are bad for wine, but nor is there any that says they aren't. So to be safe rather than sorry, you should buy a wine cooler with as little vibration as possible. Vibrations also affect the noise level and thereby your domestic environment. The compressor in the wine cooler creates the vibrations. The slightly more expensive models often have built-in systems for vibration suppression.

Integrated or freestanding?

Wine coolers are available both as built-in cabinets and as entirely freestanding ones. Which type you choose is primarily a question of what fits into your home best. For example, you can build a smaller wine cooler into a kitchen island, or place a freestanding wine cooler so that it will catch the eye of any guests in your home.

Security

If you have valuable wines, or sticky fingered family members, you should also think about security. Wine coolers are available with a locking function. It can be worth buying one, or getting a separate lock that works with the cooler, in order to protect your wine.

Guarantee

The guarantee on a wine cooler is important because you don't want to have to go out and buy a new one after just a couple of years. Make sure that it has as long and comprehensive a guarantee as possible. If problems occur with the wine cooler, you should easily be able to get it replaced or repaired.

Accessories

There aren't many accessories available for wine coolers. Some manufacturers sell "sommelier drawers" and similar things where you can store wine accessories such as bottle openers etc., but these are placed outside the wine cooler. For the wine cooler itself there are sometimes extra shelves and special bottle holders which mean that the wine cooler can hold more bottles. However, wine coolers are normally delivered complete.