Wine coolers: the best wine storage ideas for every budget
Bit of a wine connoisseur? Serve your thirsty guests their next glass of Chablis or Sauvignon at its optimum temperature with the help of the latest wine storage ideas and coolers - there are styles and sizes to suit any space!
If you like your wine, it is worth ensuring it is being kept in the right conditions as domestic heating systems and sunlight exposure can wreak havoc on your favourite bottle and greatly diminish your enjoyment when you come to take a sip. A wine cooler will ensure that your wine is kept at optimum conditions so that you can get the most out of your favourite vintages.
How to store wine at home
Kieran Gibson, Head Sommelier at the Oriental Club, Mayfair, has these tips for storing wine
• A wine’s perfect storing temperature is around a consistent 13°C. In comparison, a normal household will sit at around 22°C, so this doesn’t only affect the long-term storage of the wine but also the immediate enjoyment of the bottle. When a red wine recommends drinking at room temperature, it doesn't mean 22°C.
A fridge is typically colder than 13°C, but is acceptable for short-term storage, but the wine should then be allowed to sit out for 30 minutes or so before serving. Garages also work well for short term, but are highly susceptible to temperature swings if not heated during the winter. Consistency is key when it comes to temperature. Areas that get too warm – such as airing cupboards, for example – can heat up the wine and prematurely age it.
• Turn off the lights. Wines are greatly affected by the UV rays produced by the sun and, like most perishables, benefit from being in a cool, dark place. The UV rays can degrade and prematurely age the wine, so lightbulbs are typically safe but windows are not. Why do red wines very rarely come in clear glass? They are more susceptible to UV damage and dark glass will reduce that.
• Keep the wine on its side. If the bottle has a cork, it has the potential to dry out. Keeping the bottle on its side allows the cork to stay moist. Also, keeping the wine away from vibrations will allow it to settle and stop sediment making the wine gritty.
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• Investing in a wine fridge is the way forward. They solve every wine storage issue listed above: temperature, light levels and they even monitor humidity. They can also make a stylish statement within the kitchen.
Best wine coolers to buy
Here are some of the best wine cooler options, whatever the space or budget available:
Small or slimline wine coolers
When space is limited or you don’t have the need to store more than a few bottles, a slimline wine cabinet built into a run of base units is an ideal option. Fitting snugly within a length of cabinets, these under-counter models come in a range of widths, starting from a slender 15cm.
You’ll only get one temperature zone, but if you just need somewhere to store wine without taking up valuable space in the fridge, it’s the ideal option. You can also consider integrated models installed at eye level, which can be configured alongside ovens, coffee machines and warming drawers, as well as fridge-freezers that come with dedicated wine cooler storage. Bear in mind that not all wine cabinets have reversible doors, so check before you buy that you will be able to access the unit with ease.
‘Consider both how well you’ll be able to see what’s inside as well as how easy it will be to grab a bottle when you want it,’ advises Steve Corbett, marketing manager for CDA. ‘Are the bottles stacked? Do the shelves slide out? The glass door should be UV protected to save wine from the effects of sunlight and an LED interior light will help you identify bottles.’
bar@drinkstuff VinoTech Wine Cellar
For a smidgen under £100 this stylish black wine cooler is a great choice for those who want to look after their wine but don’t want to spend a fortune. It holds eight bottles, so perfect for those who only want to store a few bottles, and its compact size means it can fit seamlessly into even the smallest homes. Features of the wine cooler include a glass door for easy visibility and an electronic adjustable thermostat with °C and °F display. At the time of writing, 76 per cent of purchasers have rated it five stars on Amazon.
Subcold Viva Under-Counter Wine Fridge
This freestanding under counter wine cooler from Subcold is an ideal choice if you have a countertop with space underneath in a kitchen or utility room. The compact wine cooler holds 28 bottles (plenty of room for all your entertaining needs) and has a temperature range of 3-18°C, which can be adjusted by a smart touch digital thermostat.
LED lighting lets you identify bottles easily and noise-wise it’s pretty quiet too, with a level of 39dB. It is economical to run as well at 145kWh per year.
You can choose from a sophisticated black or silver design, which will complement any colour scheme.
Russell Hobbs Freestanding or Built In Wine Cooler
Whether you are looking for a freestanding or built in wine cooler this stylish wine cooler is another great budget option for those with not much space, and can be either built in or free standing. The wine cooler holds seven 75cl bottles – one on each shelf - and thanks to its slimline design, adjustable door and reversible feet it can be fitted into most small spaces.
Features include a G grade energy efficiency rating and a temperature range from 5°C - 18°C, which can be controlled by the LED display.
It also has low noise output of 41dB(C), making it suitable for any room of your home, such as a corner in a living room or dining room if you have a narrow galley kitchen.
CDA wine cooler
Ideal for a smaller kitchen, CDA’s single-zone FWC304BL wine cooler comes in black or stainless steel, is A rated for energy efficiency and can hold 20 bottles. The UV protected glass has an anti-fingerprint finish while added benefits include a child lock, touch controls, LED lighting and an anti-vibration system.
Best medium-sized wine coolers
The larger the cabinet, the more features you generally get – including two or even three independently controlled temperature zones. Luke Shipway, product manager for Caple, recommends looking for cabinets with compressor cooling systems, as these will maintain precisely the right temperature to retain wine’s complex flavour. He also advises choosing a model with a low-noise level, especially for open-plan kitchens, as well as making sure the unit offers constant humidity levels above 65 per cent. ‘This way, cork quality is preserved, while mould and odours are prevented.’
Other features to look for include anti-vibration systems, which prevent disturbing the sediment in wine, as Helen Haider, head of marketing for Fisher & Paykel, confirms. ‘With the higher-end wine cabinets versus lower-end wine coolers, you should get an appliance that protects and cares for your wine in a better environment.’
Bodega43-180 Freestanding Wine Fridge
A tall freestanding cabinet is ideal for slotting in at the end of a run of cabinets if you can't go built-in, and the smart black steel design of this wine cooler ensures it won't look out of place in any kitchen. This wine cooler holds 180 bottles and comes with dual-zone temperature control that has two temperature zones, one for white wine and one for red. A fan circulates air for an even temperature, while a low-vibration compressor and UV-tempered glass door ensure optimal storage conditions.
Sub-Zero’s ICBIW-30R wine cooler
Sub-Zero’s ICBIW-30R wine storage with refrigerated drawers, priced £11,820, is a serious piece of kit with three temperature zones for white wine, red, champagne, beer, soft drinks and snacks. It holds 86 bottles, is A+ energy rated and features dual evaporators for constant temperature and humidity, a UV-resistant glass door, angled display shelf and LED lighting. There's also an optional dessert wine rack, as well as bulk storage drawer for magnums and larger bottles.
Buy from Sub-Zero
Bespoke wine coolers/rooms
If space or money is no object and you’re having a new kitchen designed, why not consider a completely custom-made bar area or wine storage wall?
‘High-quality wine storage is essential for preserving reds, whites and champagnes at optimum conditions for short, medium and longer term storage or even ageing,’ confirms Ricky Davies, director at Sub-Zero & Wolf UK. ‘Look for a brand that offers two or even three temperature zones. For example, two temperature zone wine storage with the benefit of additional refrigerated drawers set at a cooler temperature for beers, snacks and soft drinks, allowing you to create your own ‘at home bar’ to include freshly mixed cocktails, as well as perfectly preserved wines and champagnes.’
For Darren Taylor, managing director of Searle & Taylor, the most recent trend has been for cooling walls, where a tall fridge, freezer and wine climate cabinet are situated side by side with matching furniture doors, including a UV glass-fronted door for the wine fridge. ‘However, we are increasingly being asked to create bespoke bar areas,’ he says, ‘where the integrated wine climate cabinet is just part of a larger wine, spirit and cocktail-making unit.’
Kitchen designers Searle & Taylor are increasingly being asked to create bespoke bar areas, with integrated wine cabinets alongside spirit, wine and cocktail-making units. This design features the Gaggenau RW466 61cm integrated Wine Climate Cabinet and the BMP225100 microwave. From £20,000.
Designed by Stoneham retailer Dobsons, this kitchen features a Stoneham signature tall bar cupboard with walnut storage and glass shelving. Pocket doors allow the bar to be concealed and opened up when needed while floor-to-ceiling Siemens wine cabinets either side provide chilled temperatures. From £25,000 for kitchen
A bespoke wine storage solution made from custom-stained oak veneer, this configuration by DesignSpace London complements the Modulnova MH6 oak veneer cabinetry perfectly. Development and interior design by Clivedale. From £25,000 for kitchens
This bespoke climate-controlled wine room from Spiral Cellars is back-lit with textured stone tile panels, black walnut display plinth and stainless steel bottle pegs. From £35,000
What makes a good wine room?
Lucy Hargreaves, Managing Director, Spiral Cellars, explains what to cionsider if you are thinking about installing a wine room and its benefits
• If you are at all serious about wine, then you need to take wine storage seriously, as flawed storage conditions are the single biggest reason why wine spoils. While wine can withstand mild variations in temperature, it does need to be cosseted against frequent or extreme variations. If stored in a kitchen wine rack, under the stairs, on top of the fridge, in a utility room, garage or the garden shed, it can be adversely affected by domestic heating systems, kitchen warmth, unlagged hidden hot water pipes, sunlight or a sudden cold snap. This results in lacklustre, prematurely matured wine that lacks the promise it once showed.
• A wine cellar or wine wall will add a stunning design feature to the home. It creates the space to have multiple wines on standby for a variety of occasions, from a casual drink to something with which to mark a special occasion.
• Storing and cataloguing vertical tastings and phased openings has become considerably easier with a cellar or wine room of decent capacity. Including decent wine storage in the home is also a smart financial decision, as estate agents acknowledge that luxury wine storage adds value to a property.
• Having storage capacity at home enables one to buy wine en-primeur (while still in the barrel) and then allowing it to age. If bought wisely, wine that was initially reasonably priced could very well end up as something valuable.