Wine storage: Do I need a wine refrigerator?

Wine storage: Do I need a wine refrigerator?

When you think of wine storage, you may first think of large, dark cellar vaults with old, dusty wine bottles. Those who do not have the luxury of their own cellar vault must consider an alternative for storing their wines. The market offers a wide range of possibilities. From converted shoe racks and wine cabinets to entire room solutions worth the equivalent of a condominium in downtown Frankfurt.

Shoe rack or climate cabinet – What you really need

Before you buy a wine fridge, you should first thoroughly consider whether the purchase is worth it for you. Do you own mainly high quality wines that you want to store for five, ten or more years? Then the investment is undoubtedly worthwhile.

However, is your wine stock permanently limited to less than 50 bottles and do you prefer to drink light white wines? In this case, you can save yourself the expensive purchase of a wine refrigerator. Light wines are not suitable for storage and should be drunk within two years. In this case, you can simply store your bottles in a dark place. Just make sure that the temperatures do not fluctuate too much. Simple and inexpensive shelving solutions are great for stashing a manageable number of wines. In a Swedish furniture store you are sure to find what you are looking for.

Do you buy your wines primarily in the supermarket around the corner? Even then, the purchase of a wine storage cabinet is usually not worth it. Only very few wines benefit from long-term storage and the accompanying bottle aging. The chances that you will find these wines in the supermarket are there but small.

As just mentioned, only a few wines benefit from a long period of aging in the bottle. In the article “Which wines are suitable for storage?” you will find more information about this.

Wine climate cabinets are something for wine freaks. People who buy wines young to drink years or decades later. As long as you have not come into the maelstrom of old, residual sweet Moselauslese or matured Burgundy, an acquisition makes little sense. Keep in mind that a wine refrigerator runs 24 hours a day and will noticeably increase your electric bill.

If you’re just looking for an appealing way to display your wines, I recommend the wine rack systems from the following manufacturers:

  • Stact – luxury modular wall shelving systems for wine storage.
  • Raxi – handmade, modular wine rack made of beech wood, already from 2 bottles, also available on wheels).

Differences: Wine Refrigerator, Wine Temperature Control Cabinet & Wine Storage Cabinet

The terms wine refrigerator, wine temperature control cabinet, wine storage cabinet and wine climate control cabinet are often used as synonyms. However, the terms hide two different products. Wine refrigerator is only the generic term. They are divided into tempering and wine climatic chambers.

A wine temperature control cabinet has multiple climate zones to keep red as well as white wines at their serving temperatures. In most cases, these devices cannot regulate humidity and do not have activated carbon filters to protect the air inside from foreign odors. Wine temperature cabinets are therefore only suitable for longer storage to a limited extent. They are particularly popular in the catering industry, where many wines must be kept directly at serving temperature. After all, guests don’t want to wait an hour for their red wine to reach the right drinking temperature from the climate control cabinet.

Wine climate cabinets (also called storage cabinets) often have only one climate zone. Whether red or white wine, the ideal storage temperature for wine is between 10 and 14 °C at a humidity of approximately 75 to 80 percent. High-quality wine storage cabinets almost always have automatic regulation of humidity and replaceable activated carbon filters that protect wines from foreign odors in the long term.

From how many bottles do I need a storage cr

There are storage and tempering cabinets in a wide range of sizes. While simple units can be obtained for as few as four or six bottles, storage cabinets start at a storage size of 100 and end at around 300 bottles. Exceptions and special designs aside.

If you only want to store a dozen or so wines, but only high-quality ones, you can find out about an external storage option. Some wine merchants offer controlled storage of their own bottles.

However, if you are one of those who have been completely infected by wine fever and your apartment already resembles a wine shop, the purchase of a storage cabinet is worth considering. Anything over 100 bottles a case for the wine storage cabinet. At least when the quality is right.

Specialty store or Internet: Where to buy a wine climate control cabinet?

We don’t dictate whether you buy your wine storage cabinet conveniently online or get advice in a specialty store. However, it is worth looking at a device in the flesh. The dimensions of a wine storage cabinet are often underestimated.

Weight also plays a major role, especially for models with glass door. Such a monster easily weighs over 120 kilos. Anyone who has ever tried to transport such a device to the second or third floor knows what it means to be able to suffer. That’s why, no matter where you buy, we always recommend arranging delivery free to the point of use and leaving the hauling to the experts. If something gets broken in the process, the insurance will take care of it.

Wine climate cabinets are a costly purchase. Decent devices are almost impossible to get hold of below four-digit amounts. For this reason, it is worth comparing prices. The differences from dealer to dealer can quickly amount to a few hundred euros, which is then better invested in wine.

The most important criteria when buying a wine storage cabinet

Power consumption: Your wine climate control cabinet runs around the clock – 365 days a year. So you can’t ignore the operating costs for such a device. Therefore, it is recommended to invest in a climate control cabinet with energy class A (better A+ and above).

The installation site should also be considered. The cooler the room, the less energy has to be used for cooling.

Capacity: The storage capacity of a wine cabinet is expressed in bottles. However, the indication is Bordeaux bottles. Other bottle shapes can drastically reduce storage capacity. By the way, a climate control cabinet loaded with the maximum number of wine bottles requires less energy.

UV-protective glass: You want to store your wines properly and still present them appropriately? Understandably, a wine fridge makes quite a statement in your own home. For this reason, many resort to a storage cabinet with a glass door. In this case, make sure that it is special UV light blocking glass.

Activated carbon filters: Wines that have been stored for decades and sealed by natural cork can absorb odorous substances from the ambient air. For this reason, wine cabinets have built-in activated carbon filters that protect the interior from foreign odors, mold spores and consort. The carbon filters must be replaced regularly.

Ventilation: In school we all learned, “Cold air sinks to the bottom and warm air rises to the top.” In your wine refrigerator, this principle applies as well. Without a fan, a warm zone would develop in the upper part, while the lower wines would be stored too cold. In modern devices, the ventilation can be optionally switched on, which is always recommended for a longer storage period.

Heating: A heater in a refrigerator? What sounds like a joke at first is a useful feature. Not every cabinet is located in a warm living room. Many a wine lover is even said to have installed his climate control cabinet in the garage. It can quickly become frosty here in winter. A climatic cabinet with heart function ensures a constant storage temperature even in such extreme situations.

Volume: If you want to use your new wine refrigerator as living room furniture, you should pay attention to its volume. While wine refrigerators are quieter than kitchen refrigerators in most cases, there are still big differences. Louder than 45 decibels should not be a wine refrigerator for the living room.

Alarm functions: High-quality wine refrigerators and air conditioners warn you if the door is accidentally left open. This function can not only save you money, but also protect your wines from strong temperature fluctuations. Various devices also warn (visually as well as acoustically) in the event of a malfunction, for example if the compressor fails.

Child lock / lock: Even if wine tastes best in company. Children or clever pets must not be allowed to reach the noble drops. A lockable unit is therefore generally recommended and almost always present in high-priced cabinets.

High-quality wine cabinets therefore have a child safety lock that prevents accidental switch-off. This is especially useful if the functions can be adjusted when the door is closed.

Humidification system: insufficient humidity will cause the cork to dry out from the outside. Oxygen enters the bottle, the wine oxidizes. Your noble drop turns into an undrinkable sludge. The longer wine is stored, the closer attention should be paid to the correct humidity. A humidity of approximately 75 percent is considered ideal. Since very few units come with a built-in hydrometer, it is recommended that you purchase one to keep an eye on humidity.

Wine climate cabinet – A worthwhile investment

For those who do not call a dark and cool cellar their own, wine climate cabinets are worth considering. Only high quality wines benefit from storage. If expensive drops spoil due to incorrect storage conditions, this is tantamount to a considerable financial loss.

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