There are many essential domestic appliances that no sensible householder would want to be without. From hobs and ovens to cooker hoods, fridges and freezers, coffee makers, laundry equipment and much more, the modern kitchen has solutions for everything. But do you really need a wine cooler?
The answer, of course, depends on whether you love wine enough to justify the additional storage. If you’re a keen wine connoisseur or collector, you may decide that incorporating a dedicated wine chiller into your classic or contemporary kitchen design makes perfect sense. So, what exactly are the benefits?
Essentially, it all comes down to temperature and humidity. Professional wine storage relies on the right conditions to ensure that the cork doesn’t dry out and mould doesn’t grow. In a good quality wine chiller, you should be able to adjust the humidity and air ventilation controls so that your precious bottles are kept in perfect condition during storage.
Depending on the types of wine in your collection, different temperature settings will be needed to achieve the correct storage conditions. White wine should be served at 7-10C while red wine is best served at 10-18C. Champagne must be served chilled at a temperature of 6-11C.
There’s a choice of single-zone wine fridges that are designed for the long-term storage of one type of wine, and dual-zone wine cooling appliances that offer two temperatures – more convenient for storing mixed wines that have different temperature requirements.
Wine fridges usually have transparent glass doors that are specifically designed to keep your bottles stored in just the right conditions. The cheaper, entry-model wine coolers typically have fixed shelving but you may find it more convenient to have angled shelving for easier viewing and retrieving of a bottle. Ideally, go for a wine fridge with adjustable shelving in chrome or wood.
Finally, when it comes to size, opt for a smaller chiller for bottles that are ready to serve. The more serious wine collector, on the other hand, is advised to go for a larger, 60- or 120-bottle wine cooler.