A wine cooler is an appliance that is designed for the purpose of storing wine. You may be wondering why you can’t just use a regular fridge. Well, first of all, regular fridges are usually full of food, which can not only take up space but cause your wine collection to smell. If you’re a wine collector, you don’t want your collection to smell of onions or sprouts, do you?
Also, chances are, you open your food fridge door multiple times per day. Depending on where your fridge is located, this could expose your wine to sunlight if you decide to store your wine in there. Opening your fridge regularly could also affect the internal temperature, which is why it’s always better to buy a wine fridge. Your regular refrigerator may not also have the right humidity levels to store your wine, so the cork may slip out of place or the labels could dampen. Regular fridges may not also be the right temperature for your wine - typically, your fridge should be set to 3°C to 5°C, whereas your wine collection should be stored at slightly higher temperatures.
Wine coolers are designed to store your wine in an optimal way, taking into account storage factors such as temperature, sunlight, humidity, and sometimes even movement and aromas. Typically, wine coolers will maintain a temperature of between 11°C to 15°C, but you should be able to adjust this yourself using a control panel. Some wine coolers will feature dual or multiple temperature zones instead of just a single temperature zone. This means that you can store your reds, whites, and sparkling wines at separate temperatures, or you can have wine prepared to be served at one temperature, and have other bottles stored in the long term at another temperature.
Wine coolers also protect your wine from sunlight - specifically the harmful UV rays found in sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can cause your wine to undergo unwanted and irreversible chemical reactions that can negatively affect the way your wine tastes, smells, and looks. Wine coolers will either have a solid door to keep out all sunlight, or a glass door that has been UV-treated to protect your wine from UV light.
Another thing that wine coolers do in order to store your wine in the best possible way is regulate the humidity levels. If your storage space doesn’t have enough humidity, then the cork could dry out and slip out of place, exposing your wine to oxygen. Some wine coolers will work to eliminate any unwanted aromas by using a charcoal filter. You may want to opt for a wine cooler with a charcoal filter if you plan on storing your wine for long periods of time.
Wine coolers come in three main designs - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated. Under-counter wine coolers usually have a built-in design, although some under-counter wine coolers may be fully integrated if they are completely enclosed in cabinet space.
Freestanding wine coolers are designed to stand freely and aren’t suitable to be stored under kitchen counters. When placing a freestanding wine cooler, you should leave a few inches of space around the sides and rear of the unit, as well as around 12 inches of space above the unit for ventilation.
An under-counter wine cooler is designed to be installed under counter space. You may be familiar with under-counter fridges or freezers - well, under-counter wine coolers are designed to be installed in a similar way. Under-counter wine coolers are a type of built-in wine cooler, as they’re designed to be built into your kitchen space - more specifically, underneath your kitchen counter. Typically, they measure around 82cm in height and 50cm in width. However, you can find wider under-counter wine fridges that can store more bottles of wine, which is ideal if you have a medium or large wine collection.
Before purchasing a built-in wine cooler, make sure that you double-check the measurements of the cooler and accurately measure the space under your kitchen counter. Ensure that there’s enough space for your wine cooler, and don’t forget to measure the depth. If you don’t measure the depth accurately, then your under-counter wine fridge may stick out of place - which can not only look bad but can be inconvenient. Some under-counter wine coolers may have a special width - you can find wine coolers with such a small width that they can only store one bottle per shelf, and others that can store around 10 bottles per shelf.
Under-counter wine coolers are super convenient as they store your wine in the perfect place. All you need to do is reach below the counter, grab a bottle of wine, place it on the counter and get serving! This is sure to save you plenty of time and energy. Wine cellars may provide the perfect conditions for wine storage, but do you really want to be going up and down the stairs every time you want a bottle of wine when you can simply reach under your kitchen counter?