Like all natural and prerishable produce, wine reacts to its environment, which is why a wine cabinet can be so important for anyone who wants to store their wine well and manage its maturity and character improving the aroma, flavour and complexity, whether that's for a week, a year or a couple of decades.
Bottles should always be stored on their side so that the wine is in contact with the cork. This keeps the cork moist and ensures a good air seal for the bottle, preventing oxidation and immediate ageing of the wine. Ullage is the gap between the cork and the wine in the bottle when it is upright. Wine benefits best from side storage if the level of the wine is at least to the upper shoulder of the bottle when upright.
As important as what the temperature is, is consistency. If the temperature goes up and down, the organic components in the wine can be affected. The cork can shrink or swell too especially in older wines with less elastic corks.
Most of COLTEK wine cooler models are fitted with either dual heaters or a PTC heater to raise the internal temperature of the cabinet should the surrounding temperature fall considerably. This keeps a steady temperature, regardless of how hot or cold it is in the room outside. The air inside the cabinet is also fan-circulated to ensure that the temperature distribution is consistent throughout.
The perfect condition for long term storage of your collection is a relative humidity of 65%. But somewhere between 55% and 80% is fine. Low humidity levels dry out the side of the cork in contact with the air which allows oxygen through to the wine, and also allows wine to seep into the cork. High humidity levels cause mold which can produce damaging odours and can destroy labels.
It is difficult to control humidity, but wine coolers (fridges, cabinets) with fan-circulated system help. In a humid environment, air circulation is vital to keep humidity consistency and prevent bacterial growth. Mold deteriorates corks and also causes damaging odour. Strong smelling components and foods can penetrate a weak cork and change a wine's character. In a wine cooler with fan-circulated system, the cool air is fan circulated, and vented through the base plinth of most models to discourage bacterial growth and odours by introducing a continual fresh air supply.
Too much vibration can disturb a wine's sediment balance. Suspended sediments occur naturally as the wine ages and it is possible for vibration to turn them back into liquid form which is counterproductive. Vibrations can also break down the molecular structure of a wine's chemical components. The cooling mechanism within the cabinets is a high quality low-vibration compressor, fitted with an anti-vibration rubber gasket. This provides an efficient, no-frost system.
Ultraviolet light causes premature ageing of wine by degrading the otherwise stable organic compounds, especially the tannins. It's a condition known as "Light Strike" and it can affect the aroma, flavour and wine structure, leaving some wines tasting and smelling like garlic or wet wool. So it's best to keep your wine in the dark, especially if it is in clear or pale glass bottles, or if you are storing sparkling wines. Avoid sunlight and fluorescent lighting in particular, as these both contain the particularly damaging wavelengths of ultraviolet light below 400nm.
LED (white or blue) lighting in COLTEK wine cooler is not only extremely eye-catching and stylish, it is also a practical choice for wine storage as it is completely ultraviolet free. Another benefit of LED lighting, is that it has no heat output so the temperature of the wine is not affected either.
How to choose your wine cooler
Before selecting a cabinet it's important to think about what you'll be using it for and where you want to keep it.
Caple wine cabinets can be kept almost anywhere in the house - the kitchen, utility, garage or basement, or even in an under stairs cupboard - as long as the place you choose is weatherproof with a normal domestic electrical supply, and an ambient temperature of between 5C and 35C.
All you need is a conventional domestic electricity supply. Your Caple cabinet starts changing temperature to the pre-set selection immediately. It can easily be moved from house to house, or room to room.
Start by asking yourself why you are collecting wine. Is it for drinking soon, to save for a special occasion or to keep as an investment? Your reasons will determine how many different temperature zones you need. So, too, will the kind of wine you plan to store. Are you buying Red, White, Ros or Sparkling Wines, or a mix of more than one kind? How many bottles do you want to keep? Do you want something neat and compact or something more substantial?
Our range includes low-level models which can be built-in within kitchen cabinets, beneath worktop height. This creates a seamless look, with matching plinth heights and convenient sizes for kitchen planning. If you need more flexibility, why not choose a freestanding option instead? The perfect focal point for a room.
Consider the number of temperature zones you require. Of course, the advantage of separate zones is that you can accommodate collections that need to be stored at different temperatures, for instance to keep red and white wine at serving temperature, or to store and serve white wine. Wine ageing involves a complex series of chemical reactions. Fine wine, especially, can be very fragile.
The perfect cellar temperature for storing any wine for a length of time is 13-15C. This temperature provides the perfect balance between making the most of the complex organic ester reactions which give wine character and minimizing complex biochemical compounds which ruin taste. If the temperature is too high, the wine can separate or it can cook. If it's too low, deposits can form, or it can freeze.
Different wines need to be served at different temperatures. Rich and full-bodied reds should be served at 15-18C; light reds at 12-14C; whites and ros at 7-14C, and sparkling wines at 6-9°C. As a rule of thumb, red wines can be poured directly from storage, whereas white wines should really be chilled before being opened.
All zones across the Caple wine cabinet range offer a full temperature range of 5-18°C, to accommodate any such use.
15C and 70% humidity is also the perfect condition for cigars, and a cooler temperature of 5C is ideal for chilling beer when the fridge is full.
Wine Cooler (Fridge) Buying Guide:
Although the world of wine accessories continues to evolve with the growth of exciting new trends, at least one thing in our space has remained a constant: A wine cooler is the best way to ensure your wine is stored properly, protecting your investments and enhancing the flavor of your wine. At COLTECH we are proud of our expertise in development and manufacturing of wine cooler. We are the leading manufacturer reliable supplier of high-end wine coolers, bar fridges. We know the purchase of a wine refrigerator can be a daunting task with a growing number of technologically advanced features and even more price points, which is why we've surveyed our team to find the most common questions and concerns our customers have:
CAPACITY - What Bottle Count Do I Need?
Though this certainly varies from customer to customer, all of our consultants agree that when purchasing a wine cooler you typically want to get a unit that is a bit bigger than your current capacity. For example, if your current collection is 50 bottles, you shouldn't limit yourself to a 50-bottle unit; More often than not we've found that people want to be able to grow their collection, so we tend to recommend units with 25-50% more capacity than the current collection - sometimes up to 2-3 times more capacity depending on the goals of the customer.
COLTECH Expert Tip: When thinking about what bottle count is right for you, make sure to account for the growth of your collection in the future, not just what you have on hand today.
LOCATION - Built-in? Countertop? Freestanding? What Impact Does Location Have?
Where the wine storage unit will go in the home is a major factor in the selection process. If you are planning on getting a small unit to put on your counter top, our team will usually recommend a low capacity thermoelectric unit that doesn't take up a lot of space and is very quiet and efficient. This concept also applies for any non built-in applications in your kitchen or even your dining room. The smaller thermoelectric units are a great combination of efficiency and value and can store wines for up to two years.
If you are building the unit into your cabinetry you are going to want a unit that has a compressor and front venting fans on the bottom. These units are perfect for replacing an old trash compactor or dishwasher (depending on the size of the opening) and because they are compressor driven, they will be able to get down to cooler temperatures and will last a bit longer than their thermoelectric counterparts.
COLTECH Expert Tip: Remember that most freestanding units will require about 2-3" clearance around the entire unit for ventilation. Also make sure to note where the door hinge will be located so that you avoid blocking the door from opening all the way on one side of the unit. Thankfully most doors are reversible and only need to open about 90 degrees in order for the shelves to roll out or to access the wine.
TEMPERATURE CONTROL - Do I Need Two Temperature Zones For Storing Red And White Wines?
This is one of the most common questions our team receives - and the answer is almost always the same: The only real purpose of having two cooling zones is to have a section where you can keep white or red wine at serving temperature. This is because all wine (red, white, champagne, port, etc) should be stored at 13C (55F) degrees and 55-75% relative humidity. So a single zone unit is perfect if you plan on aging all of your wines in one unit. If, however, you would like the ability to have the proper service temperature for white (5C-10C; 42F-50F) or red (13C-18C; 56F-65F), then a dual zone unit will be a perfect fit.
TEMPERATURE CONTROL - Is Temperature Range Important? What About Digital Controls?
Temperature range is only important if you are looking to serve out of your wine storage unit. All units will be able to be set between 50 and 60 degrees, since 13C (55F) degrees is the proper storage temperature for all wine. The only reason you would have to set it lower or higher than those parameters would be for service needs.
When it comes to control options, digital controls allow a much more accurate temperature setting and read out for your wine cooler. This is very important for units that are being used for longer-term storage to avoid temperature fluctuation. Analog controls work just fine for short-term storage, since small fluctuations will not have a major impact.
SHELFING - I Have Large Bottles of Pinot and Chardonnay - What Type Of Shelving Should I Look For?
There are a number of different types of shelves that come with wine storage units. The basic thermoelectric models typically have wire or metal shelving. These shelves can be pulled out of the units, but are not sliding or rolling.
They are meant to hold standard 750 ML Bordeaux size bottles, but do have the capability of holding some larger sized 750 ML bottles as well, though larger bottles will take up more room and lower capacity.
Certain wooden cabinets will have actual wood shelves, or racks, inside the cabinets to hold the wine. These systems can be quite sturdy, however the shelving is typically fixed once set up and installed in the unit.
Many larger units have removable shelves, so if you have some bigger format bottles you need to store, you can simply remove a shelf as needed.
COLTECH Expert Tip: Try to create a system for organizing your wines to minimize confusion. Our team recently shared their tips and tricks for organizing wine, including sorting by varietal, by region, or even by price.
OTHER FEATURES - What About Locks, Lights and Warranties?
Although these questions are less common, we do find a number of customers who are interested in very specific features.
When it comes to locking your wine storage unit, we understand that protection from your children or from burglary can be a top concern. The good news is that most units come standard with locks, aside from some of the smaller thermoelectric units.
Wine refrigerator lighting is available in certain cellars and can help to showcase or display your collection. If your unit is in a well-lit area you will be able to see what is inside your wine cooler, however with display lighting you can make the wine cooler itself a showcase piece wherever it may be in the house.
Like any other appliance, the warranty is also a smart precautionary measure to take in the rare occasion that something goes wrong with the unit. Warranties are relatively inexpensive when compared to the cost of the unit and possible repair costs, so as a matter of insurance and covering your investment they are typically worth the purchase. However, units can be repaired or serviced without the warranty as well.