Wine tasting, an age-old practice as it is, used to be an activity meant for aristocrats and royalty, but as society and economy progressed, these rituals have now become a weekend mainstay for middle-class workers and brazen socialites alike. If you are one who is not into those kinds of gatherings but favor a bottle or two now and then, then you should start asking yourself, “Why do I need a wine cooler?” especially if you start seeing unopened bottles left and right.
Wine coolers are not exclusive to wine tasting purposes and vice versa, although you tend to bring home more than a few bottles of wine after a weekend at the vineyard, especially if the wine that they produce is exceptionally good and cheap to boot. This causes the main problem that young wine connoisseurs experience, especially when they are living in a cramped apartment space with no way of extending to build their wine cellar.
Wine coolers solve the problem of maintaining a constant temperature around wine bottles to age them continually and release their flavors. While this appliance has its share of benefits, there are also some questions worth knowing before you go out and purchase your own.
When Is the Best Time to Buy A Wine Cooler?
This strictly depends on where you live and how much space you have. Typically, people who invest in a wine cooler live in small residential spaces in the city, where the weather can get too hot for comfort and can easily affect the taste. If you live in a very hot and dry area, then buying a wine cooler as soon as possible is your best bet to save your bottles from spoiling.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Wine Cooler?
A wine cooler can have a lot of benefits when you look into it, especially if you are using a state-of-the-art model that can control the temperature of your fridge. Some of these benefits include:
- Regulates Temperature
An electric wine cooler can regulate the temperature within its interior through analog or digital controls. Keeping wine under the correct temperature helps with the aging process and ensures that the wine reaches its prime flavor profile before being consumed.
- Prevents UV Rays
Most wine coolers have a darkened or smoked glass door that blocks harmful UV rays, as well as bright lights, from seeping through and heating up the interior. Sudden spikes in temperature caused by these external sources create inconsistency in the flavor and texture of the wine stored inside.
- Maintains Humidity
A wine cooler ensures that there is always humidity present inside it, keeping the cork moist. The moisture inside the corks helps slow down the aging process.
- Keeps Bottles Organized
Racks found inside wine coolers are a great way of arranging your wine bottles, and they offer great support as well.
- Chills Effectively
Probably the best benefit that you can get from a wine cooler is that it chills your wine to the right temperature, letting you savor the flavors as it hits the right notes.
What Are the Different Kinds of Wine Coolers?
A common misconception is that wine coolers look and function in the same way, as most refrigerators do, but that’s not true either. Wine coolers fall into different categories.
Thermoelectric vs. Compressor-based
Thermoelectric wine coolers use a cooling node that generates the cold air that is often passed around the unit by small fans at different speed settings. Meanwhile, compressor-based wine coolers are like traditional refrigerators that come with a compressor at the back that circulates refrigerants through copper coils.
Thermoelectric wine coolers produce less noise and vibration as opposed to compressor-based ones. The former also consume less energy as compared to the latter.
Single Zone vs. Dual Zone
Majority of wine coolers come with a single-zone cooling system, which means the temperature is the same all throughout. Dual-zone cooling systems have two different set of controls that let you set the temperature for white wine and separate the settings for the reds.
Most people who own single-zone wine coolers place their whites on the bottom shelf where it is much cooler as this fits the temperature profile that white wine needs. Both Single- and Dual-Zone systems have their set of benefits, but choosing between the two is mostly based on wine type preference.
Freestanding vs. Built-in
Freestanding wine coolers, as the name suggests, can stand on their own, and these wine coolers can be moved from one area to the next without any problem. Some can even be placed on top or under the counter, depending on the placement of the convenience outlet.
Meanwhile, built-in wine coolers are often designed together with the kitchen and are often located beside the refrigerator for easy access to the water main and a convenience outlet. These are pretty static and are often found in the kitchen or the bar.
What Sets Wine Coolers Apart from a Regular Refrigerator?
Refrigerators offer a wide range of temperature, but it almost always goes below zero degrees, whereas wine coolers cannot go that far. Home refrigerators also tend to remove humidity from the interior to keep everything cool, while wine coolers maintain humidity to keep the corks moist, allowing it to stop the aging process better.
Refrigerators don’t have specialized wine racks, and the pre-installed racks don’t really prevent bottles from rolling to and fro. This movement can affect the taste of the wine. Another difference is that refrigerators get opened a lot, which causes the temperature to fluctuate and for bright lights to flood in, both of which can have dire effects to the wine that you are keeping inside.
How Many Bottles Should a Wine Cooler Fit?
There is no correct answer for this one as it depends on your average consumption. On average, maybe a 10-12 bottle chiller is good, especially if you like having a glass or two before sleeping.
What Other Things Should be Considered?
Here are some of the things you can look at when selecting the wine cooler for your residence:
- Your Living Area
- Size of the Unit
- Temperature and Humidity Control
- Noise and Vibration Level
- User Interface
- Design and Style
So, Why Do I Need a Wine Cooler?
Regardless if you are a wine connoisseur or someone who likes to take wine with everything, having a wine cooler is just like having your wine cellar. It helps you store your wine in a cool, dry place, and it chills them to the right temperature for you to enjoy. So to answer your question, “Why do I need a wine cooler?” It’s because you want to enjoy your wine at the maximum level possible.