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Types Of Wine Coolers

Thinking about adding a wine coolers to your kitchen? Need ideas or tips on which one to purchase? We have prepared this buyers guide to help you compare features and styles of our most popular wine coolers, so you can chose the one that is right for your wine collection. While wine coolers come in a wide array of versatile options and designs, consider what option will benefit you the most.

Single And Multiple Zone Wine Coolers

  • Single Zone Wine Coolers: Having a wine collection does not mean spending lots of money to keep it properly chilled. If you collect a specific type or color of wine, a single zone wine cooler is the perfect solution. A single zone wine cooler chills the entire cooler at one, steady temperature. They are generally less expensive since they are a unit dedicated to one wine type. A single zone wine refrigerator can still sport the popular features of dual or triple-zone coolers, such as digital temperature displays. Thermoelectric cooling is becoming more and more popular among single zone coolers to help keep vibrations at a minimum and maintain silent operation.

  • Dual Zone Wine Coolers: If you plan to have an expanding wine collection, a dual zone wine cooler is the best choice for you. Dual zone wine coolers can chill two separate zones within the same unit. Airflow at one temperature circulates in one area, chilling wine at one temperature, while another zone circulates air at a different temperature that is proper for storing another type of wine. This is perfect for reds and wines, since they have different serving temperatures.
    A dual zone wine cooler can function as a single zone unit, with the same temperature kept even in both zones, when you're ready you can swap out your reds in one zone, to chill whites instead. These are versatile solutions to wine tasters who wish to have an array of their favorites at their fingertips.

Wine Cooler Configuration

  • Built-In Wine Coolers: A built-in wine cooler is the key to subtle wine storage. Built-In wine coolers are designed to fit conveniently into the cabinetry. Many come with custom panels to further blend your wine refrigerator into the woodwork. A built-in unit still boasts the versatility of multiple storage options such as dual and triple zones. Investing in a built-in wine refrigerator is a great space saver as well. Since they are designed to fit into spare space between cabinets, you do not have to sacrifice an area of the outdoor kitchen as you would with a freestanding unit.

  • Freestanding Wine Coolers: Freestanding wine coolers provide a 'movable' approach to wine storage. Since these units are not designed to the measurements of typical built-in units, they can be taller or wider to house more wine. Freestanding units will require adequate space for proper ventilation. Keeping a freestanding unit against a wall may result in a fire hazard. Freestanding units often contain ventilation in the back, rather than in the front like built-in units. Freestanding wine refrigerators can range in size from fitting on your countertop, to standing solo in a desired storage area.

Wine Refrigerator Capacity Range

  • Small Capacity Wine Coolers: When investing in a wine cooler, consider bottle capacity. Small wine coolers will usually cost less than larger ones, and if you're into saving space then going with a smaller unit would help space conservation in your wine storage area. Smaller wine refrigerators will have a lower bottle capacity, which may be perfect for the wine consumer looking to protect a specific, favorite collection. A 10 - 40 bottle capacity is usually the maximum for a smaller, more space-friendly wine storage unit.

  • Large Capacity Wine Coolers: If you are planning on storing many bottles at once, you need to consider a large wine cooler. A wine cooler with a high capacity wine rack structure can store anywhere from 70 - 150 bottles, and often features adjustable or removable wine racks to accommodate various bottle sizes. Larger wine coolers take up more room, but provide a great way to store large sums of wine.

Wine Chill Chart

Read the chill chart below for an easy guide to storage temperatures for different wine types. Print it out and take it with you when you purchase your next wine cooler or bottle of wine to determine if you have the cooling temperatures to properly preserve the wines you love to drink.

Champagne, Sparkling and Dessert Wines: 40°F
Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio: 45-48°F
Chardonnay and Chablis 48-52°F
Red sparkling wines: 50-54°F
Beaujolais and Pinot Noir: 60-64°F
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz: 64-66°F

How Should Wine Be Stored?

Properly storing wine bottles is essential to anyone who loves to collect and drink their favorite wines. Here are some tips for properly storing your wine:

  • Wine storage temperatures will depend on the wine type. See our chart above for different storage temperatures.
  • To ensure that the best tasting wine evolves from your collection, wine should be stored away from extreme heat or extreme cold.
  • UV light can cause wine to age improperly and upsets the storing process. Green wine bottles do not properly redirect UV rays, so you should try and store your wine out of direct sunlight.
  • Re-cork with a drip-free cork before storing your wine away in a cooler as some wine coolers require the sideways storage of wine bottles. Make sure your cork is sealed tightly or invest in a specialized drip-free cork to protect your wine cooler from wine stains.
  • If you're planning on storing wider or longer wine bottles than the average measurement, you may want to invest in a wine cooler that features an adjustable or removable wine rack design. Larger bottles tend to take up storage space meant for two regular-sized wine bottles. Having more room at the bottom, or removable wine racks for standing bottles will help you to store varied bottle sizes.

To learn more about storing wine, check out our How to Store and Serve Wine article.

How Does Humidity Affect Wine?

Maintaining the proper humidity within your wine cooler is an important part of keeping your collection tasting and looking its best. If the humidity is too low it can cause the wine cork to dry out and shrink. A cork with too low humidity allows air along with food odors inside the wine bottle, making the wine taste less attractive. At least 50% humidity is required in the wine storage zone to prevent corks from drying out, shrinking or cracking. Some wine coolers with humidity control include a plastic container that you fill with water and place within the wine cooler to maintain a certain level of humidity. The proper level of humidity within a wine cooler should be between 50-80%, anything less than 40% is too low.