Wine Coolers? Why not simply put your wine in the kitchen fridge to get it cold?
Whether you’ve decided to start a wine collection of exquisite vintages or you just want to put more effort into home parties, keeping wine at the right temperature is essential. Ideally, wine should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. The space that best meets these criteria is a traditional wine cellar, but, unless you’re one of the lucky few who have space for such a room, you’re probably looking for alternatives.
Putting wine bottles in the fridge is the solution that often comes to mind. Why should you bother to invest in a special wine cooler if you already have the kitchen fridge? Well actually, if you want to enjoy the bouquet and aroma of every wine in your collection, the fridge isn’t such a good idea. Here’s why:
Your fridge just doesn’t have the right storage conditions for wine
From wine collectors to casual wine enthusiasts, most people know that room temperature isn’t recommended for storing and consuming wine. It’s too warm for wine preservation, making it age quicker, giving it that strong alcohol taste. If you’ve ever sipped from a glass of wine at room temperature and winced at how dull and vinegary it tasted, that was the warm temperature messing with its chemistry.
But the kitchen fridge isn’t better either – not in the long run, at least. Ideally, wine should be stored between 45 F to 60 F, and humidity levels should be kept between 70-90%. Meanwhile, the average refrigerator is set between 35 F to 38 F, and humidity at 30%. These values are simply too low, and you won’t be able to enjoy the taste of the wine to the fullest.
Your fridge might even ruin the taste as much as room temperature does because the cold dries up the cork. This gives wine that pungent, musty smell instead of letting it reveal its rich aroma. In addition, the cold prevents the wine from revealing its full aroma and instead you’ll only feel the acidity.
Then there are the fridge vibrations, which might seem imperceptible to us, but which affect the wine’s chemistry and its aging process. Whenever the compressor turns itself on, when the ice maker makes ice, or you use the water dispenser, the fridge generates small vibrations that interfere with the aging process.
On the other hand, wine coolers were designed specifically for storing wine at optimum levels. They’re neither too warm nor too cold, and they don’t remove the humidity as they cool. You can even set temperature and humidity yourself. They maintain the proper taste of the wine, protecting your collection at the same time. This way, they don’t age too fast or too slowly, and they can stay in a protected environment until that special occasion comes up.
In the end, storing the wine in the fridge does it a disservice. No matter how much you spend on a bottle of wine, it won’t pay off if you store or serve it in the wrong conditions.
The kitchen fridge isn’t practical
When storing your wine, you want to maintain its taste and quality as much as possible, but you obviously want to maintain its integrity too. Unfortunately, fridges aren’t exactly practical. Finding space for wine bottles on top of the usual foods and drinks often leads to a frustrating game of Tetris where everything ends up on top of each other.
Because of space constraints, most people store wine bottles vertically on the fridge door, but experts don’t recommend keeping the wine upright. Ideally, wine should be in contact with the cork at all times to preserve moisture. If not, the cork dries and you get that strong musty taste we talked about earlier. You might then be wondering why supermarkets and grocery stores keep the wine bottles upright. However, keep in mind that stores rotate their stock regularly and wine usually sells quickly.
Every wine connoisseur knows that each wine has different storage requirements and that white wine and red wine age differently. If red wine can be kept in storage for years, accentuating its flavor, white wine should usually be uncorked soon after buying it. This is also why experts recommend storing white wines below 45°F. A fridge doesn’t allow you to set different temperatures and meet all your storage requirements. However, you can get a dual or tri-zone wine cooler. This way, you’ll be able to set different temperatures and both your whites and your reds will be preserved properly.
Do you want to store more than wine? No problem! Beer can also be kept in the wine cooler because its storing requirements are similar to the ones of red wine. You can even add non-alcoholic drinks in it, such as iced tea, soda, and bottled water.
Your wine collection deserves better
So, you’re a lover of all things wine and you’re thinking of upgrading from $10 supermarket wine to rarer and more interesting varieties. In the same way as you would allocate an entire shelf or a special space in the house for a doll, vinyl, or comic book collection, you should do the same for a wine collection, which is all the more refined and exquisite. In a way, a wine cooler can be a status symbol. It shows that you don’t just buy wine and treat it like your average groceries. It shows that you are a connoisseur of the art of winemaking, you understand the chemistry of good wine, you pay attention to details and you respect this sophisticated drink. And did we mention that a wine collection stored in a wine cooler is an excellent conversation starter?