Should You Get A Wine Cooler For Your Kitchen?
Including a wine cooler in a new kitchen is one of the most wished-for items amongst my kitchen design clients. And for good reason!
According to Lunzer Wine: In the United Kingdom, 71.2% of adults consume alcohol at least once a week, with white wine being the most popular choice for 21.8% of people surveyed who drink it weekly.
In this post, I’ll explain what a wine cooler is, why you might want one as well and explore its pros and cons.
Let’s get into it!
In a hurry? Here’s my key takeaway:
🍷 A wine cooler preserves wine at optimal conditions, saves fridge space, and enhances aesthetics. It can be a practical addition for wine lovers, balancing cost, design, and functionality.
Read on to learn more…
What is a wine cooler?
A wine cooler (wine fridge or wine conditioning unit) is a refrigeration unit designed specifically for storing wine.
Unlike regular refrigerators, wine coolers provide a stable temperature and humidity level, which are crucial for preserving the flavour and quality of the wine.
They often feature adjustable shelves to accommodate bottles of various sizes and are designed to minimize vibrations, which can disturb the sediment in wine.
Wine coolers can range from small units that hold a few bottles to large, sophisticated systems capable of storing extensive collections.
They are popular among wine enthusiasts for their ability to maintain optimal conditions for wine storage and ageing.
Why Would You Want A Wine Cooler In Your Kitchen Design?
If you are a wine drinker, especially if you are a wine connoisseur, having a dedicated wine cooler to store your bottles is often a must-have.
Firstly, it provides a dedicated space for your wine collection, freeing up valuable space in your main refrigerator.
Wine coolers are designed to maintain optimal temperature settings, tailored specifically for wine storage.
This precise temperature control is pivotal in preserving the integrity and flavour profile of different wines, whether they are red, white, or sparkling.
Another significant advantage of wine coolers is their built-in features to protect the wine.
Many models offer vibration and UV light resistance, safeguarding the wine from external elements that could potentially compromise its quality.
This is particularly important for ageing wines, where consistent conditions are essential for proper development.
Lastly, the cost-effectiveness of wine coolers is often overlooked. They can be surprisingly affordable, sometimes even more cost-effective than regular kitchen cabinets of equivalent size.
In fact, at my previous workplace, a 30cm wine cooler was less expensive than a 30cm kitchen cabinet.
Now, they were solid wood cabinets, and it was an unbranded wine cooler (more budget-friendly), so this isn’t always the case, but it’s worth comparing and seeing if works in your favour.
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Can’t I Just Use My Fridge?
Yes, using your regular fridge to store wine is, of course, an option, but it comes with several limitations compared to a dedicated wine cooler.
Standard refrigerators operate at a single, uniform temperature, generally much colder than the ideal for most wines. This one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t accommodate the specific temperature needs of different wine types.
The optimal temperatures for different types of wine are:
- Red wine is best stored at around 55-65°F (13-18°C).
- White wine and rosé prefer cooler temperatures, typically around 49-55°F (9-13°C).
- Sparkling wines and champagne require even cooler temperatures, generally between 41-47°F (5-8°C).
Wine coolers can provide precise, consistent temperatures, perfect for storing wines under their ideal conditions. Especially a dual-zone wine cooler. These allow for the storage of red and white wines at their respective ideal temperatures simultaneously.
Something your fridge definitely can’t do!
In a regular fridge, wine bottles are more prone to being jostled or knocked about, which can disturb the sediment in the wine and potentially affect its quality. The constant vibration from a standard refrigerator can also be detrimental to the ageing process of wine.
Another consideration is the issue of odours. Wine, particularly those with cork closures, can absorb smells from strong-scented foods in the fridge, which may alter the wine’s flavour and aroma.
Pros Of A Wine Cooler
- Optimal Wine Preservation: Maintains ideal temperature and humidity for different types of wines.
- Space Efficiency: Frees up space in your main refrigerator.
- Dual Temperature Zones: Allows for storing red and white wines at their respective ideal temperatures. (Model dependent)
- Enhanced Aesthetics: Adds a sophisticated touch to your kitchen design. (If I do say so myself)
- Protection from Light and Vibration: Keeps wine safe from environmental factors that can degrade its quality.
- Convenience: Easy access to perfectly chilled wine, ready for serving.
- Cost: It can be more affordable than standard kitchen cabinets of similar size. (Depending on the appliance and cabinet brands)
- Improved Organization: Dedicates a specific area for wine storage, keeping your kitchen more organized.
- Versatility for All Beverage Preferences: Suitable not only for wine enthusiasts but also casual drinkers and even non-drinkers. Beyond wine, it can efficiently store beer, soft drinks, and other beverages.
Cons Of A Wine Cooler
- Cost: Adding a wine cooler to your kitchen represents an additional financial outlay. It’s an investment beyond standard appliances and cabinetry, which can impact your overall kitchen renovation or design budget.
- Space Requirement: A wine cooler needs its own space within your kitchen layout. This means you have to allocate a specific area for it, which could potentially reduce the space available for other kitchen elements or storage.
- Energy Use: Like any electrical appliance, a wine cooler will increase your home’s energy consumption. This can lead to higher electricity bills and a larger carbon footprint.
- Limited Use for Non-Drinkers: For households that don’t regularly consume wine or other beverages, a wine cooler might not be a practical investment. Its specialized use could be underutilized in such scenarios.
- Maintenance: To ensure its longevity and optimal performance, a wine cooler requires regular cleaning and occasional servicing. This adds to the routine maintenance tasks in your home.
- Bottle Capacity Variance: The bottle count provided by manufacturers often doesn’t account for larger bottle sizes like Champagne and Burgundy, which occupy more space. This means the actual capacity may be less than advertised for varied collections.
Where to put A wine fridge in A kitchen?
Deciding where to place a wine fridge in a kitchen depends on various factors, including design and functionality.
While they can technically go anywhere with power access, freestanding models should be placed thoughtfully due to their visual impact.
Positioning them at the end of counter runs or on kitchen islands can help integrate them more seamlessly into the kitchen’s design.
If your kitchen has a dedicated drinks area or bar, that’s an ideal location. Something that’s definitely becoming more popular these days!
Alternatively, I’ll often situate a wine fridge on the periphery of the kitchen layout.
This allows easy access for guests without them having to enter the main work area, maintaining the kitchen’s flow and functionality.
Are wine coolers worth it?
Determining if a wine cooler is worth it depends on your specific needs and interests.
If you’re a wine enthusiast or connoisseur and often find your fridge crowded with bottles, and your kitchen design accommodates it without sacrificing essential storage, then investing in a wine cooler is likely a wise decision.
A wine cooler is not just a luxury; it’s a practical addition for anyone serious about their wine collection.
However, if your kitchen can’t fit a wine cooler, if you need the space for other storage, or if you’re not a frequent wine drinker, then a wine cooler might not be a necessary addition to your home.
Essentially, it boils down to how much you value dedicated wine storage and if it aligns with your lifestyle and kitchen space.
What temp should A Wine cooler be?
Around 55°F (13°C) for red wines and 49-55°F (9-13°C) for white and rosé wines. Sparkling wines and champagne should be stored even cooler, at 41-47°F (5-8°C).
can a wine cooler be used as a fridge?
Not ideally, as it’s designed for specific temperatures suitable for wine, which are generally higher than those needed for food preservation.
can a wine cooler be used for beer?
Yes, beer can be stored in a wine cooler, but the temperature might not be optimal for all beer types.
can a wine cooler be used for soda?
Yes, you can store soda in a wine cooler, although the temperature settings are more aligned with wine preservation than chilling soda to typical refrigerator temperatures.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.