23 Sep Common Features of Wine Refrigerators
A wine refrigerator is a good investment for a serious wine connoisseur. You can’t just store wine bottles anywhere and expect them to be good 5 years down the road when you decide to pop the cork and sample some of it. It needs to be kept at a consistent temperature and humidity level. Yes, humidity is important too. If it is too low your corks will dry out and crumble when you open the bottle. Here are a few common features of wine refrigerators that can help you decide when buying one.
Long-term wine storage requires the wine to be kept at a consistent temperature for optimal flavor and presentation. Wine refrigerators come in a variety of shapes and sizes so there are many options to choose from. Some common features you can expect to see are:
- Multiple Temperature Zones
Different kinds of wines need to be stored at different temperatures. Wine refrigerators often have multiple temperature zones so each wine can be stored at its optimal best. The under-counter refrigerators will usually have two, while the taller ones often have three separate zones. A full-bodied rose` tastes so much better when it is stored at the right temperature.
- Tinted Glass
Sunlight filtering in through windows can cause your wine to go bad. When purchasing a wine refrigerator, look for one with tinted or UV protected glass. Wine, like other things that get better with age, are best stored in a cool, dark place away from the heat of the sun which can cause your wine to sour.
If you will have your wine refrigerator in an open area it is a good idea to get one with tempered glass because it is stronger than regular glass, and resists breaking if it is accidentally bumped or hit. In commercial areas like restaurant kitchens this is recommended because high traffic areas are prone to accidents. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Vibration Reduction
In the old days, wine was stored in basements where there was less chance of it being jostled or shaken. If the wine is shaken or disturbed it can negatively impact its flavor. Wine barrels could also be stored in a cave because even in an earthquake (Southern California area), there is no vibration. The drawback to most refrigerators is that they vibrate when running. Look for a wine refrigerator with reduced vibration.
- Humidity Control
Normally we like to avoid humidity because it makes us hot and sweaty, but in the case of wine refrigerators, some humidity is a good thing. Why is that? Wine bottles have cork stoppers and if the indoor temperature is too dry it will dry out the cork and that can affect the flavor and taste of the wine itself. Wine refrigerators equipped with humidity control will keep the temperature evenly balanced and prevent the cork from becoming too dry.
Interior LED Lighting
Opening the door of a refrigerator turns on the light so you can easily find what you’re looking for. The problem is that most regular light bulbs give off heat when in use and that is not a good thing in a place where you store your wine. LED lighting, which stands for light-emitting diode, does not give off heat and is a better option for wine refrigerators. How can you tell is the lights are LED? They eemit a blue color when in use.
If you are the parent of children or teenagers, one feature that is a must-have is a safety lock. It is not included on all refrigerators but some do have them and if you have children around you’ll want to make sure they cannot gain access to the contents of your under-counter refrigerator. A good sturdy lock will keep your wine safe from curious teens and children who might be tempted to play in there. It will also keep it safe from theft in the event your house is ever robbed.
This is not a common feature, but it is available with some models. Carbon filters do the same job as baking soda in your house refrigerator. They keep odors from getting into your wine and spoiling its delicate flavor. If you can find an under-counter refrigerator with one of these filters you only need to change them every 4 – 6 months. They are very easy maintenance and protect your wine from nasty odors.
These features are common and you will find them on many models, but not all. It is best to do some research and find the ones that have the features you want. These are just a few of the best features to get when purchasing one for your wine collection.