Wine comes in all sorts of different styles, and in an almost infinite number if vintages. One thing all collectors need to consider however is their storage in wine coolers.
While in times gone by wine collections were frequently stored in large dedicated underground wine cellars, times have changed. Most homes do not have this type of room – let us face it, they are an expensive luxury – and must look to alternative wine storage solutions.
The three factors of most importance to wine storage are temperature, humidity and light. Any wine cooler purchased for the long-term storage of wine should ideally control all these items.
Wine Cooler Temperature
One widely favored temperature for wine storage is to keep the bottles at 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Historically underground wine storage in France was performed in caves where the natural temperature was roughly this level. This suggests that regional customs are a large part of what have determined this temperature preference for modern collectors.
Research indicates however that these customs do have a solid scientific basic. As wine storage temperatures rise to 60 degrees F or higher, chemical reactions within wines accelerate. While this may seem like a great way to accelerate the aging of wines, it also greatly increases the rate of undesirable reactions that can damage the quality of the vintage.
Wine Cooler Humidity
Most collectors believe that the best relative humidity for bottles of wine is about 70 percent. A wine cooler that controls humidity at these levels is thus a great choice for the storage of wines.
When relative humidity drops below this level, a bottle of wine drops below this level cork shrinkage can occur due to the lack of moisture. This leads to an increase in ullage – the distance between the cork and the wine.
Once a bottles cork starts to shrink oxygen can leak into the wine bottle, and the resulting oxidation can result in wine starting the conversion to acid. This is what causes the vinegar taste experienced in some bottles.
Wine Cooler Light
Exposure of wine bottles to ultraviolet (UV) light is something that should be avoided at all costs. UV light can cause degradation of organic compounds present in a bottle of wine. This has the effect of changing the flavor and aroma of the wine, potentially ruining a great vintage.
The benefit of a wine refrigerator is that they easily allow for control of the lighting. The simplest solution is to have no light at all – replicating wine cellar conditions. However, many buyers prefer a glass fridge for the storage of their wine, as these allow them to view their collection.
If a beverage center of the glass door refrigerator style is to be purchased it is wise to select a model that incorporates a UV filter in the glass. This will allow the wine coolers contents to be easily viewable, but at the same time protects them from the damage that would be done by ultra-violet radiation.
Overall wine coolers are available with a wide variety of different quality. If you are a collector of expensive wines, make sure to purchase a quality product from a reputable brand such as Viking, Vinotemp, Cuisinart or Sub Zero.