It doesn’t matter how much wine you drink or keep, as even an occasional wine drinker with ambitions to consume better bottles needs somewhere to keep their wine and to protect it from heat, fluctuating temperatures, insufficient humidity and excessive light.
So if you’re building your new home or if you’re renovating your kitchen, it’s important to consider including a wine storage solution into your home in order to get the best from your wine.
With underground cellars being excessively expensive to excavate, insulate and build, wine storage cabinets are often the best way to protect your collection and they don’t need to impose on your living space. If you choose the right style, they can even become a feature or highlight of your home.
This most likely explains why built-in wine storage cabinets, primarily installed in the kitchen area, are among the fastest growing trends in wine collecting today. There is a large range of wine cabinets on the market, some of them being sleek and attractive pieces of furniture, with many styles and capacities available. But not all wine cabinets are the same and so it’s important that you choose wisely.
Make sure you choose a wine cabinet, not a “wine cooler” or “wine fridge”:
Wine fridges and ordinary refrigerators generate intense cold and remove ambient humidity, which will affect your wine over time. They also tend to have vibrations that are damaging to the wine in the long run and are better for short term storage. Wine cabinets however are climate-controlled wine cellars which are designed to replicate the conditions found in the best natural underground cellars.
There are some easy ways to tell a wine cabinet from a wine fridge: a good wine cabinet will always have a humidity-management system (to preserve corks), dark interiors, soft LED lights, and tinted UV-protecting glass (to protect your wine from damaging light), and finally wooden shelves (to absorb imperceptible vibrations). Also look for mentions of vibration proofing as vibrations are bad for long term ageing.
When choosing a cabinet, there are some important considerations to take into account:
- How many bottles will you need to store? You’ll want to be able to add to your collection so make sure you have enough space to grow. Especially if some of your wines will be stored for a long time.
- Where in the house will you place your wine cabinet? Choose between freestanding or built-in models, and avoid placing your wine cabinet in direct sunlight.
- Are you looking to cellar or serve with your wine cabinet? Single-temp cabinets are ideal for cellaring (all wines cellar at 12°-14°), whereas multi-temp models are designed to serve your reds and whites at the proper drinking temperatures.
Take the time to search retailers and visit showrooms for the sort of cabinet you would like, and always compare prices to be sure you are getting the best deal. Never be tempted by low prices – you could end up with a cabinet that doesn’t do its job or that even damages your wine.
The cost will depend on size, finishes and the climate-control features offered. The right choice of wine cabinet for you will be largely determined by the capacity, function and design you’re after, and of course your budget.