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Wine Cooler Buying Guide

Posted by Ship It Appliances Ltd on 24th Aug 2017

If you regularly enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner or you entertain guests on a regular basis, it is a good idea to invest in a wine cooler. It has been scientifically proven! According to researchers in Italy, wine stored in a cooler will age better than wine that has been stored in regular conditions at home.

So, if you enjoy drinking wine but your home does not have a wine cellar, consider a wine cooler. At Ship It Appliances, we offer a wide range at affordable prices. While some are designed to fit under counters, others are made thin and tall to stand in tight spaces and corners. They are designed to hold a wide range of bottles, so you can find one that suits your collection.

Before you spend £100s of pounds on your cooler, make sure you’re aware of their key differences by reading this.

Thermoelectric vs Compressor Wine Cooler

If you’re in the market for a wine cooler to house your wine collection, you may have come across the words thermoelectric and compressor. These two types of cooler look very similar, but the technology behind them couldn’t be more different.

What are the Differences between a Thermoelectric and Compressor Wine Cooler?

When trying to figure out which wine cooler will be the best match for how you drink wine, it’s important to first understand how each one works.

How Thermoelectric Wine Coolers Work

Thermoelectric wine coolers use a type of technology called the Peltier effect. Discovered by Jean Peltier in the 19th century, the Peltier effect happens when electricity flows through two metal semi-conductors (creating a heat flux), and heat gets transferred. One end becomes hot and the other becomes cool, depending on the flow of the electric current.

In thermoelectric wine coolers, because the core cooling device (or heat pump) is so small, it operates with minimal noise, making it a popular option.

How Compressor Wine Coolers Work

Compressor wine coolers work in a similar fashion to a refrigerator. A liquid refrigerant circulates through a vapour compression cycle. This cycle produces cold air, and externally expels hot air (similar to an air conditioner). The system is made up of these four major parts:

Compressor – pressurises gas.

Condenser – a long coil that runs on the outside of the refrigerator. Refrigerant radiates heat into the environment as it passes through the coil.

Expansion valve – this lessens the pressure of the refrigerant and turns it into a cool liquid.

Evaporator – a long coil that absorbs heat from the air, resulting in cold air that is used to cool your wine.

Advantages of Compressor Wine Coolers

Can reach colder temperatures – compressor coolers can easily reach -1ºC, at any time of year. Most thermoelectric coolers don’t go below 10ºC, which is why they aren’t recommended for spaces that heat over 27ºC.

Adapts to Environmental Changes – compressor coolers adapt well to varying loads and temperatures, as they can maintain a consistent internal temperature in a range of conditions. This is a great benefit if you’re planning on putting your cooler in an uninsulated area.

Storage Capacity – because compressor coolers are usually large, they often have a higher storage capacity, making room for more bottles of wine (and what’s not to like about that?!)

Disadvantages of Compressor Wine Coolers

Noise – the moving parts of a compressor cooler means that it will produce some noise. While it usually isn’t too loud it is noticeable, likened to a normal refrigerator.

Vibrations – again, due to the moving components in the cooler, the compressor can vibrate slightly. This is usually rectified using a rubber bushing which absorbs the movement.

Advantages of Thermoelectric Wine Coolers

Quiet – since there are no moving parts in a thermoelectric cooler, they are almost silent. The lack of vibration is also better for preserving your wine.

Environmentally friendly – thermoelectric coolers don’t use any environmentally-damaging fluids or refrigerants, and they use very little energy to run.

Lightweight – minimal machinery is needed for the Peltier effect, making thermoelectric coolers lightweight and easily portable.

Disadvantages of Thermoelectric Wine Coolers

Not as effective during temperature change – because thermoelectric coolers don’t produce cold air, when the temperature gets too hot (around 27ºC), they struggle to remove enough heat to produce an ideal storage temperature for wine (13ºC). This is because a thermoelectric cooler doesn’t produce air. The opposite occurs when it’s too cold. Because you can’t add heat to the unit, when the outside temperature drops below 10ºC, so does the internal temperature. Both of these factors affect your wine’s storage conditions.

Placement – the issue above can restrict where in your home you can place the cooler. Because the units vent hot air, heat sinks in the back, and they need a minimum of five inches of space on either side of the unit to prevent overheating.

Wine coolers are scientifically proven to improve the aging of wine

Dr Fulvio Mattivi and researchers at the Edmund Mach Foundation have carried out a study to test the different conditions in which wine is stored. While you would normally think that only white wine would benefit from being stored in a wine cooler, this study proves that red wine does so as well. The study took place over the course of two years, as the research team monitored the changes experienced by 500 bottle of Sangiovese as they aged in a domestic storage solution and a proper wine cellar.

Two hundred bottles were stored in wine cellars located at the Mach Foundation. The temperature ranged from 15°C to 17°C and there was 70% humidity. The rest of the bottles were stored in conditions that mimicked domestic storage, such as cupboards. The temperature ranged from 20°C to 27°C, fluctuating with the seasons. The research team then sampled the wine every six months.

The researchers found that the wine stored in the domestic conditions did not age as nicely as the wine that was stored in the cellars. Red wine requires a particular temperature and humidity to foster the ageing process, and kitchen cupboard or counter cannot meet these requirements.

alternative uses for your wine cooler

Wine coolers are a great investment for anyone that enjoys their wine and wants a selection of bottles ready-to-drink at all times – but did you know a wine cooler can do so much more than store wine? Here’s a few ideas for other ways to use a wine refrigerator.

Storing other drinks

Let’s start with the obvious – storing other drinks in your wine cooler. Any soft drinks that can be stored at ambient temperatures (which is most of them) can be kept in a wine cooler, too. The same goes for other alcoholic beverages including beers and ciders – there’s nothing wrong with using a wine fridge for beer, thereby freeing up space in your main fridge.

It’s worth noting that milk-based drinks will need to be stored at a much lower temperature than your wines if they’re to last longer than a few days. That said, if you’re drinking milk quickly (for example, if you’re serving up milk-based cocktails at a party) storing it in your wine cooler for a few hours is fine.

If you’re going to be throwing a party and making large amounts of punch, or mass-producing margaritas on a miniature production line in your kitchen, then a wine cooler will provide an excellent place to store them until it’s time to serve them up. For those looking to impress, presenting cocktails at the right temperature is crucial. In this sense, extra fridge space is sure to be welcome!

Storing certain foods

Can you store food in a wine cooler? The answer is “sometimes”. It depends on the food, and it pays to be careful. The average kitchen fridge is designed to be slightly cooler than the average wine cooler, as only the palest and sweetest wines benefit from being served below 6°C.

Fruits and vegetables can be kept for longer in a wine cooler than they might be in a bowl on your kitchen table, or a sack in your utility room. Different fruits and vegetables will thrive at different temperatures, and so some minor adjustments might be necessary.

You can also use a wine refrigerator to store cheese. That said, the softer the cheese, the cooler the storage space will need to be. A tub of cream cheese will need to be kept refrigerated; a block of parmesan is a little more forgiving.

If you’re thinking of using a wine fridge for cheese, then start with the harder stuff. Harder cheese can cope with temperatures up to fifteen degrees, while soft or blue cheeses should be kept beneath 8°C, at the very least.

Which Wine Cooler Should You Choose?

As you can see, choosing the right cooler to suit your needs is really more function over fashion.

Wine storage and preservation is all about consistent temperature control in all conditions. Where you’re looking to store your cooler and where you live will help you to decide which is best for you.

At Ship It Appliances, we supply a wide range of integrated and freestanding wine coolers or different capacities that can suit anything from a small household kitchen to a fancy restaurant.

Need help? Call our team on 01623 625 658