Kitchen Design: Selecting A Wine Chiller

6th March 2017

Recent surveys show that we’re now drinking more wine at home than ever before and as a result, sales of kitchen wine coolers have increased as we realise the importance of looking after our wine. It’s clear there are benefits to storing your wine in just the right conditions, so when the neighbours pop over to see your lovely new kitchen, you’ll also be able to offer them a glass of their favourite tipple at the perfect temperature.

Of course, finding ways to keep wine in optimum conditions is nothing new. The Romans discovered the benefits of storing it underground, realising that when wine was kept in the dark and in a cool, even temperature it kept its quality.

A survey conducted by the Edmund Mach Foundation wine academy in Trentino, Italy a few years ago revealed that even slight variations in temperature are enough to alter the quality of wine. The researchers stored 200 bottles of Tuscan red in a professional cellar between 15-17°C and another 200 in domestic conditions between 20 and 27°C. After two years, the wine stored in domestic conditions had aged faster and had a poorer flavour than the wine stored in cellar conditions.
While most of us don’t have the space – or the energy – to maintain a cellar, a specialist wine cooler is a good alternative, working in the same way to keep your wine at a constant temperature, humidity and protect it from damaging UV rays.

Wine Cooler Features:

Whether you just like a tipple with friends or are a serious collector, there are now lots of models available, from towering 150 bottle, three-temperature-zone freestanding fridges to mini 15cm slot-in coolers to suit smaller schemes.

A model with two or three temperature zones will allow you to store red, white and even Champagne in perfect conditions. For white wine, that’s usually 10 to 15°C, rosé 9.5 to 10.5°C, red 15.5 to 18.5°C and Champagne and sparkling wine 7 to 9.5°C. 

When you’re buying look out for a compressor cooling system, this is what maintains the right temperature regardless of the room temperature, so it will retain all the wine’s complex flavour. Anti-vibration gaskets and low-vibration compressors should be on your wish-list, too, because they help to prevent disturbance to the wine’s sediment balance, which will affect the flavour. Light conditions will also affect the quality of your wine as it can cause excess oxidation so pick a model that reduces the amount of sunlight getting through the glass to the wine. Humidity within the cabinet is important too as humidity levels below 50%, will cause natural corks to shrink, allowing more and more oxygen to penetrate the bottle, and evaporation to occur. This means that the wine will gradually become sweeter until it spoils completely.

Also look for:

  1. Telescopic shelving makes selecting your wine easier, as do shelves that are slightly angled so you can see what wine you have without opening the door.
  2. Humidity needs to be kept constant and above 50% to prevent corks cracking and wine spoiling.
  3. Vibration control will prevent movement and avoid disturbing sediment so opt for a model with low vibration compressors.
  4. Different zones allow you to keep a variety of wines at the optimum temperature.

Planning the Installation of a Kitchen Wine Cooler:

Space and your commitment to collecting will inevitably influence your choice of wine storage and there are a whole array of sizes and capacities of chiller available. Smaller single column models will allow you to have a few bottles to hand but are unlikely to give you the range of temperatures for more valuable wine. Undercounter models slot beautifully into islands and are great in kitchen diners when placed to face the entertaining space, making accessing them quick and easy. For larger models, grouping them together with other cooling appliances in a ‘cooling’ bank is a contemporary solution. Whichever model you opt for, our designers are on hand to help you plan it into the perfect place in your new kitchen design, and thanks to our Cambridgeshire workshop we can custom-build cabinetry that is the perfect home for the chiller.

Are you looking for more inspiration for your project? Our showrooms display a wide variety of our cabinetry and our design experts would be delighted to discuss your requirements for your new room. Find your nearest Harvey Jones kitchen showroom here, or call 0800 389 6938 to speak with a designer.