When it comes to wine, whether storing for a short time or for purposes of aging, the correct temperature and humidity levels are important to preserve and encourage the development of flavours. When the environment is too warm, wine ages more rapidly but if it is too cool, deposits can build up. Therefore, a dedicated chiller for your wines is important when wine is part of the menu. Regular refrigerators are unable to provide the optimum temperatures for wine storage which ranges from 5°C to around room temperature and also requires humidity that is higher than standard refrigerated air. It is also most likely that a wine chiller is fitted with special racks to hold the wine at a 45° degree angle for easy reading of the label. What do you look for when buying a wine chiller?
YOUR WINE LIST
The differences between a wine cooler and a wine cabinet lie in the capacity and temperature. Wine coolers are made smaller and ideally for storage of ‘everyday’ wines that are intended to be consumed within a year; the humidity also tends to be lower which is likely to dry out the corks over numerous years. This option would be useful for restaurants that serve a smaller selection of wine. However, in the event of the opposite where wine features largely, having a temperature controlled wine cabinet is important. Not only can it fit more bottles, its cooling systems are meant to achieve temperature and humidity control for long-term storage and aging of wine.
You may also choose to have both options; perhaps a smaller wine cabinet for more exclusive and valuable bottles that you foresee only a certain percentage of your guests would call for. Another variable to consider is that wines and champagnes are varied in their storing requirements so if you are serving both items, you might go for two separate chillers.
Depending on the space available, options are freestanding models that come in compact sizes or larger ones that hold more bottles and able to be accommodated with an existing regular fridge. A single-zone wine chiller is specifically for longterm storage of one type of wine as the temperature would be kept constant throughout, at the optimum level to bring out the best in either the whites, reds or champagne. Meanwhile, the dual-zone chiller offers more flexibility for restaurants to offer guests a wider range of drinks. Users can regulate the two temperature zones to accommodate red and white wines at the same time yet in their individual prime environment. A built-in model; also usually custom-made, would be suitable if you are storing wine in a specific area without needing to carry out major changes to the space. Most manufacturers make them for installation under kitchen counters or in a cabinet, also as a free standing unit if the space allocated is tight. There is more flexibility with built-ins as owners can request for variables like adjustable shelves to accommodate irregular sized or shaped bottles, doors to see a single wine bottle or the entire wine collection or adding extra spaces to store wine accessories within the cabinet. It makes a popular choice for restaurants with a lounge specifically for wine appreciation and the built-in wine cooler can be designed to match the look of the place.
Some chillers have this function alongside air ventilation to enable necessary adjustments to the unit. Additional elements could be charcoal filters and fanned refrigeration to quickly recover interior temperatures and prevent unwanted odours. As for built-in models that are placed beneath another structure, ensure adequate ventilation by placing an air vent above or inside the door in order for sufficient airflow in and out of the closet.
Sudden movements to a wine chiller can cause loose sediment in the bottles of wine which affects the tannins that are important in a wine’s flavour, colour and body. If you want extra safeguarding of your collection, think about a unit with
anti-vibration system fitted in the compressor or within the structure of the fridge.