Storing wine correctly is most important if you intend to keep your bottles for any length of time. In Australia's hot summers keeping wine at a range of 13-16° C will ensure your wines will age gracefully, so that the much anticipated pleasure of uncorking an old bottle does not turn to bitter disappointment. There are a number of companies in Australia who sell refrigerated wine cabinets for both the home market and hospitality market, supplying wine fridges to individuals, restaurants and hotels. Most wine cabinets are imported, however, there is one company who manufactures locally.
You don't need to be a wine collector or wine connoisseur to justify owning a wine cabinet. Our climate makes it difficult to protect wine from spoilage so even if you have a small number of bottles set aside, you don't want to pour them down sink. Wine storage cabinets can ease the space pressure on the fridge as chilling bottles takes up considerable space particularly if you are catering for a social occasion. Wine cabinets furniture will look great in contemporary interiors bringing style and function to kitchens and dining rooms. There is of course the garage or shed where a refrigerated wine cabinet can keep your wine in peak condition.
What do you look for when purchasing a wine cabinet? There are four key pointers:
Temperature - wine cabinets (sometimes referred to as temperature controlled cabinets or climate controlled cabinets) need to control both temperature and humidity. Temperature control is the key to wine storage as fluctuations lead to cork damage and damage to the wine itself. Too hot, and your wine will age too quickly; too cold, and the wine may develop deposits. The temperature range generally recommended is 13-16° C.
Humidity - corks will dry out if humidity is not kept stable and the resulting dry corks can crumble on opening, or, worse, shrink thereby leaving the wine exposed to oxidation - spoilage. Relative humidity should be around 70%.
Vibration - this is bad for wine because it disturbs the sediment adversely affecting the aging process. Look for wine fridges with good insulation, vibration absorbers and stability.
Ventilation - bottles of wine kept in a confined space will release odours which will build up. Wine cabinets need to be well-ventilated to remove these odours.
Once you have settled on the quality of the basic features then turn your attention to size, flexibility and temperature zones. Clearly size will depend on your collection size and available space. Another wine fridge consideration is the choice between single-zone wine cabinets and multi-zone wine cabinets. The different temperature zones in wine cabinets can include:
- temperature control to keep your wine in optimum condition
- chill zone to chill wine for serving
- room temperature zone to prepare wine for serving at room temperature.
Temperature zone multiplicity differs across wine cabinet makers, and don't forget the possibility of customised wine cabinet design if you have special requirements.
Other flexible features include moveable shelves (sometimes referred to as multi-position shelves) and door variations from glass doors to solid steel doors.
Refrigerated wine cabinets are important if you want to preserve your wine and have the opportunity to serve wine at the optimum temperature for flavour. A lot is put into creating great wine so get the most out of your wines through proper storage.