19 October 12:00
Why do wine collectors like Colzer Wine Cooler?
Published by Felix Cheung in Colzer
Whether you are a wine connoisseur, with a large collection of special wines or just someone who enjoys wine and entertaining, investing in a wine fridge is a really good idea.
Wine coolers allow you to store various types of wine at the correct temperature, which means that you can age and serve your wines at temperatures that will bring out the best flavour profiles.
Knowing which cooler to choose poses certain questions which I will attempt to answer in this guide. There are several factors that you will need to consider when you are selecting a wine cooler for your home or business and as there are many available options, we will narrow it down to your specific needs and requirements.
Why you shouldn’t keep wine in a standard kitchen refrigerator.
The normal usage of a food fridge is not the ideal environment for your wine, it gets opened all too frequently, resulting in temperature fluctuations and the large compressors that drives the system causes vibrations that can disturb the sediments within the bottles.
Then there is the question of temperature. Although you can use your kitchen fridge to chill a bottle of Chardonnay before serving it, you should not store your wine in such cold conditions. Food fridges usually run at around 38° instead of 55° which is the temperature suggested for wine storage.
The air inside your kitchen fridge is also much drier than that of a dedicated wine cooler and could cause the corks and seals of your wine bottles to dry out, shrink and crack.
What are the basic requirements for storing wine?
Considering that wine is a natural product that is both delicate and intricate it is essential that you consider that in order for you to get the most enjoyment from your wine you must protect it from the three factors that can do it the most harm.
- Exposure to too much light will affect the wine in a negative way, that is why wine is usually bottled in green or dark glass. Too much light can rearrange the chemical compounds of wine, resulting in wine that is light-struck. This means to say that the wine is aged prematurely. The taste, aroma, colour and texture of the wine gets irreparably altered in this way, spoiling the wine.
This does not only apply to direct sunlight, but even normal house lighting can damage your wine in this way.
- It is generally conceded that wine should be stored and matured between 53° to 57°.
There are those who hold the believe that the 55° mark is the holy grail and that one should never deviate from it and there are other equally well informed experts who claims that as long as the conditions are damp and cool, the exact temperature is not as much of a factor.
This really has more to do with how long you wish to keep your wine. If you intend to age the wine for decades, keeping it at a constant 55° is the ideal. However if you are going to be consuming the wine within a few years, one could keep it in temperatures ranging between 45° and 70° without risking too much damage.
Having said that, bear in mind that overexposure to high temperatures accelerates the aging process and you may also risk your wine becoming cooked, so the cupboard underneath the sink is not such a good idea.
- Temperatures below 45° can similarly impact negatively on your wine. Air becomes dryer at lower temperatures and this can cause the corks to shrink, allowing the wine to oxidize and leak.
- As wine ages naturally, solids will sink to the bottom, leaving the clean liquid on the top. Even very slight vibration can disturb the sediment and allow it to mix freely with the rest of the wine, altering the flavour.
- Complex chemical reactions are taking place as wine matures and when the bottles are exposed to vibration it results in kinetic energy to be released inside the bottles.
- This can lead to an increase in the refractive index, causing the wine to become too sweet and less aromatic.
It can also decrease the amounts of tartaric acid, esters and succinic acid. Tartaric acid is the main acid in grapes and in wine it reacts with succinic acid to form esters that gives wine its caricature.
Important features to look for in choosing a wine fridge.
Depending on where your wine fridge is to be installed or placed, noise might be a factor when you are choosing which wine cooler you want to buy.
Most wine fridges operate by making use of a compressor system.
What this means is that the air in the unit is cooled through a process that pumps a chemical refrigerant through coils. The compressor is the part of the mechanics that you can hear humming as the cooling cycle is switched on.
Typically the noise output of the compressor is not enough to cause an interference if your wine fridge is placed in a cellar or kitchen. In most cases, wine fridges are built in such a way that the moving parts are mounted on rubber to lower vibration and to dampen noise levels.
- If you intend to place your wine cooler in a room where noise is a factor, you might want to consider a unit that operates on a thermoelectric system.
Thermoelectric coolers does not use chemical refrigerants to cool the system, but instead make use of a heat pump to regulate the temperature.
The advantage of this is that there is no vibration or noise produced in the process. This technology is however only available in small units.
How big is your wine collection? Wine fridges comes in various sizes so a good measure is to look at how many bottles of wine you have at any given moment and to allow an additional 20% for growth or to hold extra bottles for holidays or special occasions.
Too large a fridge will result in greater operating costs simply to keep open space refrigerated and a unit that is too small is frustrating, so give it some careful consideration.
Freestanding vs. built-in units:
Similar to normal kitchen fridges, freestanding units can have their compressor coils at the back of the unit. When placing a freestanding cooler, whether it is a counter top model or floor space unit, you should ensure that there is sufficient air flow around the cooler.
Under counter wine fridges usually have their coils and an exhaust grate at the bottom. This enable you to fit the fridge snugly in between kitchen cabinets as the air can easily escape from the exhaust grate and you needn’t concern yourself with the amount of space surrounding the unit at the back and the sides.
When purchasing a wine cooler, consider that you can’t use a freestanding unit in any other way whereas a built-in cooler can be utilised as freestanding or built-in.
A wine fridge is going to be on at all times. To lower the impact that it might have on your electricity consumption, it is worthwhile to consider the following:
Good interior lighting is important, but stay away from units that rely on hot light bulbs as a light source. Low temperature LED lighting uses very little energy and does not heat up the interior of your wine fridge.
Many people prefer glass to a solid door to show off the wine as it adds the aesthetic appeal of the unit. Make sure the door is made from tempered glass and is triple paned for safety and effective insulation.
If your requirements allows you to opt for a small unit, then you could also consider getting a thermoelectric wine cooler. One of the advantages of thermoelectric cooling is that it uses less electricity.
It is a fallacy that red and white wines needs to be kept at different temperatures.
The benefit of having a wine cooler that offer duel temperature zones is that you are able to set the separate zones so that you can serve different wines all at the perfect temperature.
Countertop and compact coolers are for the most part single zone fridges, which means that the interior of the cooler is the same temperature throughout. Single zone coolers are also less expensive and is perfect for long-term storage of both red and white wines.
Wine should be stored on its side in order for the corks to be kept moist and to allow for a greater surface area to oxidize during the aging process.
Look for models that have good quality wooden shelves or metal racking. This will allow you to easily read the labels without you having to disturbing the wine as you select the bottle that you want.
Consider that a wine cooler will make a statement where ever you place it. The aesthetics are just as important as its contents. From the many models available on the market, choose a unit that will tie in with the rest of its surroundings.
You may also want to take into account additional features such as child-lock doors and whether or not single door units have the option of opening either left or right handed for easy access.
If you choose a model with a glass door, make sure that it protects against UV light.
Thermoelectric wine coolers vs. Compressor wine coolers.
In 1834, Jean Charles Athanase Peltier discovered that at the junction of two dissimilar metals an electrical current will produce either heat or cold depending on the direction of the current flow.
Called the Peltier Effect, thermoelectric wine coolers uses this phenomenon to chill the air inside the unit.
The Peltier plate is attached to a heat pump that removes the warm air from the wine cooler and disperse it through a heat sink that is made from aluminium fins.
Advantages of thermoelectric wine coolers:
- This type of wine cooler is very energy efficient, since the Peltier effect does not require a lot of electricity.
- Since there are no moving parts, thermoelectric coolers do not vibrate. This is one of its greatest advantages as we have seen earlier, vibration is one of the main considerations when one is searching for the best way in which to store and age wine.
- For the same reason, the Peltier effect is also quiet, so you can install your wine cooler any ware you like.
- Because there isn’t a need for a big motor to drive a heavy compressor, thermoelectric coolers are also light weight and easy to move.
The disadvantages of thermoelectric wine coolers:
Unfortunately the Peltier effect is limited and can only provide limited cooling.
As long as the wine cooler is placed in an area where the temperature is not to high it is capable of keeping wine at temperatures between 55° and 65°F, but it is not capable of lowering temperatures to lower than 20°F below the ambient temperature.Even direct sunlight can overwhelm the cooling system and if it is placed in close proximity to a stove or other heat generating appliances, it might fail to maintain a stable temperature.
- Thermoelectric coolers have cooling fins or heat sinks at the back of the unit and needs at least five inches of space on each side to prevent it from overheating.This means that they can’t be installed under counters and should always be used as freestanding units.
- Because thermoelectric cooling is so much weaker than compressor cooling, it can only be used in units that have a small capacity. Therefore if you have a big wine collection they are of little use.
In exactly the same way as your food refrigerator, compressor coolers are made up of a compressor, condenser coils and an evaporator that uses a chemical refrigerant such as HFC-134a (Tetrafluoroethane) to cool the air inside the unit.
Called a vapour compression refrigeration system it makes use of the coolant to remove the heat from inside the unit and expel it on the outside.
The cold air that is produced by the evaporator is then passed through an aluminium panel and radiated into the coolers interior thereby reducing the temperature.
Advantages of compressor wine fridges:
- Compressor cooling systems are powerful and not susceptible to environmental changes. Even if the ambient temperature suddenly rises, a compressor cooling system will still be able to maintain the temperature inside the wine cooler.
As temperature plays such an important part in preserving your wine and preventing it from spoiling, this is by far one of the most important considerations when choosing a wine fridge.
- This powerful cooling system also make it possible to build units that can contain a much larger quantity of wine bottles than what is the case with Peltier plates. Compressor wine fridges are capable of accurately maintaining its set temperatures in a way that is simply not possible in any other way and can do so on a large scale.
- Compressor coolers also make it possible for you to install your wine cooler underneath your kitchen counter if you so wish. A unit that is equipped with a front venting compressor makes it possible to place it where ever you want without having to ensure that there is enough unobstructed space surrounding it.
Disadvantages of compressor wine coolers:
- There are two main disadvantages to compressors. Firstly, they generate vibrations. Every time that the compressor engage, it vibrates and as we now know this can have a significant effect on the wine. To counter this, the moving parts of the wine fridge is mounted on special rubber fittings, reducing the vibration to a minimum.
- Even though compressor cooling systems are designed to cope far better with ambient temperature fluctuations placing them into close approximation of a stove or over heat source will cause it to work harder and consume more energy.
- Compressors does make a continuous humming noise when it is running and may cause a disturbance if it is placed in an area where noise is an issue.
Consider building your own wine cellar at home.
If you are really serious about your wine collection and you have the space, why not convert an area of your home into a dedicated wine cellar.
This does not necessarily have to mean a huge vault like structure, but can be as simple as converting a walk-in closet.
The ideal is to find an area where the temperature is as close to 55°F as possible. Basements naturally takes preference since it is situated underground, but failing that any windowless insulated room will do.
You can purchase a cooling system that can help you to maintain a consistent cellar temperature all year round - something like a small ductless air conditioner will work well.
Insulate the walls and ceiling. This will bring down the running cost on your air-conditioning unit as it won’t have to work as hard at maintaining the inside temperature. It also helps with keeping the humidity in check.
Because cold air passes right through an unsealed floor you might want to do something about it if you are converting a space on a first or second floor. In a basement scenario this should not be much of a concern.
Cladding the space with plywood will add to its character and make the installation of wine racks and shelves that much easier.
The door is an item that can easily be overlooked. Choose a solid interior door or an insulated door and add weather stripping around the jamb and a bottom sweep to keep the warm air out.
Why are Colzer wine coolers so popular among wine collectors?
We came to rely on Colzer to develop and manufacture quality dehumidifiers and air purification systems for both the industrial and domestic markets since 2015 and every time their systems came out tops, exceeding even the highest expectations.
By employing the same industrious attitude, Colzer has stepped up to the table with a range of products that will satisfy the needs of any collector and wine lover.
The range consists of low noise wine coolers that incorporates everything that a serious collector could desire in a wine fridge.
Made from stainless steel, all the coolers offer precise temperature control and low vibration levels and setting it apart is its elegant design. The control panel is easy and intuitive to operate and the doors auto lock itself after a minute which is great if you happen to have small children.
The temperature can be accurately set at anything from the low 40’s to the low 60’s depending on your specific requirements.
It is impressive how silent these wine fridges run. Compared to normal household fridges, these units emulate hardly any detectable sound from its compressor and its vibration levels is such that it won’t impact on the storage of your wine.
The wine fridges are available in the following sizes:
A final word on choosing a wine fridge.
With so much to choose from, you might feel a little bewildered, but that really isn’t necessary. What is important is that your needs are met with what you are able to afford.
With this guide I hope that I have been able to clarify some of the possible misconceptions that you might have had and to highlight some of the useful features that is important to look for when you are choosing a wine cooler to satisfy your needs.
All of us have different requirements and priorities when it comes to our wine collections and there is not a single one size fits all solution, but there are plenty different options to choose from.