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Which wine storage?

With more of us enjoying wine and few having access to a cellar, there’s a growing interest in wine storage cabinets. Wine reacts to its surroundings – too warm and you risk it ageing too soon; too cold and there is a danger that deposits develop.

There are basically two types of wine cabinet:

  • Serving cabinets designed to keep wines you are planning to drink now at the right serving temperature. These can be single temperature units or dual/variable so you can have red/white and sparkling wines each at the correct serving temperature. As a general rule you generally store white wine at 10-12°C, and red at 12-16°C.
  • Storage cabinets intended to mimic cellar conditions for longer term storage and maturation of finer wines, generally offering a consistent 12/13°C environment with around 50% humidity. These are suitable for long term storage of red, white and sparkling wines.

Things to consider

  • Bottles with corks should always be stored on their sides to keep the cork moist and so preventing air getting in and spooling the wine.
  • How much storage you need and where you are going to position the cabinet. The capacity stated for most units assumes Bordeaux-size/shape bottles. If your taste is for champagne or Burgundy, with their wider and thicker bottles, you’ll be able to store fewer.
  • Some cabinets come with fixed shelving, others have roll-out shelves and/or adjustable shelves which provide more flexibility and easier access. Some models allow you to tilt shelves which some experts think it better for fine wines.
  • Many cabinets have glass doors which allow you to see what wines you have (and look impressive!) but aren’t as efficient as a solid door. Glass wine cabinet doors need to be UV protected to makes sure that sunlight doesn’t spoil the wines.
  • For longer term storage humidity is important so you might want to consider models that maintain the correct humidity, as well as keeping the air well ventilated. Some have charcoal filters designed to reduce the possibility of  contamination of the wine.
  • Proper ventilation is important too. Fan cooled refrigeration ensures that the unit quickly recovers its interior temperature after being opened and any odours are excluded, so the wine isn’t tainted.