The perfect wine storage can mark the difference between a good kitchen and an incredible kitchen, but choosing the correct style for your renovation project can be hard – especially when there are so many options on the market.
The good news is, if you’ve decided to install a wine cooler in your home, there’s almost definitely a style and size to suit your space exactly. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing the right wine storage.
Small storage solutions
When space is limited or you don’t have the need to store more than a few bottles, a slimline wine cabinet built into a run of base units is an ideal option. Fitting snugly within a length of cabinets, these under-counter models come in a range of widths, starting from a slender 15cm. You’ll only get one temperature zone, but if you just need somewhere to store wine without taking up valuable space in the fridge, it’s the ideal option. You can also consider integrated models installed at eye level, which can be configured alongside ovens, coffee machines and warming drawers, as well as fridge-freezers that come with dedicated wine cooler storage.
Bear in mind that not all wine cabinets have reversible doors, so check before you buy that you will be able to access the unit with ease. ‘Consider both how well you’ll be able to see what’s inside as well as how easy it will be to grab a bottle when you want it,’ advises Steve Corbett, marketing manager for CDA. ‘Are the bottles stacked? Do the shelves slide out? The glass door should be UV protected to save wine from the effects of sunlight and an LED interior light will help you identify bottles.’
WC1792 in-column wine cabinet, Caple
With no-frost compressor cooling technology for a constant temperature, the WC1792 in-column wine cabinet from Caple is A rated and comes with telescopic beech shelves, UV/heat-free white LED lighting and fan-circulated cool air. It’s also vibration-free, which ensures it’s low on noise as well as preventing sediment being disturbed. It also offers electronic temperature control in each of the three zones and holds 89 bottles.
An under-counter cabinet should fit snugly into most kitchen spaces. Amica has recently added a range of wine coolers to its collection of freestanding appliances and this model comes with black or stainless steel framing, triple-glazed reversible door and electronic control with blue LED display. The AWC600SS, with capacity for 46 bottles, offers dual temperature zones with a B energy rating and height adjustable plinth.
‘A wine’s perfect storing temperature is around a consistent 13°C. In comparison, a normal household will sit at around 22°C, so this doesn’t only affect the long-term storage of the wine but also the immediate enjoyment of the bottle. When a red wine recommends drinking at room temperature, it doesn’t mean 22°C. A fridge is typically colder than 13°C, but is acceptable for short-term storage, but the wine should then be allowed to sit out for 30 minutes or so before serving. Garages also work well for short term, but are highly susceptible to temperature swings if not heated during the winter. Consistency is key when it comes to temperature. Areas that get too warm – such as airing cupboards, for example – can heat up the wine and prematurely age it.’ – Kieran Gibson, Head Sommelier, the Oriental Club, Mayfair
GQN21220WX wine cooler fridge freezer, Grundig
When there’s no room for a separate wine cabinet, Grundig’s GQN21220WX wine cooler fridge freezer is the perfect solution. A dedicated wine compartment stores 28 bottles and has an adjustable temperature range, while the appliance also supplies chilled ice and water via a plumbed dispenser. The fridge incorporates FullFresh+ technology for optimal humidity levels to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for up to 30 days.
SWE61501DG built-in wine cooler, AEG
When you’re really tight on space, AEG’s A-rated SWE61501DG built-in wine cooler is the perfect choice, as it’s only 14.8cm wide and holds seven bottles. It comes with UV-protected glass, LED lighting and a precision cooling system for even temperature.
FWC304BL wine cooler, CDA
Ideal for a smaller kitchen, CDA’s single-zone FWC304BL wine cooler comes in black or stainless steel, is A rated for energy efficiency and can hold 20 bottles. The UV protected glass has an anti-fingerprint finish while added benefits include a child lock, touch controls, LED lighting and an anti-vibration system.
The larger the cabinet, the more features you generally get – including two or even three independently controlled temperature zones. Luke Shipway, product manager for Caple, recommends looking for cabinets with compressor cooling systems, as these will maintain precisely the right temperature to retain wine’s complex flavour.
He also advises choosing a model with a low-noise level, especially for open-plan kitchens, as well as making sure the unit offers constant humidity levels above 65 per cent. ‘This way, cork quality is preserved, while mould and odours are prevented.’ Other features to look for include anti-vibration systems, which prevent disturbing the sediment in wine, as Helen Haider, head of marketing for Fisher & Paykel, confirms. ‘With the higher-end wine cabinets versus lower-end wine coolers, you should get an appliance that protects and cares for your wine in a better environment.’
ICBIW-30R wine storage, Sub-Zero
Sub-Zero’s ICBIW-30R wine storage with refrigerated drawers is a serious piece of kit with three temperature zones for white wine, red, champagne, beer, soft drinks and snacks. It holds 86 bottles, is A+ energy rated and features dual evaporators for constant temperature and humidity, a UV-resistant glass door, angled display shelf and LED lighting. There’s also an optional dessert wine rack, as well as bulk storage drawer for magnums and larger bottles.
KWT6722iGS 178cm Wine Conditioning Unit with Sommelier Set, Miele
Miele’s KWT6722iGS 178cm Wine Conditioning Unit with Sommelier Set is perfect for connoisseurs as it comes with a glass holder and two decanting racks, allowing you to decant wine in the conditioner, ready for serving in glasses chilled to the perfect temperature. It’s A rated and stores 83 bottles with two temperature zones.
RF356RDWX1, Fisher & Paykel
A freestanding cabinet is ideal for slotting in at the end of a run of cabinets. The RF356RDWX1 model from Fisher & Paykel holds 144 bottles and comes with dual-zone temperature control, smart stainless steel design and brushed metal handle. A fan circulates air for an even temperature. while a low-vibration compressor and UV-tempered glass door ensures optimal storage conditions.
If you’re having a new kitchen designed, why not consider a completely custom-made bar area or wine storage wall? ‘High-quality wine storage is essential for preserving reds, whites and champagnes at optimum conditions for short, medium and longer term storage or even ageing,’ confirms Ricky Davies, director at Sub-Zero & Wolf UK. ‘Look for a brand that offers two or even three temperature zones. For example, two temperature zone wine storage with the benefit of additional refrigerated drawers set at a cooler temperature for beers, snacks and soft drinks, allowing you to create your own ‘at home bar’ to include freshly mixed cocktails, as well as perfectly preserved wines and champagnes.’
For Darren Taylor, managing director of Searle & Taylor, the most recent trend has been for cooling walls, where a tall fridge, freezer and wine climate cabinet are situated side by side with matching furniture doors, including a UV glass-fronted door for the wine fridge. ‘However, we are increasingly being asked to create bespoke bar areas,’ he says, ‘where the integrated wine climate cabinet is just part of a larger wine, spirit and cocktail-making unit.’
Bespoke wine room, McCarron & Co
This striking wine room uses bespoke timber framing with inset glass panels to create a zoned-off area with industrial-style feature lighting, oak drawers, slate worktop and space for 86 bottles in three separate zones. Designed by McCarron & Co, it’s the ultimate cavern for connoisseurs. Price from £25,000.
‘If you are at all serious about wine, then you need to take wine storage seriously, as flawed storage conditions are the single biggest reason why wine spoils. While wine can withstand mild variations in temperature, it does need to be cosseted against frequent or extreme variations. If stored in a kitchen wine rack, under the stairs, on top of the fridge, in a utility room, garage or the garden shed, it can be adversely affected by domestic heating systems, kitchen warmth, unlagged hidden hot water pipes, sunlight or a sudden cold snap. This results in lacklustre, prematurely matured wine that lacks the promise it once showed.’ – Lucy Hargreaves, Managing Director, Spiral Cellars
Tall bar cupboard with walnut storage and glass shelving, Dobsons
Designed by Stoneham retailer Dobsons, this kitchen features a Stoneham signature tall bar cupboard with walnut storage and glass shelving. Pocket doors allow the bar to be concealed and opened up when needed while floor-to-ceiling Siemens wine cabinets either side provide chilled temperatures. Price from £25,000 (for kitchen).
Bespoke wine storage solution, DesignSpace London
A bespoke wine storage solution made from custom-stained oak veneer, this configuration by DesignSpace London complements the Modulnova MH6 oak veneer cabinetry perfectly. Development and interior design by Clivedale. Price from £25,000 (for kitchens).
Bespoke wine cooling unit with Gaggenau RW466 61cm integrated Wine Climate Cabinet, Searle & Taylor
Kitchen designers Searle & Taylor are increasingly being asked to create bespoke bar areas, with integrated wine cabinets alongside spirit, wine and cocktail-making units. This design features the Gaggenau RW466 61cm integrated Wine Climate Cabinet and the BMP225100 microwave. Price from £20,000.
Space-saving underground cellar, Spiral Cellars
Take your wine storage to the next level by installing a cellar underground. This space-saving example, by Spiral Cellars, features solid concrete construction, built-in natural ventilation and the perfect position for optimum temperature and humidity, all without the need for an existing cellar or basement. Price from £59,000.