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Home wine cellar: wine cooler or rack? Which is better?

If you’re a wine-lover, you know that how you store a bottle is just as important as what is inside it. If you’re thinking about setting up your own wine cellar at home, it’s normal to have a few questions. One of the most common: wine cooler or rack? Which is better? With this post, we’re going to help you make the right choice for your needs.

Did you know that improper storage can have a negative impact on your wine in just a few weeks and substantially shorten its lifespan? Temperature fluctuations, excessive heat or exposure to sunlight can cause wine to lose aromas and flavours, or make other, unpleasant ones develop or even lead to the feared oxidation.

Although it may seem obvious, the best place to keep wine is in a cool, underground cellar, a place designed specifically to meet the needs of storing wine. But natural cellars require a substantial investment in time and money that many can’t afford.

So, when thinking about making your own home wine cellar, the most common question is whether to buy a wine rack or a special wine cooler. First of all, both are good, affordable options, but it is important to understand which is better for your wine. 

What is a wine cooler?

A wine fridge or cooler uses technology to maintain a stable temperature, which can be adjusted manually. The perfect temperature for most wines is 15 °C because it keeps the flavours and nuances from being affected by the heat without slowing down the ageing process.

The main difference between a wine fridge and a natural wine cellar is that the former lets you personalise the perfect temperature for small wine collections. Dual-zone wine fridges have two sections that can be set at different temperatures: one warmer for reds and the other cooler for whites.

Wine fridges come in a variety of sizes, from simple bench-top models that hold 6 bottles to ones with space for more than 200 bottles. This makes them the perfect choice for small spaces and collections at home. They can go in the kitchen, living room or dining room for comfort and easy access to your home wine cellar. 

What is a wine rack?

If you can’t afford a wine cooler, or don’t think you need one, a wine rack is the cheaper option. A wine rack is a shelving unit designed specially to store bottles of wine. They come in different shapes and sizes, including both stand-alone and wall-mount units. The number of bottles a wine rack can hold varies, so you should choose one based on your needs and the space available. 

Wine racks are often put in the kitchen, but they can also go in the cellar if you have one, where the environment is perfect for wine. Outside a cellar, there’s no guarantee that the storage conditions will be right for your wine bottles. This could be a serious problem for wine collectors and connoisseurs.

Just like the temperature (wine should be kept between 7.5 °C and 18.5 °C, whether white or red), there is also an optimal humidity for storing wine: 70%. If the air is too dry, it will have the same effect as storing the wine in a space that is too cold, and could promote moulding. Although this shouldn’t be an issue if the bottle has been properly sealed.

A wine rack can be a good short-term solution, especially for small wine cellars at home because it is important for it to be properly placed and not overly affected by external factors like light and humidity. 

Find out the perfect temperature for each type of wine

How to store open bottles of wine

It is also important to think about what to do with a bottle of wine if you don’t finish it. Regular wine-drinkers don’t often finish a bottle when they open it, unless it is a special occasion or celebration. Vacuum stoppers are the perfect solution because they keep the wine from coming into contact with air and oxidising. Then, the bottle should be kept vertically and finished within the following five days for optimal flavour.

Unlike other beverages that can easily be stored in the fridge, wines are more sensitive and have stricter requirements for proper storage. As we’ve already said, how a wine is stored and handled can significantly affect its flavour and quality. If not stored properly, even the most expensive, delicious wine can go bad quickly. 

We have more tricks on how to store wine at home to enjoy it at its best:

How to store wine at homeDiscover more wines from D. O. Ca. Rioja!