The days of the formal dining room are, for better or for worse, in the rear-view mirror. These days, if you do a lot of entertaining, chances are it’s in your kitchen, not in a separate room. The kitchen is becoming a larger and more open space, not one where one person cooks in isolation but an area where families and friends can talk, eat, and drink together. Of course, this shift means that many of the old stand-by appliances might not be enough anymore. Most notably, wine coolers and built in wine cellars are quickly becoming a must-have in high end kitchen remodels.
What are they? Well, wine coolers are basically mini fridges for grown ups. They start at about that size and shape (though they can get as big as a full sized refrigerator), but instead of housing coke cans and water bottles, they’re perfectly sized and shaped to store bottles of wine. This 30 Inch Wine Cooler for example, is perfectly sized to tuck underneath your kitchen counter – about the same size as a mini fridge, but able to hold up to 68 bottles of wine. This is the perfect way to keep wine close on hand while you entertain, so you won’t have to go far to retrieve it, and your guests can even help themselves.
It’s not just any fridge, though. Wine coolers are specially designed to keep your wine at the perfect, ideal, drinkable temperature. Most come with sophisticated controls, like those on this compact 14 Inch Dual Zone. This allows you to set the temperature by degrees to store your wine at exactly the most desirable temperature for either long term storage or short-term drinkability. That’s really the main appeal of a wine cooler – you’re always ready to pull out a bottle of perfectly chilled wine, no matter what the occasion.
Models dubbed “dual zone” like this Chateau Dual Zone can actually (as the name implies) store two different types of wine at two different temperatures in two separate compartments. These range anywhere from two bottles at each temperature to 45 per zone, so no matter what size you’re looking for, if you need the dual zone functionality, you can get it. This is perfect if you want to keep both red and white wines on hand, as the ideal and drinking temperatures are different for each.
That said, wine coolers are good for your more valuable vintages as well. While even a larger wine cooler like this 90-Bottle Dual Zone can’t rival the fully climate-controlled wine cellars of serious collectors, they’re a great place to start for budding oenophiles. Like larger wine cellars, wine coolers come fully equipped with not only temperature and humidity control, but also a three-stage vibration dampening system to keep your bottles perfectly stable to allow for the ideal environment for your wines to mature.
Even if you do have a full sized wine cellar in your basement or cellar, having a smaller one built into your kitchen is still a nice touch. Depending on how much you entertain – how many people, how often, and for how long at a time – that could mean a lot of trips up and down stairs fetching bottles. But even a very small wine cooler like this 15 Inch Wine Cooler is perfect for keeping the wine you plan to drink in a single evening close on hand and at an ideal drinkable temperature.
Most built in wine coolers also come with soft, non-wine-harming display lights that perfectly illuminate all your stored vintages. Paired with Marvel’s signature black interior and wood-front shelves (which can be stained to match your cabinetry) and, of course, your wine bottles, this makes for a stunning, brilliant display. Some wine coolers are made primarily for storage, and can really pack in the bottles, but if you want to put your bottles on display, look for a cooler with fewer shelves, like this 24 Inch Chateau Wine Cooler, or one with shelves that can be adjusted to sit at an angle for display. This allows you to show off your favorite vintages in a safe, stable environment either until you drink it, or until you retire it to a more sophisticated wine cellar system.
Are you looking for a wine cooler to start building a wine collection, to supplement an existing wine cellar, or just a good way to keep your favorite vintages on hand for your next get together?