Outdoor Wine Cooler Buying Guide
The recipe for a perfect summer evening is a lovely bottle of wine served alongside a delicious grilled dinner. Wine and outdoor gourmet go hand-in-hand perfectly, whether it’s grilled shrimp with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or a well-crafted burger with a glass of Syrah.
To prevent bottle wine from spoiling, the right conditions are essential. Wine is perishable, and its intricate blend of flavors and aromas can be badly harmed when exposed to enemies of wine such as temperature variations and light.
A wine cooler overcomes these adversaries with a number of features that protect your valuable vintages in perfect condition even when the temperature rises above 100°.
Whether you call them wine fridges, wine coolers or wine chillers, properly storing your wines outside makes them palatable for extended periods of time and can even improve the flavor of many wines.
What is an outdoor wine cooler?
A wine cooler is a refrigeration device that is a short/medium term storage device for wine bottles.
A temperature-controlled appliance designed for the storage of wine outside can be classified as an outdoor wine refrigerator, cooler or chiller. It’s basically a modern take on a wine cellar or cave, but with a smaller footprint. An outdoor wine fridge will keep your wine at the right temperature while also allowing you to display your bottles.
Each outdoor wine fridge’s racking is designed to safely accommodate each bottle of wine. A wine refrigerator‘s doors are usually dual-paned or UV-coated for added protection. This aids in insulation as well as the blocking of damaging UV radiation.
The compressor in most wine coolers has an absorption system that reduces the motor’s vibration and hence the influence on the wine. A lock is usually integrated into the door to prevent unintentional opening and closing, which might impact the temperature within the cooler and produce unneeded vibrations.
To prevent temperature changes, many digital temperature control panels have an automatic lock. Finally, unlike food refrigerators, which come in a single size and color, wine refrigerators come in a wide range of finishes, styles, and sizes.
Outdoor Wine Cooler vs Wine Fridge vs Beverage Cooler vs Wine Chiller
A wine cooler has a higher temperature range than a refrigerator or beverage cooler. In general, the temperature of a wine cooler does not drop below 46°F. If you don’t want to damage the flavor of your wine, don’t store it as cold as other beverages in a beverage cooler or refrigerator.
Types of Outdoor Wine Coolers
There are four major types of wine coolers on the market, which are distinguished by the technology they employ as well as the cooler’s construction and design.
Compressor Wine Coolers
The compressor wine cooler operates by utilizing technology similar to that found in an ordinary refrigerator.
This method reduces the temperature of the wine cooler’s inside by compressing and releasing air. The “vapor compression cycle” is the name for this cooling process.
The inside temperature is greatly reduced when this type of technology is used. The compressor wine cooler has refrigeration chambers where refrigerant molecules are electronically compressed by a compressor.
The temperature of the particles rises as a result of this.
Following that, the particles are quickly expelled, lowering the temperature of the air.
A small and carefully placed fan then blows the cold air through the cooler’s inside.
But where does the heat generated by the operating compressor go? That heat escapes through the rear of the wine cooler, which is why it’s crucial to leave enough room behind it to allow it to ventilate properly and work at its best. If the outdoor wine fridge is an undercounter model, then the ventilation is through a front toe-kick vent. This is a continuous procedure.
- When the compressor detects that the preset temperature has been attained throughout the wine cooler, it shuts down to prevent the contents from over-freezing. Basically, it works continually to keep the temperature within a certain range.
- Placement – An outdoor compressor wine cooler can be used anywhere outdoors where you have a power source.
A freestanding unit will need clearance at the rear of the cooler for adequate ventilation to dissipate the heat generated by the compressor. As mentioned above, if you intend to install your outdoor wine cooler in an outdoor kitchen or bar counter, then you need to buy a model with front ventilation. These are usually termed undercounter or builtin wine coolers.
If the cooler is not allowed to chill correctly, then the bottles will be ruined and their value thusly will decline.
- Vibrations and noises are produced by the cooler’s compressor technology. While the vibrations may not be enough to irritate the cooler owner, they may shorten the shelf life of the bottles of wine kept.
- It uses a lot of electricity and uses environmentally harmful chemicals in the cooling process, therefore it can’t be considered environmentally friendly.
- Because it contains heavy machinery (the compressor), its mobility is limited. Unless the customer chooses to move it, after it is installed in its designated location, it cannot be moved. It is not possible to move it all of the time.
Thermoelectric Wine Coolers
Outdoor thermoelectric wine coolers are a type of wine cooler that uses electricity to cool the wine. The compressor cooler employs a different technology than this cooler.
It uses an electric current to cool the interior rather than relying on a motor. The design includes an electrolyzed metal rod that creates a temperature differential. To extract this energy from the system, the heated end faces the outside while the cooler end faces the inside.
A modest fan, like the compressor wine cooler, is utilized to circulate the chilled air throughout the cooler.
Back ventilation is also required, as is the case with the compressor cooler, or the cooling strategy will be hampered. However, it requires ventilation on all sides, so the purchaser should keep that in mind.
It cannot be utilized in locations that will become excessively hot because it lacks a compressor. It’s preferable if the weather is mild.
The thermoelectric cooler is somewhat efficient in terms of efficiency. Because it relies on the outside air to cool its interior, it must be stored in a temperate climate. This will ensure that this cooler has the best possible cooling conditions.
- The thermoelectric cooler has no alternating mechanism, motors, or compressors that would cause a lot of noise and vibrations.
- Because there are no moving parts in thermoelectric technology, it is quiet and vibration-free. As a result, it is a better option for preserving wine quality.
- The thermoelectric cooler does not allow for over-freezing.
- When compared to the outside temperature, the equipment will normally reduce the temperature inside the cooler by 50 degrees F to 54 degrees F (or 10 degrees C to 12 degrees C) and retain it at that temperature.
- The thermoelectric cooler is adaptable and can be utilized in a variety of situations.
- Because of its mechanism, it does not consume a lot of energy and can thus be deemed environmentally efficient.
- It is lightweight because it does not have any compressors or other heavy components, making it extremely mobile.
- Because chilling the wine inside takes some time, it’s a good idea to do so ahead of time.
- It is easily influenced by its exterior surroundings. As a result, storing it in a hotter environment will reduce the cooling ability of the inside.
- Unlike the compressor cooler, which can chill the interior to a wide range of degrees, the thermoelectric cooler is less predictable and, like the compressor cooler, is easily influenced by its surrounding temperature.
- Due to its chilling capacity, it can only carry a small number of bottles and works most effectively in a temperate setting.
Single Zone Wine Cooler
This cooler is a single, seamless storage compartment, as the name implies. The temperature is uniformly distributed and maintained throughout the cooler, ensuring that all bottles of wine are kept at the same temperature.
Inside, the racks are designed to hold each bottle separately, allowing for ideal cooling (the bottles do not overlap each other).
Because it only cools to one temperature, the cooling mechanism for this sort of cooler can be either compressor or thermoelectric.
The efficiency of a single zone cooler is determined by the cooling technique used. Because it cools faster and more consistently than the thermoelectric cooler, the compressor cooler is more efficient. However, depending on how and why the wine cooler will be utilized, one isn’t better than the other.
It all comes down to personal preference, just like every other aspect of the wine cooler. The single zone cooler’s operation is based on consistency. As a result, wine connoisseurs can keep the entire cooler at the same temperature all of the time and not have to worry about it fluctuating.
- It is useful for those who are just starting off with their wine collection and only have one type of wine.
- There’s no need to fiddle with the temperature inside because it includes a consistent temperature function.
- Because it only handles one temperature and one type of wine, the single zone cooler is also less costly than other kinds of wine coolers. This type of cooler is ideal for those who only drink one type of wine.
- It cannot contain a variety of wines because to its single-temperature feature.
- This will also pose a difficulty with maturation because the temperature cannot be changed.
- If you a single zone cooler but have a variety of wines, you will need to purchase more than one cooler unit, which can rapidly become costly.
Dual Zone Outdoor Wine Coolers
Inside a dual zone wine cooler, there are normally two independent storage compartments separated by a horizontal or vertical barrier. It can run two different temperatures at the same time because it has two different compartments.
Specially designed racks, similar to the single zone cooler, hold each bottle individually, allowing for more equal cooling. The dual zone cooler, like the single zone, can use thermoelectric or compressor-based cooling.
There’s a good likelihood that two different cooling systems will be used to cool the different compartments when using compressor cooling. With thermoelectric cooling, however, all that is required is a minor change of a thermoelectric rod in each compartment. Because they are so different from manufacturer to manufacturer, these considerations should be taken into account while purchasing.
The efficiency of the dual zone, like the single zone, is entirely dependent on the cooling method used. One is not necessarily better than the other, and it all comes down to personal opinion.
This is the ideal cooler for individuals who are wine connoisseurs of all kinds. There’s no need to bother with temperature controls because the compartments’ temperatures are already established. Wines, both white and red, can be stored separately.
- It’s ideal for folks who enjoy a variety of wines because they may be kept at different temperatures in the same cooler.
- There’s no need to bother with the temps; they’re already set to the ideal temperature.
- The dual zone cooler is ultimately less expensive when it comes to storing many wines at the same time.
- Those who like one type of wine will never use the other, resulting in a waste of space.
- Bottles of wine may not mature correctly if temperatures cannot be altered.
- In terms of size and cost, it represents a substantial investment. The dual zone cooler is more expensive than the single zone cooler, so it may not be the best option unless you plan to store multiple types of wine.
While the primary purpose of an outdoor wine cooler is to provide perfect storage conditions for wine, many come with a slew of other helpful and novel features. Reversible doors, UV-resistant glass, removable shelves, tempered glass, and sensor-touch panels are just a few of the features. Reversible and french door models are also popular. These features are included not just to add flair to the units, but also to make living as simple as possible.
An exterior door lock ensures your collection does not fall into the wrong hands. This is particularly important outdoors as it’s hard to keep an eye on your outdoor kitchen or outdoor bar 24/7.
The quietest wine cooler is one with a thermoelectric technology system as there is no compressor to make noise or vibrations. If you are concerned about wine cooler noise spoiling your outdoor gatherings, that is the type to get.
Does an outdoor wine cooler need humidification? There are very few outdoor wine coolers which feature active humidification systems. This feature, found mostly in indoor wine cooler cabinets, is not needed in most outdoor climates.
The humidity and temperature outside where the outdoor wine cooler is positioned determine this. Corks may dry out over time if the air surrounding the wine bottles is excessively dry (below roughly 50%). As a result, oxygen enters the bottles. As soon as this happens, the wine oxidizes and becomes stale. It is important to note that wine bottles must be placed on their sides. The explanation for this is because the corks in the bottles are continually moistened by the wine and hence remain tight even after long periods of storage. Corks of higher quality endure dry air better than corks of lower quality.
Humidity is regulated passively in standard outdoor wine coolers. Refrigeration-induced condensation is utilized to achieve the desired humidity level in the cabinet (60 percent or higher).
If the outside temperature is 57° F. or lower, the wine cooler will only work partially or not at all. As a result, condensation fails to provide the needed extra humidity. If the air becomes much colder, the cooler’s built-in heating system kicks in. The situation becomes considerably more challenging as the heating process dries up the inside chamber. Alternatively, during the winter months, the ambient air temperature becomes progressively dry. Naturally, this lowers the humidity in the wine cooler.
In such instances, passive humidity through condensation is insufficient or non-existent (if there is no refrigeration condensation is not formed). Active air humidification should be considered (such as adding a bowl of water inside the unit), and the humidity level should be measured using a hygrometer.
Freestanding vs Undercounter (Built-in)
Outside freestanding wine coolers are ideal for garages since they require less venting, whereas outdoor built-in types must be front-vented or have proper air-flow panels (unless you want warmer wine that spoils faster). Keep UV light and radiant heat as far away from those priceless vintages as possible using shade.
Built in outdoor wine coolers can be installed in an outdoor kitchen cabinet, grill island, or outdoor bar.
Wine coolers are available in a variety of forms and sizes, with internal capacity ranging from 6 to 150 capacity wine bottles. For your outdoor kitchen, are you looking for a good, mid-size undercounter style? Your wine capacity requirements will be determined by what you intend to use the unit for; whatever those requirements are, there will always be a wine cooler to meet them. Just make sure the location you’re going to put it in can handle the weight before you fill it.
Different models of outdoor wine fridges have differing sizes and capacities even though they are approximately the same size:
|24″ French Door
|24″ Single Door
|24″ Diamond Racking
Who should get an outdoor wine cooler?
Outdoor wine coolers are a great way to add style and personality to your outdoor kitchen or outdoor bar while also keeping your wines in the best possible condition. You’ll need to know what you’re going to utilize the wine cooler for before you choose one. Chilling wine before drinking and aging wine are two common applications.
The amount and quality of your wine collection will determine whether or not a wine cooler is worthwhile. If you are a wine connoisseur who has accumulated 15 or more bottles of wine over the years, a wine cooler may be worthwhile. The wine cooler will guarantee that these bottles are kept in the finest possible circumstances so that they can age to their full potential. If these bottles are simply placed on a shelf or kept in conventional refrigerators, they will be exposed to a variety of environmental factors, which will affect their taste. A wine cooler will also add an added layer of domestic organization, which can be very handy, especially if your wine inventory is starting to take over your living area.
Furthermore, if you have a particularly valuable wine collection, you’ll want to make sure it’s kept in the best condition. While a wine cooler is a significant expenditure, if it means preserving some of your most valuable and expensive wines, it is unquestionably worthwhile.
Why should you get an outdoor wine cooler?
The recommended temperature for storing wine varies greatly depending on the type of wine. An outdoor refrigerator cannot maintain these temperatures.
White wine, for example, should be stored at a temperature of 46 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas red wine should be stored at a temperature of 60 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A wine cooler’s aim is to guarantee that these ideal temperatures are attained and maintained. They accomplish this by using a compressor or thermoelectric energy to circulate a consistent, stable flow of air throughout the cooler, ensuring that the desired and balanced temperature is maintained. Wine coolers featuring dual temperature zones or dual zone technology, which allows you to store multiple types of wine in a single device, are also available. An outdoor home wine refrigerator or also protects the wine from UV rays, humidity, and vibrations, all of which can cause the wine to be damaged and eventually ruined.
Where should you put an outdoor wine cooler?
When it comes to purchasing a wine cooler, the most important decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a freestanding or built-in/undercounter one. The sort of wine cooler you select will be entirely determined by your personal preferences, the size of your wine collection, and the amount of available space in your outdoor kitchen or bar.
Where to Locate Outdoor Freestanding Wine Fridges
Wine coolers that are freestanding are designed to be placed away from other surfaces and appliances. Because these units are meant to dissipate heat from the back, they must be placed with enough space around them on all sides and back. The unit will not be able to circulate air adequately if the vents are obstructed, thus it is critical that it is properly positioned. There are many freestanding units available on the market that are ideal for keeping large wine collections. They’re wonderful because they provide you a lot of freedom in terms of where you can put them and they’re really simple to set up.
Where to Put Builtin Wine Coolers
Built-in wine coolers are designed to be actually ‘built-in’ to cabinets, as the name suggests, and these undercounter outdoor wine coolers are extremely popular. These coolers are fantastic because they are made to blend in with your outdoor kitchen or bar without detracting from the overall aesthetic. Built-in units may be placed practically anywhere as long as they are protected from movement and UV rays. Because they dissipate heat from the front of the unit rather than the back, they can be placed virtually anyplace. If necessary, they can also be erected as independent units.
When should you consider an outdoor wine cooler?
If you are building a complete outdoor kitchen or bar, the time to pick an outdoor wine cooler is before you frame the counters. The cutout dimensions will vary from model to model, even those with the same bottle capacities.
If your outdoor kitchen or bar island is already built, a freestanding unit might be less labor-intensive and will do the job just as well as a built in unit.
How do you install and outdoor wine cooler?
Outdoor wine coolers that are freestanding are known for being exceedingly easy to operate. Typically, all you need to do is pick a suitable, secure location for the unit, plug it in, and turn it on. As a result, you should always examine the wine cooler’s instruction booklet before using it and follow their directions.
It can be a little more difficult to install undercounter wine coolers.
Depending on how ‘built-in’ your wine cooler is, you may need to hire a pro to assist you with the installation. With that stated, if you are simply installing the wine cooler among other appliances, you will most likely be able to do so yourself. To do so, simply follow these simple instructions:
1. Tools – You’ll need a tape measure, a level, a screwdriver, and, if your model doesn’t come with adjustable feet, scrap wood or shims.
2. Make sure your power supply is in good working order and that your cooler is close to an electrical outlet. Extension cables should not be used since they can cause electrical dangers.
3. Next, use your tape measure to measure the area where you want to put the cooler, making sure that no vents will be obstructed and that there is enough room for the door to open fully. After that, you may place your outdoor wine cooler in the area that has been prepared.
4. Finally, use the level to make sure the cooler is totally flat. You’ll need to reposition the unit’s feet or use shims to level it out if the bottles are somewhat uneven or rolling over.
5. Wait around 2 hours before turning on the cooler to ensure that the cooling ingredient has settled completely.
Maintenance of An Outdoor Wine Cooler
How to Clean Your Wine Cooler
When cleaning the outdoor wine cooler, there are a few things to remember.
The first step for cleaning a wine cooler is to turn it off before attempting to clean it. This will reduce the risk of an electric shock. Check out non-abrasive cleaning products and cleaning agents when deciding what kind of cleaners to choose for it. This prevents the cooler from being scratched throughout the operation. If at all feasible, make a mild dishwashing liquid and warm water solution at home.
The racks, which, aside from the mechanism, are arguably the most crucial portion of the wine cooler, should always be handled with particular caution. If these are ruined, it will be difficult to store bottles of wine, and the owner may have to look into replacement racks, which may be costly.
Make sure to clean both the outside and the inside. Maintaining the shine on the outside of the wine cooler will ensure that it lasts longer.
Before putting it back together after a thorough cleaning, make sure to let the cooler air out for several minutes.
Basic Maintenance Checklist
Check for any maintenance concerns that need to be addressed. Proper maintenance is critical to the wine cooler’s longevity.
So, while you’re cleaning it, double-check all of the other components to ensure they’re in functioning order. If not, take care of them as soon as possible. Allowing the problems to simmer will only make them worse.
In general, a good scrubbing of the wine cooler is required once or twice a year. Of course, it should be cleaned more frequently if it is used more frequently or if an accident occurs, such as a bottle shattering.
Any wine leaks should never be left untreated. Leaks, like unaddressed maintenance concerns, can lead to far larger and more difficult-to-resolve problems.
Cleaning is an essential element of having a wine cooler, despite the fact that it may appear to be a little task.
Taking everything into account, setting up and maintaining a wine cooler isn’t difficult. It will endure a very long time if the maintenance, including cleaning, is done on a regular basis.
An stunning bottle of wine is always a showstopper, whether you’re celebrating a milestone or simply enjoying the company of friends and family. The intense red berry tastes, floral scents, and savory accents meant to be relished each and every glass are preserved by proper wine storage.