I suspect, if you are anything like I was a few years ago, you probably stored, both, your alcoholic drinks and wines on a shelf in the kitchen or dining room. And probably stashed drinks that need cooling in an ordinary refrigerator.
Whether you are a wine lover or love to entertain, a bar cabinet can really add that special touch to your home.
Let’s take a look at why having a wine / bar cabinet is such a great idea as well as explore buying tips and where to find the best deals.
Understanding the Types of Wine and Liquor Cabinets
Wine Bar Cabinet, Wine Coolers, Drinks Cabinets, Liquor Cabinets Whats the Difference?
Unfortunately different people have different names for the same product. On the other hand there are a range of products that are for very specific purposes. A liquor cabinet for example isn’t really the same as a wine cabinet – and a wine cabinet isn’t the same thing necessarily as a wine cooler cabinet. Add to the mix that there are also wine cooler bars, wine fridges, beer fridges, liquor bars and wet bars and dry bar cabinets, and you have a complete mix.
The key is to understand one of three things:
- Do you need to keep your alcohol cool?
- Do you need a display that is both functional and aesthetic?
- What alcohol are you storing?
Wine for example needs to be stored at the right temperature. And for that some sort of cooling cabinet or fridge like behaviour with temperature control is necessary. Most liquor doesnt need to be stored in cooling drinks cabinets, but if you live in a hot environment, then you may need to regulate the temperature.
Pantry vs Bar & Wine Cabinets
Many people will store their wine bottles and glass in regular kitchen cabinets or in the pantry. That can be okay but if you want style and better convenience then you are going to need some type of home bar cabinet. Often the kitchen cabinets are full of other items so it can be difficult to fit what you need in them. A decent under the counter coolers works really well, as do corner drinks cabinets.
Wines need to be kept cool – white wines taste best when served between 5 and 12 degrees, and red tastes best at 15. With the average room temperature at 23 degrees and the average fridge temperature between 2 and 5 degrees (either too high or too low!), the logical solution is to get a wine cooler to keep your wine at the perfect temperature.
There are many solutions for keeping your wine collection cool. Wine coolers can come in different shapes, sizes and styles to suit your home and decor. The most popular styles of wine coolers for sale are wine refrigerators and wine cooling units, although many people buy smaller wine coolers for home use..
The refrigerator style wine cooler is ideal if you have a small to medium collection of wine bottles that you want to keep at the optimum temperature.
The refrigerator style wine cooler is ideal if you don’t have a wine cellar or separate space to store your bottles. Refrigerator coolers are great for keeping in your kitchen next to a fridge freezer, on a kitchen counter or underneath a base unit. Rather than having to leave guests alone to hunt for a bottle of wine in your cellar, this is the far more convenient cooling solution.
From basic refrigerator style designs to the more sophisticated touch screen or single serving dispensers now on the market, these coolers come at a range of prices and are the perfect addition to a modern kitchen. Always read reviews of even the best wine refrigerators.
Wine Cooling Units (or Wine Cooling Cabinets / Wine Coolers)
The best wine cooling solution for connoisseurs; cooling units are ideal for you if you have a large space to cool your wine such as a wine cellar or separate storage space.
Buying a cooling unit to keep all your bottles at the right temperature is the much more cost effective solution for keeping a big collection cool. Usually free-standing or connected to a cellar wall, there are various types such as air-cooled systems, water-cooled systems, through-wall systems and humidification systems.
Cooling units are perfect for your home if you already have the space to store a large wine collection. People that buy wine and consume it within a few weeks of its purchase should use refrigerated wine coolers. However, if you are a collector of fine wines, own more than 300 bottles (for example) and plan to see growth in your collection, then getting a cooling unit installed in your wine cellar will suit you better. Cooling units can monitor temperature and humidity in larger spaces and can keep your wines at the perfect level for consumption, whether you decide to drink them now or in a few years time.
Benefits of Proper Drinks Cabinets
- Better Space management – You will be adding some extra storage space to your overall kitchen.
- Aesthetic Beauty – Increase the overall attractiveness of your kitchen.
Decisions influencing the Choice of Wine Bar Cabinets
When it comes to buying a bar cabinet, there are a lot of different choices that you will have to consider. Several factors influence your buying decision:
- Size of Room – you need to make sure that the wine cabinet compliments the size of the room, rather than overpower it.
- Type of Decor – As you can image, most wine cabinets come in many styles, from retro to simplistic modern. Aim for something that matches your decor style.
- Frequency and Volume of use – If you frequently have a lot of guests over and serve wine or other alcohol beverages often, then you would want one that is big enough to accommodate your drinks.
- Storage Requirements – Typically, you would also have different compartments in the cabinet such as drawers, wine glass holders, and wine bottle holders. You can get bar cabinets that will hold several dozen bottles of wine but these take up a lot of room or you can aim for a mini bar cabinet that holds less but will not take up room.
- Location – Another thing you will want to take into consideration when buying one of these cabinets is where you are going to be placing it. This may dictate both, size and type.
What is the difference between a wet bar and a dry bar?
These both refer to dedicated bar “areas” and not a simple installation. These definitions apply to “bars” rather than single pieces of bar furniture. The simplest explanation is the easiest.A wet bar is a bar area that has a sink with a drain and water. the size of it, its structure etc doesn’t matter, as long as a sink is present and the area is used as a “bar” whether regularly or only occasionally, then that area can be referred to as a “wet bar”.
A home wet bar is usually built either in kitchen areas or in basements or man caves. as long as the room has running water and a draining pipe, a wet bar can be fairly easily built in most homes and is a popular DIY project. A wet bar is made up a range of parts, from a wine cooler to a liquor cabinet to fridges and display cabinets. See our guide on buying the right wet bar cabinets.
If you don’t have room in your kitchen for another cabinet, you can install one of those wet bar cabinet conversions that will allow you to hold your wine bottles and glasses. See our guide on organizing your bar cabinets.
You can also add a corner bar cabinet that will make use of the corner of your kitchen or basement where you might not have anything there.
The Importance of Storing Good Wine Properly.
What the average person doesn’t appreciate, is that wine changes, influenced by its surroundings. The only way to avoid destroying the taste and flavor of your wine, is to store it the way it is meant to be stored. Read our guide on proper storage of wine.
Wine ages faster if it is stored above recommended storage temperature.
The very simple rules to keep in mind:
- Stick to the recommended temperature – if you allow your wine to cool well beyond suggested levels, you may find it condensing deposits.
- Where possible, bottles that came with a cork, should be stored with the cork, and placed on the side so as to allow some moisture to the cork.
- Keep away from warmth. If you allow the wine to be stored in a higher than suggested temperature, it will age too quickly destroying its flavor.
Getting a wine bar cabinet might or might not be something for you depending on your needs but if you are in the market for one, then one place you will definitely want to look for them is online. By doing this, you would be able to compare the different models and types that are available as well as run some price comparison in order to find the best deals.
Benefits of Buying a Wine Cooler
If you are a relatively new wine collector you may be wondering why you should go and splash out on an expensive wine cooler for your home. Aside from the fact that these units look really posh in your home and make an excellent job of showing off your wine collection they do have some serious benefits over using a traditional fridge.
Many wines need to be left for months/years/decades to mature properly and in order for them to actually do that they need to be left undisturbed.
Inside any wine bottle there are various particles and sediments floating around and these need to settle on the bottom. This is critical for the wine to age correctly. You can imagine how often your kitchen refrigerator is opened every day and therefore is no good really for storing wine. Even the vibrations from the motor can have an affect. Wine cooler manufacturers know this so any decent wine cooler is fitted with a thermoelectric motor which contains no moving parts and keeps vibrations to an absolute minimum.
Any decent wine cooler is fitted with a thermoelectric motor
You will learn as you become more experienced that different wines require different storage conditions for best results. This means you will end up with bottles in the fridge, in the cupboard, under the sink and just about everywhere else you could think of! Wine coolers normally feature zones which can be controlled independently allowing you to keep all sorts of different wines in one unit. This makes life so much easier as you can expect better results having such control over your wines. You can also keep the temperature and humidity at a constant level without any fluctuations.
Wine does not like sunlight at all, in fact, the suns rays are capable of completely destroying a perfectly good bottle of wine in a very short time. This is why people stored their wines in the basement or cellar going right back to the Roman Times. With building costs so high these days it is just not feasible for most people to build their own wine cellar! Wine coolers normally have UV resistant glass fitted which means you can keep your wine anywhere in your home, even near windows and doors which would normally be a bad idea!
Finally, although this may be obvious to most people, wine refrigerators have the bottles in the correct configuration. You should always ensure you keep your collection stored in a horizontal position and not standing vertical on the base of the bottle. This keeps the wine surrounding the cork and keeps the bottle sealed. If the cork is allowed to dry out then it can possible shrink allowing air into the bottle. If this happens you will probably end up throwing that bottle away as the contents will be spoiled.
I hope this article explained why buying one of these products is essential to any serious wine collector and can really help you limit the amount of wine you have to throw away due to spoiling. Please feel free to comment or use the contact form to ask me any other questions you may have.