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Wine Facts

Once you have purchased wine, whether it's a few bottles or several cases, the issue of storage must be addressed. Since most wine is consumed within 24 to 48 hours of purchase, for many wine lovers a small rack away from a direct heat source provides an ideal solution. If you plan to collect fine wines that benefit from additional bottle maturation, proper storage is essential. Before choosing a space be sure it will be large enough to accommodate future purchases. In some cases, vacant space beneath a stairway is sufficient, in others it may be necessary to allow for hundreds of wines stored both as individually racked bottles and full cases.

One of wine's greatest enemies is extreme heat. Temperatures greater than 70 degrees Fahrenheit will age a wine more quickly, and can also "cook" a wine until the fruit character becomes blunted, resulting in flat aromas and flavors. Equally important is the rate at which temperature changes. Rapid temperature fluctuations may cause pressure changes within a bottle, forcing the cork upwards and allowing leaks while permitting air to enter the bottle. Air is another of wine's enemies. Any prolonged exposure will lead to oxidation, which produces a brownish color and Sherry-like flavors.

Therefore it is important to have a cool space with constant temperature for long-term storage. Bottles should be kept from direct sunlight, preferably in darkness, and should be stored on their sides, either in cases or racked.

The proper level of humidity is a more controversial subject but the experts agree that it is only a concern for long-term storage. Some experts advocate a constant humidity of 70 percent to prevent corks from drying out, while others maintain that if a bottle is on its side, the cork is constantly in contact with moisture inside the bottle and external humidity is ineffectual.

Recommended Wine Serving Temperatures

  Types of Wine F
  Beaujolais 54
  Bordeaux 63
  Burgandy 59
  Champagne 46
  Chianti 59
  Dry White Wines 48
  Red Zinfandel 59
  Rose 48
  Sherry 52
  Sparkling Wines 41
  Sweet White Wines 42

What You Should Know About Wine Refrigerators:

What is the difference between a FreeStanding Unit and a Built In model?

To begin, it's important to know that any wine refrigerator can be built in to a space or can remain free standing. However, there are several things you should know before you make your final purchase.

Wine refrigerators that are classified as "Built In" are able to vent or breathe through the front of the unit. This means that if you build one of these units into a cabinet, you will not have to leave any room around the sides, top, or back for the unit to vent. You will generally pay more for this type of unit because of the front breathing technology. So if you are just looking for a stand alone by itself, it's less expensive to go for a "Free Standing" unit.

Wine refrigerators that are classified as FreeStanding require room around the sides, back, and top to vent the warm air that is produced by the cooling mechanism. You can always put a freestanding unit under a counter or into cabinetry. If building into a cabinet or under counter, you must leave a minimum 1-2"gap on each side and 4-5" in the back. If you need a unit to be built in with zero clearance you will need to purchase a Built In model.

Are wine refrigerators suitable for storing other beverages?

You can use your wine refrigerator to store beverages such as beer or sodas. However you should know that wine refrigerators do not get as cold as standard refrigerators. Normal refrigerators generally get as cold as 34- 36 degrees. Wine refrigerators usually can maintain around a 40 degree temperature at their lowest setting.

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