The 7 Best Built In Wine Cellars
7. SMAD Dual Zone
- double tempered glass
- black interior reduces light damage
- slightly confusing controls
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. Danby DWC276BLS
- wide temperature range
- semi-flush cupped door handle
- slightly overpriced option
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. Whynter BWR-281DZ
- locks shut with a key as needed
- open door warning system
- smaller capacity than brand claims
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
4. Wine Enthusiast Classic
- built-in led illumination
- easy touchscreen controls
- motor is rather noisy
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
3. 166-Bottle EdgeStar
- tinted glass reduces uv damage
- reversible door
- can be used built-in or freestanding
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Allavino VSWR56-1SSLN
- slender shelves maximize capacity
- smooth ball-bearing tracks
- soft blue interior illumination
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
1. NewAir AWR-290DB Compact
- low vibrations won't stir sediment
- easily adjustable shelves
- securely sealing door
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
Nectar Of The Gods
Wine has played an important role in human culture for thousands of years. As early as 7000 B.C.E., the ancient Chinese were fermenting beverages from combinations of grapes and grains. Early wines enjoyed immense popularity throughout the middle east, and then spread westward. More recently, France has become renowned for its wines, with vineyards and recipes passed down for generations. This amazing beverage eventually caught on across the world in places like Argentina and California, far away in both time and distance from wine's birthplace.
In fact, there's more direct access to winemakers than ever thanks to an uptick in boutique vineyards across the country. While California does produce about 90 percent of wine in the USA, grapes are actually grown and fermented in every single state. So, it's no surprise that wine tasting is experiencing something of a renaissance right now.
So, what's the big deal about this glorified grape juice? For starters, ethanol is a well-known byproduct of fermentation. Adults across the world can attest to the euphoric short-term effects of alcohol that make for a good wine buzz. But it's not just the mind-altering capabilities that have made this the important drink that it is.
The subtle differences in different strains of grapes, as well as the complexities of fermentation, mean there are countless chemicals in the beverage responsible for its various aromas. In addition to the chemical makeup providing an interesting tasting experience, the flavors in wines chemically interact with the way we taste food. For this reason, wine tasting and pairing are fields with not only a strong social following, but also high-paying jobs as sommeliers and food and beverage managers in high-end culinary outfits.
The Complex World Of Fermented Grapes
Most people have heard a so-called wine expert wax poetic about strong legs, subtle notes of vanilla, and an oaken aftertaste. Aficionados use hundreds of different superlatives to describe the flavor and mouthfeel of different varieties. To the untrained palate, these claims can seem lofty or even downright fantastical. But with practice and a basic understanding of these flavors, anyone can find their preferred flavors.
So, why does a grape-derived beverage smell and taste like cherries, smoke, or leather? The answer lies in the many facets of agriculture, as well as the fermentation process itself.
The varietal of grape affects the basic flavor of any end product. Different strains of the fruit have infinitely-varying combinations of chemicals that affect flavors, whether those chemicals are sugars, tannins, or others. On top of the actual genetics is a multitude of factors influencing plant growth, like growing season length, climate, sunlight, soil nutrients, and acidity — the list goes on, offering great insight into why so many wines are unique.
Diverse wine aromas are so interesting because they're so pointedly reminiscent of other foods. It turns out that fermentation naturally produces acids that bond with flavorful chemicals, creating esters that closely resemble in structure and flavor those found in other strong aromas from totally unrelated foods. This is why a pinot grigio can have overtones of peach without an actual peach ever having approached the vineyard.
What To Do With Your New Collection
Of course, the very best and most sensible place to put any wine is in a glass, on a table, next to a savory piece of meat or fish. But in between classy dinner-parties and romantic, candle-lit nights, good wine needs to be stored properly to really shine. Different varieties need different temperatures, and failure to properly store many wines will degrade their quality, sometimes pretty quickly.
White wines are served chilled, while red wines are generally served at or near room temperature, with one caveat: room temperature refers not to the dining room itself, but the coldest room in the house. And the perfect temperature also varies within the colors themselves. When poured, most wines bloom over a small range of as little as 2 degrees Fahrenheit, so having control of the climate in which you store your bottles is of utmost importance to getting all the right flavors out of each glass.
What does that mean for the avid enthusiast? For one thing, it means don't store your fine wine in the refrigerator.
Compared to the temperature at which most wine should be served, fridges are too cold. Also, they're extremely dry, and have a tendency to desiccate the corks used to bottle some high-end wines. This could allow oxygen to seep into the bottle, turning the product sour and, ultimately, into vinegar.
What the sensitivity of this complex drinks means to the collector is that you'll need a *dedicated place to store it. Luckily, there's a large selection of top-quality options for storing your wine properly.
Built-in wine cellars come in either under-counter or larger, almost refrigerator-sized styles. The main feature that sets these built-in models apart from standard wine coolers is front ventilation; this lets you permanently install a unit where that old trash compactor was, or in the corner next to your side-by-side upright freezer and fridge combo, without having to provide additional ventilation space behind or next to the unit.
Further options you'll choose from on your search for wine storage are the number of individual temperature zones, locking doors, UV-protected windows, digital controls, and attractive lighting setups. You'll also find that larger units that use compressors (much like a common refrigerator) are much more effective than light-duty thermoelectric models at maintaining temperature, but make more noise, use more energy, and dry out their atmosphere more. And if you're looking at a larger, standalone-style, self-enclosed wine cellar, you'll definitely need that extra cooling power.
So, enjoy your journey in the intricate and subtle field of wine. This culturally significant Veblen good is a great way to complement and enhance social and culinary interactions in any walk of life. And the right bottle will hold its delicious flavor and appreciate in value over time — as long as you store it right.