Imagine: It’s a gorgeous summer evening, and you are enjoying the balmy night out on your patio. Some delicious salmon is sizzling gently on the braai, and a crunchy baby leaf salad, and some freshly prepared mango and red onion salsa are waiting on the side-lines. The only thing missing is a glass of honeyed, toasty chardonnay with a rich oak flavour – not too chilled, not too tepid, but as Goldilocks said, just right.
Plucking a bottle directly from your fridge will chill the wine to the point when its subtler flavours are unrecognisable. However, if you have had the foresight to invest in a wine cooler, the chardonnay will be cooled to the point of perfection, so that you can taste and thoroughly enjoy its delicate hints of mango and pineapple on the palette. Now all you have to do is to sit back and enjoy the perfect pairing in the perfect setting.
Says Liam Gawne from leading kitchen appliance manufacturer, Miele: “Wine storage units are different from standard fridges – their job is to control the humidity and maintain a perfect and stable temperature for the wine being stored. The length of time that you can enjoy a wine’s rich flavour depends largely on the conditions of its storage.”
He says that for any wine aficionado, a wine storage unit is a must, and offers the following pointers for those looking to invest in one:
It is important to give some consideration to where you will be placing your wine storage unit – if it is in your kitchen or near to your living space, you will want to invest in a unit that not only functions well, but one that also looks good and operates silently.
2. Built-in or Freestanding
Freestanding units are great for those with lots of extra space. However, if space is at a premium, then you should consider under-counter or built-in eye-level models that can be integrated into your cabinetry for better space-saving design.
3. Look at the Cooling Technology
Look at the cooling technology, and since the unit will be located in your home, ensure that it offers noiseless and vibration-free operation. In addition to temperature, air humidity is also an important factor for perfect storage conditions of wine. With Miele’s Dynamic Cooling, an integrated fan that uniformly circulates the air, you can be sure of optimum distribution and control of both temperature and air humidity.
4. Temperature Zones
Red, white, rosè and sparkling – there are endless varieties of different wines, each with their own specific storage requirements. To cater for these different requirements, it is advisable to invest in a wine cooler that offers different temperature zones that allows you to store a variety of different types of wines.
Make sure your wine units are fitted with up to three temperature zones that can be controlled separately from one another — each storing a particular type of wine.
5. Air Filters
Wines need to be stored in an environment that is not only cold, but that is also odourless, which is why an effective air filter is an important feature in any wine storage unit.
6. Size Matters
As a general rule of thumb, space permitting, it is advisable to invest in a wine unit that can hold at least twice as many bottles as you currently have. You will find that the storage space fills up quickly, especially if you are on the constant lookout for buying good wines. In the long run, it pays to invest in a large wine storage unit from the onset, so that you don’t end up having to invest in 2 or 3 smaller wine storage units down the line.
7. Interior Lighting
With any good quality wine storage unit, you will need to see what wines you have stored inside. However, it is important that this lighting does not interfere with accurate temperature and humidity control.
8. UV Protection
UV rays can cause chemical reactions in wines, so choose a model that offers UV filters on its glass doors. For example, the glass doors on Miele’s range of wine coolers are made of tinted safety glass with integrated UV filter. This allows your wine to be stored with optimum protection from any harmful UV rays.
9. Quality and Longevity
Check the lifespan and guarantee before you make your purchase decision. At the end of the day – more often than not, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is true. So it is wise to invest in the best wine storage unit that you can afford – after all, you will be entrusting it with your valuable wine collection.
Visit www.miele.co.za to find out more or to find a retailer closest to you. Miele’s wine storage units comprise of:
The integrated MasterCool KWT1612Vi, which retails for R180 000.
The freestanding KWT6834, which retails for R90 000.
The built-under KWT6322UG, which retails for R45 000.
The eye-level KWT6112iG, which retails for R40 000.
Note: Prices as at August 2017.