Wine coolers come in two forms, both as an alcoholic drink and a special refrigerator to house our favorite bottles of wine, but do these items freeze? Wine has a deeply rooted history throughout society, dating back as far as the written word supposedly.
It's no secret that wine is something favored by many and with such popularity, tech has driven to cater to that desire. While the exact history of a wine cooler refrigerator can't be pinpointed, the first wine cooler beverage is thought to have come out around 1981. Are wine coolers like other alcoholic beverages when it comes to freezing? Does modern wine cooler fridge tech get cold enough to freeze?
Wine coolers meant to keep wine or wine coolers at an optimal temperature can freeze if not maintained properly. When these appliances freeze, anything inside can get a build-up of ice particles. Specifically, too much ice formation can cause the corks on bottled wine to slowly release. For the beverage of wine coolers, they are known to freeze, but mostly into slushy messes.
With both types of coolers having the potential to freeze, knowing how to properly store delicious beverages is a key factor. This applies to both the home appliance and the beverage as they each have their own set of rules for desirable results. Let's take a look at both variations and determine how to approach both items!
- Wine Cooler Fridges
As expressed before, the tech behind keeping one of the world's oldest beloved beverage cool has come a long way. Traditionally wine cellars started as caverns with jarred wine lining the walls.
This was the ideal condition for perfected wine not only to age its taste but to also to ensure it was the proper temperature.
Keeping wine at the right temperature aids in retaining its taste and making it more pleasant to drink. The magic temperature for wine is around 55 degrees. While this can range between 45 and 65 degrees, 55 is considered to be the best result for bottles of wines or even wine coolers for that matter.
The reason that temperature control is so important is that too much fluxation in the temperature will provide slushed wine or wine that has aged too much. While aged wine does taste better, especially the longer it ages, it cannot be stored above 65 to 70 degrees or the aging process speeds up. A wine that ages too quickly will taste unpleasant.
However, an appliance that is not working properly can result in improper temperatures. This can mean the internal temperature of the appliance can go below the 45 degrees or higher than 65 degrees.
When would this occur? Well, as with any home appliance, proper maintenance and inspections should be conducted to ensure it is operating at its best. In the case of these appliances, there are two specific types, thermoelectric and compressor, and each can have changes in temperatures that result in slight freezing or warmth.
Thermoelectric coolers are generally more preferred by consumers. These devices operate by an electric current that creates a difference in the temperature of the internal part of the cooler and the external. Due to this aspect, these types are not known to freeze. However, the temperature will be affected if the external climate changes too drastically.
Compressor based coolers are the culprits for possible freezing. While the freezing is not a dramatic artic wave, it is enough to cause havoc on wine or wine cooler beverages.
Simply put, compressor-based coolers operate by compressing air and then releasing it to create a specific temperature. If this component is not properly maintained, then the reduction of the climate can drop to freezing temps.
Referring back to the cork issue, while freezing can cause the cork to dislodge, so can the fluxation in temperature. Quickly going from cold to hot or hot to cold will cause the cork to become loose.
This will make the wine taste differently. Ensuring that the temperature of any wine cooler fridge is consistent is the key to storing bottles of precious wine.
While the temperature is a huge factor to consider while looking at the wine cooler fridge, the overall design of them is critical as well.
They are designed to store bottles sideways, just as if they were being stored in a traditional underground wine cellar. This is not done for cosmetic appeal, there is an legit reasoning behind this form of storage. Laying bottles on their sides keeps the corks wet, which is how the wine stays fresh. A wet cork expands, creating an airtight seal for ideal freshness.
Another aspect of these appliances is that there is no light in them as traditional fridges tend to have. If they do happen to have one, it emits very low light. But why?
Taking a glance at any wine bottle will show that the wine is placed in a darkly colored bottle to block any light out. This design helps to recreate the "cellar" effect of being in a dark place.
Lastly, wine cooler fridges are compact. The close the wine bottles are together (or beverage wine coolers), the better. This prevents movement which can cause chemical reactions within the wine.
Constant shifting around or vibration can truly affect the overall taste of a wine. The compact nature of a wine cooler fridge is to keep them close-knitted together.
- Wine Coolers as a Beverage
When it comes to storing wine cooler beverages, the range of perfect temperature still applies, as these will become the slushy mess. It's a common misconception that freezing these beverages will create an "adult slushie".
While that is partially true, the consistency will not be the same as what is in the machines at the local gas station or liquor store. There are special slushy kits that can react differently to temperatures and give the proper consistency when it comes to adult slushes.
They can be kept in a regular refrigerator, however, those home appliances are meant to store quite a variety of foods. This means the temperature will vary quite significantly and could affect the overall taste.
While wine cooler fridges are usually for large bottles of wine, both inexpensive or expensive, they can be used for wine cooler beverages. These beverages don't contain too much actual wine, clocking in at about only a 6% alcohol content whereas regular wine bottles have up to 20% in them. But wine is wine, all the same, so having a wine beverage, cooler or not, taste great is no crime, to say the least.
Do Wine Coolers Have to be Refrigerated?
Due to their low alcohol content, wine coolers should be refrigerated as they cannot withstand room temperature climate. They are generally considered to be a fermented beverage, therefore having a much lower alcohol content than other spirits. To ensure the best quality beverage and the best tasting, stick it in the fridge, especially if there's a wine cooler fridge.
The alcohol content of spirits is literally everything when it comes to examining whether or not something should be put in a fridge. Many people think any alcohol should be chilled, but that is not necessarily true.
Things like vodka with much higher alcoholic contents tend to taste smoother if kept on a shelf. One way to think about this concept is to walk into a bar or somewhere that serves alcohol.
What's the first thing that people see? The bartender has a backdrop of shelves lined with various liquors and spirits...that are not in the fridge! This is because they mix well and taste better at room temperature.
However, beverages like wine or wine coolers with a significantly lower alcohol content will hold up much better in their controlled climates within a fridge.
What Temperature Will Freeze Wine?
Wine is known to freeze anywhere up to 23 degrees, however this only when its been at these temperatures for at least a two-hour duration.
Alcohol, in general, has a lower freezing point than water. While water can take up to 4 hours to fully freeze, alcohol can freeze a bit quicker, still around the two hour to three-hour mark.
Other alcohols are known to freeze at different temps than wine. For example, the higher the alcohol content of a spirit, the lower the temperature needs to be to freeze.
Once again, consider the reasons behind trying to freeze an alcoholic beverage. Wine will be affected and sticking to the temp guidelines will always provide the best glass possible. For spirits, shelf life is the best life and will just be smoother in taste. Ensuring these ideal conditions are met will prevent any mishaps from occurring to a good bottle of spirits!
Do Wine Coolers Have Humidity Control?
Most wine coolers do not have humidity control, but models in a higher price range can have this feature. To make up for not having humidity control in their design, basic wine coolers will have double-paned glass doors to an attempt to increase insulation.
Why does humidity matter when it comes to storing wine? Well, simply put, it all comes full circle to the cork! This little brown piece in wine bottles is truly the savior when it comes to perfect wine.
It literally protects the wine. For the same reason the cork should stay wet, the humidity of where it is stored will cause the cork to expand or contract. The basic, run of the mill wine cooler will have a humidity percentage of around 40%, which is low, making for ideal conditions.
How Long Should Wine Age?
Depending on the type of wine, the aging process will yield different results, making the aging process range anywhere from 3 to 15 years! Perfectly preserved corks and proper climate controlled wines can age longer, making for even better tasting results. However, the key is keeping it within optimal conditions.
To really assess the aging protocol for certain wines, consider the type of wine. White wines, for example, can range from 3 to 7 years while red wines are known to be best around 3 to 5 years. However, red wines are possibly the best wines to age for longer periods of time, known to be aged for decades.
Can Wine Coolers Be Used for Other Items?
While it may be tempting to stick something other than wine in a wine cooler, other items just do not hold up as well in these appliances. They often need to be kept drastically different temperatures, hence why regular refrigerators operate at various temperatures than a wine cooler. They are designed to accommodate many types of foods while wine coolers are designed for...well wine!
It can be perfectly fine to stick a can of soda or a bottle of water in a wine cooler, but one should not get too carried away. Things like dairy have strict temperature regulations for tasting the best and to keep from spoiling. For example, milk needs to be below 40 degrees.
No matter what, wine coolers have come a long way from century-old methods of storing wine. Although, those old methods are still practical when it comes to considering the proper temperature that wine should be kept at!