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Treat your wine and beer right – and keep everything perfectly chill for the holidays!

Wine connoisseurs would never be without one. Even those who haven’t given much thought to getting one can see their value during the holidays, when a heavy rotation of special meals and gatherings quickly stack fridges to their rafters.

We’ve all been there. It’s the perfect time to open a special bottle . . . if you can find it in among the chilled appetizers, side dishes, day-to-day groceries and condiments.

At times like these, the image of an elegant unit with even, orderly rows of bottles, seductively lit from within, opening gracefully with a mere tap

Beyond the undeniable sense of luxury and order a wine cellar cooling unit conveys they are of fundamental importance. Seriously. Opening a long cherished bottle to find it corked is a kind of heartbreak that only the meanest Grinch on the planet would wish on you.

A wine collection is a valuable investment of time and money. Protecting it is a must.

Collecting wine involves taking the time to read up vintages, varietals and pairings, and patiently anticipating the perfect pairings for those special bottles once they’ve fully come into its own. Of course you’re going to store your bottles in conditions that offer protection against the three environmental threats that do truly awful, Grinchy things to their contents.

Humidity is the main culprit behind “corked” wine. When corks (at least the ones made from natural cork) get too wet or dry, they become prey to wine-spoiling mould. Vibrations disturb the contents of bottles, preventing them from developing their full flavour profile. When sunlight and incandescent light produce “wine faults” when they interact with the phenolic compounds in wine.

Given these three threats, if you’re planning on adding to your collection over the years, a full height unit like this one make good sense in the long term.

Wine collectors aren’t the only ones who will be looking into cooling units, though. Beer doesn’t keep indefinitely on the shelf any more than wine would. And, just as with wine, storage temperature isn’t the only factor to consider.

Beer will go bad if not stored properly.

It may not be as vulnerable to vibrations as wine is, but light exposure can ruin beer. “Light struck” beer has a decided “skunky” smell. This is the unpleasant result of interactions between the sulphur compounds in hops and light.

Mass produced beer should be consumed within three to six months. If your bottles or cans are stored at 90 °F (32 °C), you’ve got 3 days to enjoy them. At 72 °F (22 °C), they’ll be good for 30 days. At 38 °F (32 °C), you can keep them for 300 days. 

When the offerings were limited to mass-produced beer that was bought and consumed in short order, this wasn’t a particular concern. But among the growing number of excellent craft brews on the market there are varieties that develop palate pleasing complexities when stored (at the right temperature of course!) anywhere from one to ten years. These include vintage beers, barley wines, imperial stouts, lambics, and old ales.

With this range of possibilities and all the interest craft beers in general, we expect to see more and more households opting for units that will satisfy the tastes of both wine and beer drinkers, like this unit by Caravin.

Serving temperatures make all the difference

Of course, cooks and sommeliers know how much temperature affects the flavour of all that we eat and drink. Fuller flavours are cut off at the pass at cooler temperatures, and light flavours lose their sparkle when served too warm. As a rule, the lighter the wine, the cooler the serving temperature, as you can see in these serving guidelines:
Sparkling Wine (Asti, Prosecco, Champagne): 45-48 °F (around 7-9 °C)

Light Whites (Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio): 45-50 °F (7-10 °C)

Full Bodied Whites (Chablis, Chardonnay, Viognier): 50-55 °F (10-13 °C)

Light Reds (Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Barbera): 55-60 °F (13-15.5 °C)

Full Bodied Reds (Bordeaux, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah): 60-65 °F (15.5 - 18°C)

So those who want to have their whites and reds at the ready, a unit with two temperature zones will be just the ticket.

Similarly, different serving temperatures bring out the full flavour profiles of different kinds of beer

The ideal serving temperature for a light and zingy pilsner to deep won’t do much for a full bodied caramel stout!
  • Light bodied beer should be served at between 38-45 °F (3-7 °C).
  • Lighter lagers, pilsners and wheat beers are best served between 45-50 °F (7-10 °C).
  • Standard ales like Bitters, IPA’s, Dobbelbocks, lambics, stouts are most flavourful from between 50-55 °F (10-12 °C).
  • To bring out all their aromas and full flavour profile, strong bodied beers, dark ales and triples can be served from 55-60 °F (12.7-15.55 °C).
Finally, if you want to be a good Santa to all your guests – beer, pop and kombucha drinkers alike – Zephyr's Single Zone Beverage Cooler will keep drinks for all the kids and adults at family gatherings perfectly chill – without forcing you to banish any of your groceries into the nearest snow bank!

Happy holidays, everyone!

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