What is the Difference Between a Wine Cooler and Wine Cellar?

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Wine collectors know that how you store your wine is critical to ensuring it will age gracefully and taste great once uncorked.

Wine needs a cool environment around 55 degrees Fahrenheit with the proper humidity, free from vibrations and harmful UV rays. Both wine coolers and wine cellars can keep your wine in optimal conditions. Let’s examine wine coolers and wine cellars and how they differ.

Wine Coolers

A wine cooler is a refrigerator designed for wine storage. Unlike a standard kitchen refrigerator designed for food, wine refrigerators do not suck the humidity out. Wine coolers are equipped with a cooling system, wine racking, and interior lighting. They are insulated and sealed to ensure they maintain a stable environment. Wine coolers are available in various colors and styles, including stainless steel, all black, glass doors, solid doors, curved handles, pole handles and more. Wine coolers have become staple appliances in kitchens, bars, country clubs, restaurants, wine bars, etc.

Wine Cellar

A wine cellar is a room dedicated for wine storage with either passive or active temperature control. A passive wine cellar uses its natural surroundings to regulate the temperature inside the space. Passive wine cellars are often located inside caves or underground basements that use the natural insulation of the surrounding soil to maintain a consistent temperature. An active wine cellar uses a cellar cooling system to maintain a consistently cool temperature and maintain proper humidity levels. Wine cellars are properly insulated with a vapor barrier. Other features include wine racking, lighting, and properly insulated and sealed doors. Wine cellars are often located in a basement, unused closet, in the space below stairs, restaurants, wineries, bars, casinos and more.

wine cellar with white wine boxes

Wine Cooler vs. Wine Cellar

Wine coolers and wine cellars have many similarities and differences. Both wine coolers and wine cellars have racking, lighting, and a cooling system. Wine coolers require little to no setup or assembly and can be plugged in and used immediately. A wine cellar, however, takes time to construct. The cellar cooling system inside the cellar must be installed, wine racks delivered and assembled, plus any necessary construction to ensure the space is properly sealed and insulated. Wine coolers are significantly less expensive than a wine cellar but do not offer customized features. Lastly, wine cellars are designed for hundreds to thousands of bottles, whereas a wine cooler may hold up to 300.

Do you still have questions about the differences between wine coolers and wine cellars? Contact our cellar experts with our Contact Form.