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To age well, the wine needs calm, darkness and good ventilation. It also requires a stable temperature and hygrometry. A wine cabinet meets all these conditions...

Ten wine cabinets from 500 €

Any cellar in the basement does not allow to store wine in good conditions: too hot and too dry (near a boiler), excessive humidity (capillary rise), insufficient air renewal, washing machine vibrations, lack of space... A wine cabinet is then a solution to store its best bottles. Today, it can be found at all prices (from less than € 150 to over € 10,000) in superstores, by home appliance specialists and specialist retailers.
(In this file: rates recorded in September 2012)

Ten models of wine cellars at the heart of the market

We have selected ten wine cellars at a reasonable average price for wine lovers: from € 500 to € 1,000. To preserve the wine, several conditions must be met. The temperature should be stable and ideally between 11 and 14° C. Beyond that, the wine ages prematurely. The hygrometry rate must be high enough, of the order of 75%, which avoids the drying up of the corks, well known cause of deterioration of the wine, therefore of the taste (corked wine). Wine must also be stored in a healthy atmosphere, free from odors (cleaning products, solvents, etc.) and protected from light as much as possible. This is to avoid the ultraviolet rays and their destructive effects (oxidants) on the tannins.

A mono or multi-temperature wine cabinet?

The wine cabinet has kept the principle of the operation of the refrigerator: the cooling (by expansion) of a refrigerant, after its heating (compression). The system obeys a thermostat that keeps the indoor temperature between 5 and 20° C. However, it can vary by several degrees from the top to the bottom of a static cold appliance, which allows the two uses of a wine cellar to be combined (preservation or warming up before tasting), without however reaching the precision of the appliances. "Multizones".
The indoor temperature is not the only one to consider: near a heat source, some appliances will consume more energy than others to keep it at a stable level. The climatic class makes it possible to know if the device is able or not to compensate a room temperature a little high or a little low (see box opposite). Other differences with a refrigerator: a compressor with suspended attachments, anti-vibration feet, special lighting, a lock, and a charcoal filter for aging cabinets.
Depending on the volume, the number of shelves (these small shelves specifically designed to store wine) varies from 4 to 9, which can accommodate from 20 to more than 170 bottles. Made of wood (oak, beech...) or metal (with wooden label holder), they are stronger than those of refrigerators. Often adjustable in height, the shelves are generally compatible with bottles of various formats. Some slide, others are inclined at the front (presentation shelves), which justifies then a transparent door. In this case, the glazing, insulating and tempered, is always anti-UV treated.

Ten wine cabinets from 500 €: temperature

If the cabinet is to be installed in a room with high ambient temperature, it is best to choose a model with a suitable climate class.

Since the 1990s, the electrical consumption of household appliances has been evaluated in order to favor the most economical, classified in order of decreasing performance from A +++ to D. But the performances announced by the manufacturers are only valid depending on certain parameters such as the ambient temperature for refrigerators, freezers and wine cabinets. Each of them is therefore designed according to a specific climate class. If this condition is not met, an energy class A + appliance will consume as much as a class C or D model. And its lifetime may also be shorter. We must always compare energy class and climate class. In addition, the allocation of the energy class takes into account the power consumption and the volume of the device. Thus, a model of 284 liters consuming 130 kWh / year will be ranked lower than a model of 376 liters which consumes 161 kWh / year...

Ten wine cabinets from 500 €: cabinets

Sliding shelves bring a more indisputable and facilitate the use of a wine cellar. They also limit the risk of false maneuvers, fatal to the Grands Crus.


There are six climate classes. Each of them has a range of minimum and maximum temperatures in the room where the wine cellar is installed. If it can function satisfactorily despite an ambient temperature higher than the maximum of its class (while consuming more), it may not be able to compensate for a lower ambient temperature. And its content will suffer the consequences. That's why SN-class devices have built-in electrical resistance (winter function). Not to be confused with the simple "anti-cold" security (audible and visual alarm). Classes T, ST and SN, however, correspond to "extreme" conditions.
SN (extended temperate) 10 to 32° C Basement or secondary residence with little heating in the winter
SN-ST (temperate enlarged to subtropical) 10 to 38° C Basement or second home little heated winter, kitchen or stay very sunny
SN-T (tropical extended) 10 to 43° C Basement or secondary residence with little heat in the winter, veranda or very sunny stay
N (temperate) 16 to 32° C Kitchen, living room, basement... (most common case) ST (subtropical) 16 to 38° C Proximity to a radiator
T (tropical) 16 to 43° C Veranda, near a poorly insulated oven or a sunny bay window

Video Instruction: Making Wine Racks