Frequently asked questions
Which wine cooler you choose will depend on your needs and how you want to use it. Choose between a long-storage cooler, a multi-purpose cooler or a service cooler:
- A long-storage cooler is specially designed to provide your bottles with optimum storage conditions so you can age your wine until it reaches its apogee. These conditions are identical to those of the cellars used by wine-growers and are designed to respond precisely to the five enemies of wine.
- A 2 to 5 temperature multi-purpose cooler is designed to both store your wine for up to five years and bring it to serving temperature for the perfect tasting.
- A service cooler prepares bottles for serving and brings your wines to the ideal temperature for tasting.
Depending on the type of wine and its origin, the ideal serving temperature varies, enabling it to maintain all of its aromas and qualities. The ideal serving temperature is normally indicated on the bottle’s label.
- Red Bordeaux: 14-18°C
- Red Burgundy: 15-18°C
- Light red wines: 10-14°C
- Champagne and sparkling wines: 5-7°C
- Dry white wines: 8-10°C
- Sweet white wines: 7-9°C
- Rosé: 8-10°C
Built-in: Wine coolers that are built into a kitchen cabinet or under a work surface. A sub-category of integrated models exists which fit inside an alcove, however the dimensions of models in this category are not standardized. If you plan on installing an appliance underneath a work surface, for aesthetic reasons, we recommend carefully measuring the height of cabinet doors. Le Chai offers two door heights (72 cm and 78 cm) for perfect aesthetic harmony.
Free-standing: A wine cooler than can be placed anywhere in your home, from the kitchen to the lounge, cellar or even garage, in which case we recommend a model equipped with a winter system. You will need to leave a space around this type of appliance in order for it to operate in the best possible conditions.
Professional: A wine cooler designed to meet the key needs of professionals that is easy to use and offers a practical layout and essential features.
The quantities stated refer to traditional 75 cl Bordeaux bottles with a height of 30 cm and a diameter of 7.4 cm. For Burgundy wines and other growths, capacity varies by +/-30%, but it is possible to increase space by removing some of the trays.
If the cooler is not sufficiently stocked, the product will be more reactive, as there will be more air than liquid. This is why it is essential to fill your wine cooler to at least 70%. If necessary, you can stock your cooler with bottles of water until you have enough wine bottles to store.
In almost 98% of cases, the cold “production” zone is in the upper part of the appliance. It is this area that will be coldest. When necessary, via a vent and occasionally a fan, cold air will be moved into the lower part at the request of the internal temperature gauge. This is why there will always be a slight difference in temperature in both zones. In the remaining 2%, you might find the opposite, with either a system working with a bypass that helps maintain an identical temperature in both zones up to a certain point (only possible for low temperatures).
All refrigerating appliances have an optimum maximum capacity for their functions over a certain amount of time. For long-storage coolers, which often have a higher capacity than other types of cooler, the first quantity of bottles loaded is often quite high. No appliance can lower the temperature for 150 or 300 bottles in record time. Loading your long-storage cooler too fast can lead to the compressor and anti-frost system over-working, leading to increased humidity inside the cooler. When this happens, a ledge of frost can form at the bottom of the appliance. This can only be eliminated by switching the wine cooler off. To avoid this, we recommend filling your cooler in four stages. A quarter of the bottle capacity every 24 hours is the best rhythm for ensuring your wine cooler gradually reaches optimum operating speed.
There could be several reasons the desired temperature in your cooler has not stabilized. The first could be that a door is not properly closed (this could be due to an installation problem or, for a free-standing model, because the floor is not flat). The second could be that the cooler is not sufficiently stocked. Your cooler needs to be filled with liquid to around 70% of its capacity. As air is more volatile than liquid, it is more sensible to temperature variations. Having enough liquid in the cooler will create a more stable thermal mass, which will prevent untimely fluctuations in the temperature of the air inside. Finally, ventilation issues can also lead to sub-optimal performance. Poor ventilation can lead to the compressor working too hard and reduce its efficiency. For free-standing products, make sure to leave enough free space behind, around and above the product. For built-under models, make sure there is continuous ventilation on the bottom of the appliance (via a grill in the product or in the kitchen skirting board). For products integrated in a column, a ventilation grill is required in the bottom and back of the column in order to create a flow of air to evacuate the warm air coming from the condenser and compressor. Le Chai now has a range of self-ventilating products that no longer require these features.
These types of cooler come with a small plastic tray for holding water. Depending on where you live, and occasionally where you install your cooler, the ambient humidity can sometimes be too low. Looking first at where you live, obviously the air humidity will not be the same in a region near the sea as in a mountainous area. Your cooler’s location in your home could be affected by whether or not the room is over or under-heated. In generally, the humidity level should be kept between 60 and 75%. Too much humidity will have no impact on the liquid, but the labels might begin to peel off or attract mildew. On the other hand, long-term exposure to a very dry environment can dry out the cork, which the wine uses to breathe and develop but on a very small scale. An overly dry cork can lead to the disappearance of what specialists call the “wine’s nose”, ie. the aromas of fruit and other elements found when tasting your wine. The cork will, however, only dry out over a fairly long period of time. Nonetheless, as a precaution, we have included this tray for regions and storage areas that might be too dry.
This is actually a good sign, as it means your wine cooler is working to maintain the programmed temperature. The electronic temperature system in your wine cooler works based on the flow of air over a sensor. As air is very volatile, it may vary when the door is opened or when the room in which it is located changes temperature. A variation of one or two degrees above or below the programmed temperature is therefore not a problem, as long as it does not persist for an extended period of time. Loading a large number of bottles at once can also lead to variations in the quantity of air in the cooler. As explained in the question “Why is the temperature in my cooler not stable?”, it is important that there is more liquid mass than air mass. Remember also that air temperature changes ten times faster than liquid, so there is no need to worry about these small variations.
As with any refrigerating appliance, wine coolers are sensitive to the surrounding air temperature. The compressor’s climate class is therefore important. In most cases, we recommend placing the cooler in a room in which the temperature does not drop below 10° in certain cases, or 16° in others. What happens below this temperature? The compressor will simply not function and, depending on the product’s insulation capacity, the temperature inside the cooler will become the same as the external temperature within a few hours or days. If there is a risk that the ambient temperature could drop below 10°, it is vital for the appliance to be equipped with a “winter system”. This device is composed of a heating resistor (which consumes little energy), which will keep the wine inside at a safe temperature. All Le Chai long-storage coolers are equipped with this system. It is also important to know within which temperature range the product can function. From 28° to 32°, or even 38°, products have a maximum ambient temperature in which they can operate normally. Beyond this they risk operating continually, which can damage the compressor, the product’s key component.