Hey guys, this is my first post and I apologize if I should start by some sort of introduction I am unaware of. I have a question I know you guys can help me with. I'm new to wine (less than a year) and constantly learning the ropes.

I have a two-zone wine cooler I keep all of my wine in. Whites on top at 45deg F and reds on bottom at 55deg F. Well, I have run out of room in the bottom compartment and will be forced to temporarily store some reds in the top compartment with the whites. Should I leave the top compartment at 45deg and store the reds colder than normal? Raise the temperature to 55deg and store my few whites warmer than normal? Or meet in the middle and compromise at 50deg?

Please keep in mind two things. 1) I'm not storing $200+ bottles of wine (yet). 2) If I had to choose, I care more about my reds than my whites (yes I know that may answer my own question but still wanted to ask).

Thanks!
Derek
Original Post
The reason your unit has two zones is so the whites can be pulled at a ready to drink temperature. They don't gain anything from being stored at the cooler temp. They might gain a few more months of bottle life, but that's not the reason for the two temperature zone design.

If you've run out of room, I would set it at 55 - 58 degrees, and then finish the whites in the fridge for an hour, or freezer for 15 minutes, when ready to drink.

If your whites are mostly daily drinkers or you'll be drinking in six months or less, just put them in the fridge.
Just keep your fridge at 55°. It sounds as though you're soon going to need additional storage. When you do, go larger than you think you need. Trust me.

I'm not for any kind of longer term storage in the fridge due to temperature and vibration issues.

PH
Thanks JCT and PH.

You guys are right. My whites are daily drinkers. I'm not really looking to gain any extra bottle life out of them as I only have them for a couple of months on average. PH, yes I am afraid I will be needing more storage very soon. I didn't realize how quickly I would accumulate bottles when I started.

I will set the second zone to 55 and finish the whites off in the fridge when necessary. If I run out of room, the whites will either move to the fridge or I will have to simply buy them as I need them.

Thanks again.
Agree with other comments. My wine mentor once told me that the problem with wine storage is that you ALWAYS run out. Go big next time you are buying.
With that said, just keep the wine unit at 55, which is the appropriate temperature to store any wine, red or white. I have all of my wine at 55; red, white, sparkling, port. My rule of thumb is that if it is a red, take it out and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to come up to the right drinking temperature. For white, I put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to get it to the right drinking temp.
Good luck.
Derek - you can store them all at 45 or all at 55. The fact that some are red and some are white really doesn't matter. The reason for the 2 zone is as mentioned, because some people want to serve their whites at 45, but more importantly, the mfg can charge you more money.

Storing your wines at a colder temp will slow down the aging, as well as slow down the development of off flavors and flaws. It's actually quite fine and if I were 15 years old with money to burn, I'd put away a lot of stuff at that temp.

In your case, if you're storing just for a few weeks/months, and you're running out of space and you have a reasonable place to keep the wine out of extreme heat, then you can keep things there. For example, a basement. Mine doesn't get much past the very low 70s on the hottest summer days and right now it's in the low 60s, so I just put things down there that I'm planning to drink soon and don't bother to put them in the cellar.

OTOH, I have left bottles in the basement for a couple years and they weren't really hurt. We opened a 1997 Isosceles on Saturday and that had about three-four years of basement storage back in the early 2000s. Cork was pristine and the wine fine. I wouldn't recommend it but I don't panic if my wine isn't all in perfect conditions.
Good perspective from Greg T. I have seen posts here from folks who actually have kept wines at room temperatures in an attempt to accelerate aging. Also not recommended, but it would be an interesting experiment to store one bottle at 55° and one at say 72° for 5 years or so and do a comparative tasting.

PH
Thanks Greg. Great response. Your reply is almost word for word the same advice I was given yesterday by the guy who first got me into wine. To go along with what you say about dual-zones being a reason to charge consumers more, and the lack of real necessity for me to store white wine at a colder temp, my next wine cooler will be a single zone unit. I will begin my research of larger units right away.

Although I don't intend to store anything in closets, I agree with PH that it would be an interesting experiment to put one in there and test it against a bottled stored at 55deg in a few years.

All of your responses are much appreciated.
An unfortunate turn of events. My wine cooler (a 40-bottle unit) seems to have stopped cooling the lower zone, and that is the larger of the two. When I bought this cooler I knew it was a lower end unit and wouldn't last forever but it appears I'm going to have to upgrade sooner than expected.
Curious timing indeed.
When shopping, buy storage for twice as much as you think you will need. Or perhaps this is the topic for another thread.
Nah. No need for a new thread. There are some things that are so transparently obvious there's no need to really discuss them. For example, the fact that some wines are red and some aren't, the fact that you always need more storage space than you think you do, the fact that it's night time when the sun goes down.
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
.....There are some things that are so transparently obvious there's no need to really discuss them. For example......the fact that you always need more storage space than you think you do..............


I wish someone had forcefully suggested to me that I go BIG with my first storage cabinet. I'm not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree of humanity, but it was not transparently obvious to me.

PH
PH, my first wine cellar held 36 bottles, (right out of college) and later my wine holdings grew to well over 2000 bottles.

I have cut the number of bottles way back over the last decade, but storage is always an issue in Texas.

So...I'm hanging on the same Christmas tree as you, my friend. Wink
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:


I have cut the number of bottles way back over the last decade, but storage is always an issue in Texas.

W+A,
I corroborate the challenges of storing wines in Texas. I use a combination of on-site units and off-site storage lockers. The goal is to build a dedicated cellar in our home. How have you tackled the issue?
Bumber that it's going out on you Derek. Do you mind if I ask what brand it is? Have you been happy with it? Trying to keep my little pet project wine cooler website up to date.
quote:
Originally posted by Mistermead:
Bumber that it's going out on you Derek. Do you mind if I ask what brand it is? Have you been happy with it? Trying to keep my little pet project wine cooler website up to date.


It is a 40-bottle unit made by Liberty. It was a surprise gift from my wife, I don't know a lot about the brand. I'm fairly happy with it. However, I wouldn't buy this brand again. The initial problem I had with cooling I later discovered was due to ice build up on the cooling unit of the lower compartment due to high humidity. Once corrected it worked fairly well until it was at full bottle capacity. after a month of being full, the lower compartment has a difficult time keeping the compartment at 55deg and the unit runs almost non-stop (between 56-58 degrees). At 20 bottles in the lower compartment, it will hold temps just fine.
I used to worry about that crap too. I kept the whites at the bottom where it was supposed to be cooler. I measured the areas. It did not matter much. I set all my wines at 55. If I want a colder white esp SB's, I stick them in the freezer for 15 minutes.

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