Top 5 Wine Fridge Features - Winter System

When searching for a wine fridge on the coolersomm website one of the filtering trees offered is 'features'. Recently we looked into the data behind what our customers were searching for when looking for a wine fridge and the results were interesting.

Aside from price, which 46% of searchers filter for immediately, the most commonly selected features of a wine fridge search were i) number of zones ii) decibel level iii) carbon filter iv) winter system and v) reversible door.

Over the next 2-3 weeks we're going to deep-dive into each of these features and discuss why each are important, under what circumstances may they be necessary and whether these features are also applicable to your wine fridge search. So whether you're looking for a freestanding wine fridge, a built-in, integrated, dual zone or a wine fridge cabinet, today we're going to discuss the importance of a winter system.

What is a wine fridge winter system?

Understanding the Basics

Before delving into the specifics of the wine fridge winter system, it's essential to grasp the fundamentals of wine storage. Wine is a delicate beverage that can be profoundly impacted by its environment, including temperature, humidity, and light exposure. To preserve its flavour, aroma, and overall quality, it's crucial to store wine under controlled conditions.

Wine refrigerators, also known as wine coolers or wine fridges, provide an ideal environment for storing wine by maintaining stable temperatures and humidity levels. These appliances come in various sizes and configurations, catering to both casual enthusiasts and serious collectors.

The Challenge of Winter

While wine refrigerators excel at maintaining consistent temperatures in controlled environments, they face a unique challenge during the winter months if housed in a garage or other unheated room: low ambient temperatures. In colder climates, especially during harsh winters, the temperature inside a garage or cellar can drop significantly, potentially impacting the performance of a wine fridge.

When the ambient temperature falls below the desired storage temperature set for the wine fridge, the appliance may struggle to maintain the ideal conditions for wine storage unless it has some kind of heating element; a winter system. This can lead to fluctuations in temperature inside the fridge, jeopardising the quality of the stored wine.

Introducing the Wine Fridge Winter System

To address the challenges posed by winter temperatures, wine fridge manufacturers have developed the wine fridge winter system that activates a warming element inside the fridge to bring the fridge up to the desired temperature if the external temperature has dropped below the internal temperatures.

Without a winter system, the fridge could only cool, meaning that once temperatures hit 10>5>0c, the wine would also fall to that temperature. As fluctuations in temperature and cold temperatures are bad for wine maturation, this would defeat the purpose of owning a wine fridge at all.

Are all winter systems the same?

Some winter systems are more powerful than others, meaning that some winter systems can withstand lower temperatures than others. However, all of our brands can withstand down to zero degrees Celsius.

How important is climate classification in a wine fridge?

What Are Climate Class Ratings?

Climate class ratings are a standardised system used to classify electrical appliances based on their performance in specific environmental conditions. These ratings provide guidance on the temperature range in which an appliance can operate effectively, ensuring optimal performance and longevity.

Understanding Climate Class Designations

Climate class ratings are typically denoted by a letter, with each letter corresponding to a specific temperature range. The most common climate class designations include:

  • SN (Subnormal): Suitable for ambient temperatures between 10°C and 32°C. Appliances with an SN rating are designed to operate effectively in cooler climates.
  • N (Normal): Suitable for ambient temperatures between 16°C and 32°C. Appliances with an N rating are designed to operate effectively in moderate climates.
  • ST (Subtropical): Suitable for ambient temperatures between 16°C and 38°C. Appliances with an ST rating are designed to operate effectively in warmer climates.
  • T (Tropical): Suitable for ambient temperatures between 16°C and 43°C. Appliances with a T rating are designed to operate effectively in hot and humid tropical climates.

How Are Climate Class Ratings Determined?

Climate class ratings are determined through rigorous testing conducted by manufacturers and regulatory bodies. During testing, appliances are subjected to varying temperature and humidity conditions to assess their performance across different climate classifications. This testing helps ensure that appliances meet the performance standards required for their intended use.

Why Do Climate Class Ratings Matter?

Climate class ratings matter for several reasons:

  1. Performance: Appliances designed for specific climate classes are optimised to perform reliably in the environmental conditions prevalent in those regions. This ensures that they operate effectively and efficiently, providing consistent performance year-round.

  2. Durability: Appliances that are compatible with the climate of their intended use are more likely to withstand the rigors of daily use without experiencing premature wear and tear. This can extend the lifespan of the appliance and reduce the need for repairs or replacements.

  3. Energy Efficiency: Appliances that are well-suited to the ambient temperature and humidity conditions of their environment are more likely to operate efficiently, minimizing energy consumption and reducing utility costs.

  4. Safety: Appliances that are designed for specific climate classes undergo testing to ensure that they meet safety standards in a variety of environmental conditions. This helps prevent malfunctions and reduces the risk of electrical hazards.

Most wine cabinets that have a winter system are able to operate safely and effectively down to freezing.

What if my garage regularly drops below freezing?

The UK rarely stays below freezing for any length of time, so as long as you have a wine fridge with a powerful winter system, this should be fine. If your garage drops below freezing frequently it would be wise to try to bring the ambient temperature during very cold nights with a space heater, or alternatively bring the appliance into the home for the coldest parts of the winter.

Which brands offer wine fridges with winter systems?

Most brands that offer wine cabinets offer winter systems, a surprising exception to this is Liebherr wine fridges which are always designed for use around the home and not the garage or cellar. Eurocave, Swisscave, Climadiff and La Sommeliere and Dunavox all offer wine fridges with winter systems. Just choose 'winter system' from the filter tree under the 'features' heading for a full list.

Which are the best value wine fridge with winter systems?

At the premium but economical end, we always recommend Climadiff. As one of the very first wine fridge brands they quickly specialised in wine maturation and have many options of large wine cabinets with big capacities that are economical to run and reliable. The RESERVE range, 180, 275 and Climadiff Reserve 300XL are all excellent machines that were recently re-engineered to be even quieter and energy efficient (2024).

If you're looking for something smart, attractive and with all the bells and whistle, the Swisscave Premium and Classic Edition fridges benefit from more shelving and attractive UV protected glass doors. The Swisscave WL455F and the Swisscave WLB-460F all make for excellent wine maturation cabinets.

If money is no object, then why not go for the reliability and precision cooling of a EuroCave? Their PURE range offer large capacities and excellent long term warranties.

If you're looking for advise on a wine cabinet with a winter system for a garage or similar then contact us at London store or via live chat.

Sarah newton

Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.