Cabinet reshuffle

You may think that a quick 10 minutes in the fridge will do the job, but all good wines benefit from being stored – and hence served – at the right temperature. Multi-faceted cabinets with various temperature settings can provide that, but are they really worth the outlay, asks Sally Easton MW

Can the size of the various compartments be altered? If you like to drink a lot of white, but red only rarely, can the cool compartment be twice the size? If you only buy wine when it’s in its drinking window, can the two-temperature cabinet be made to work just at 6–10°C and 15–18°C?

n Does your cabinet account for humidity? This can have an important effect on long-term storage. Between 60% and 80% humidity is thought to be about right, but leaving wine in these service cabinets for up to a year can dry out the corks.

n How are the temperature and humidity controlled in each section? And what happens when either goes out of the range you’ve set? Is there an audible warning?

n The ability to store different-sized bottles is also important. Avoid cabinets built with only the 750ml Bordeaux size in mind. You need to find out if the compartments can be altered to fit magnums, halves and Burgundy or Alsace-shaped bottles.

n If your drinking habits change can your three-temperature model be easily switched to a two-temperature or even a single temperature unit?

n Temperature-controlled storage units, though often incredibly useful, aren’t always the most attractive household item. But you can improve their look. Shelves may vary from a wire grill to a beautifully manicured cherry wood; doors may be glass, shiny metal or solid wood. Running costs and energy ratings may also be a consideration.

Suppliers to consider: