Wine list

10 Nov, 14

How designers can promote wine storage for projects at all price levels

With the continuing boom in cookery shows,  interest in achieving Artisan results and economic  climate having made eating out less affordable, it’s no surprise entertaining at home has prospered. Along with the trend for home dining has been the growth in demand for wine storage. According to Ben Peach, head of category for refrigeration at Glen Dimple Home Appliances: “Sales of wine coolers have grown substantially over recent years, as people opt to entertain at home more and more. Year-on-year growth stands at around 50%.” What may have been considered a luxury appliance at the premium end of the market has now filtered down the market. So kitchen designers and specifiers are better placed than ever to capitalise on this growing trend, as there is a wide choice of wine chillers and cellars to suit all price budgets.

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At the luxury end of the market, wine connoisseurs will seek an appliance that keeps wine at its optimum conditions (see Expert View). It’s not considered a luxury but a necessity, as fine wine can be destroyed by poor or incorrect storage and few UK homes come complete with a cellar. Marketing director of Baumatic, Owain Harrison comments: “Very rarely do people have the perfect conditions to store fine wines in their homes these days because most modern homes are centrally-heated and wines react to both light and temperature.”

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MD of Sub-Zero & Wolf UK, Craig Davies explains what kitchen designers need to consider for a client who requires fine wine storage: “A true wine storage unit takes into account the four enemies of wine; heat, light, temperature and vibration. It will be designed and manufactured to a high quality for short and long term storage with a UV-resistant glass door, microprocessor to ensure that temperatures will not fluctuate more than one degree of the pre-set, plus an insulated compressor to avoid vibrations which could unsettle sediment. Humidity is also very important and should be around 65-70%.”

However, for the majority of kitchen purchasers, a Chateau Moulton Rothchild 1982 Paulliac may be out of reach, instead customers may just need to store a couple of bottles of Pinot Grigio. For this purpose, appliance experts suggest a wine and beer chiller. Trade marketing manager UK & Ireland for Whirlpool Neil Austin comments: “When it comes to the chiller cabinet, designed for keeping beer and drinks cooled and chilled, this is a superb additional appliance often purchased to take the pressure off the refrigerator.” He adds: “A keen wine drinker will pay a great deal of attention to the functionality and features a cabinet offers; however a consumer who wants to take the pressure off their refrigerator will pay more attention to the brand.”

Ask and display

To ascertain which appliance will best suit your consumers, Neil Austin of Whirlpool says simply ask a few questions such as how frequently they buy wine, do they invest in fine wine or entertain regularly? And national sales manager of Coolectric which supplies Liebherr refrigeration, Stephen Ongley agrees, pointing out: “For example do they wish just to store ready to drink wines or are they looking for multi-temperature cabinets.” But if a client stills feels like it is an unnecessary appliance, Baumatic points out when stored correctly white wine can keep well for up to two years, full-bodied red will age well for 10 years and dessert wines will age well for up to 20 years.

Certainly, appliance experts agree to maximise on the opportunity of wine storage sales, is to put models on display in a kitchen showroom. Owain Harrison of Baumatic points out: “A wine cabinet is one appliance that people do not think they need until they see it. However, it can be one of the most attractive added-value commodities that a retailer can sell.”

Selecting correct size

But of course it’s not only the type of storage designers need to consider but also how much wine consumers need to store. And designers and specifiers can choose from a wide range of models from a bottle for half a dozen bottles to more than a hundred. Choosing the most appropriate size is particularly important for built-in appliances, which need to be designed into the kitchen layout but can be advantageous for creating a cohesive look. Ben Peach of Glen Dimplex Home Appliances explains: “Wine coolers can offer a perfect solution to fill smaller spaces and gaps – as well as looking great and being a very useful addition to the kitchen. A 600mm model may not be at the top of a consumers’ wish list if they have a smaller kitchen, but the 150mm model can be slotted in quite easily.” However, according to GDHA its 300mm model is the fastest-growing in sales.  

While at the more premium end, larger and taller models with more storage are the order of the day. Craig Davies of Sub-Zero & Wolf adds: “Tall models that offer 78 bottle, two temperature capacity with 150litre refrigerated drawers are our top-selling model.” He continues: “610mm wide version offering 102 bottles is set to become the fastest-growing model due to its modest proportions but high bottle capacity.”

Wine way forward

Certainly wine storage is only going to grow in popularity, as the trend for dining and entertaining at home shows no sign of abating. Neil Austin of Whirlpool adds: “Wine tasting is also a growing hobby for many consumers and with a wine cabinet, it is something that they can enjoy at home.”  This combined with development in design, such as touch-open technology creating handleless wine storage to complement handleless furniture, narrower width, and even Home Automation for high value collections, will only see more focus on these appliances. Richard Treffler, product manager for kitchens at Miele, concludes quite simply: “Wine isn’t going to decline in popularity and as the kitchen market continues to grow, so will wine conditioners.”