By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: Wine cabinets are becoming more and more popular, and they are increasingly being incorporated into the design of new home kitchens and renovated kitchens. But is the wine cabinet a gimmick or is there a long-term benefit to using them?

In Australia most people have tended to buy their wines for an occasion, so they’ll go to the bottle shop and buy what they need for the occasion. More sophisticated wine connoisseurs and collectors have purchased wines and stored them, but most Australians have tended to keep wines in kitchen cupboards or above the fridge or even in the fridge.

We are conditioned that white wines are to be served chilled at fridge temperatures and red wines are served at room temperatures but as for storage, won’t the fridge do? The answer is no, the fridge is not suitable for storing wines and neither is the kitchen cupboard. Temperature and humidity are keys to cellaring or storing wines.

“Wine that is stored below 10 degrees will not age, and wine stored at over 15 to 16 degrees will age too quickly,” said Vintec Australia director, Jean-Marie Simart.

When Jean-Marie arrived in Australia over 25 years ago, he couldn’t find any wine cabinets to store his wines. As a European, he found this strange, so he started importing wine cabinets to Australia with business partners. Now his business supplies both domestic and commercial wine and beverage storage solutions.

Jean-Marie says that when it comes to cellaring wines, he is single-minded.

“The single zone is the preferred choice with the range of 10 to 15 degrees to store red, white and champagne,” he said.

“The humidity level in a multi zone cabinet is too low and not appropriate for the cork, unless you have screw top wines and most of the time the multi zones are designed to serve the wine at drinking temperature.”

As a wine connoisseur and a Frenchman, Jean-Marie has an extensive wine collection. So we had to know what he thought was best, French or Australian wine?

“I have around 2,000 bottles of wine in my cellar and the French wines will represent maximum 10 per cent,” he said.

“Australian wines are stronger on the fruit side and after 25 years in Australia tasting the top Australian and New Zealand wines, when it comes to the French wines now, most of the time I find them so subtle that I don’t understand them.”