Mark Harris
CanGaggenau IK360
Gaggenau IK360

Although it’s billed as a ‘climate-control appliance’, this luxury wine cooler unfortunately can’t do much about global warming. What it can do is store up to 118 bottles of plonk, ranging from halves of dessert wine to double magnums of bubbly. That works out to an investment of just under £100 per bottle, so no sneaking in any Thunderbird among your vintage Bordeaux.

Like most of the better wine coolers, there are different temperature zones for the separate storage of red and white wines. The Gaggenau has three zones, each controlled by a sensitive thermostat capable of varying the temperature from 4 to 21C. That’s a wider range than you’ll need for storing wines, because the IK360 is also a wine conditioner. This means that it can bring bottles gently up to the perfect temperature for drinking – although remember that you might also want to let red wines breathe for a time before serving them.

The mighty IK360 is made from stainless steel, aluminium and glass, and comes in a range of finishes with aluminium and beech wood shelving. It has a damped compressor for low vibration operation, a high-tech digital display and audio-visual warnings should the temperature climb too high.

And what better to accompany the finest wines available to humanity than a selection of ripe cheeses and even riper cigars? The Gaggenau has dedicated, odour-controlled areas for storing cheese and your favourite Havanas. A matching humidor, crafted from mahogany and cedar, benefits from a separate humidity control and can hold around 50 cigars.

The IK360 is designed to be integrated into custom-built kitchens or it can simply sit in your kitchen as a free-standing 500kg steel monolith, for you to worship mutely like some kind of wine-fancying ape from 2001.

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Price from £11,000

The competition

Caple WCi30B
This gleaming stainless steel and glass cooler is the height of modern fashion, although who knows how stylish it’ll be by the time your record-breaking 2005 vintage is ready to drink? At least the wine will be perfect, held at the correct temperature behind its slimline UV-resistant doors.
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Price £530

This cooler’s wooden interior adds a touch of class and is angled so you can read the labels – perfect for checking that the cleaner hasn’t swapped your Petrus Pomerol ’98 for a bottle of Blue Nun. There’s even a handy dust-free wine glass storage area.
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Price £1000

Liebherr WTUes 1653
If you’re looking to lay down a cellar in one of today’s compact apartments, you can’t do better than this under-counter Liebherr. It’s quiet, unobtrusive and has two separately programmable temperature zones for storing whites and reds.
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Price £1000

Miele KWT4974SGED
Enjoy half a bottle of wine with dinner each evening and there’s nearly a year’s drinking inside this impressive wine cooler. It stores 143 bottles in three temperature zones, with digital thermometers, audible warning tones and a door lock to keep thirsty throats away from your Chateaux Margaux ’95.
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Price £2000

Cellar’s market
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a French chateau, the chances are that your cellar is more suited to storing old bicycles than fine wines. Wine is a living, organic substance and how good it tastes in the glass depends to a large extent on how it’s packaged, transported and, in the case of older wines, stored.

Before investing in any wine storage, it’s important to understand the conditions under which wine will thrive and mature. Most important is temperature: the optimum range is a chilly 10-13C. If it’s colder than that, the wine can suffer from deposits; warmer, and it can age prematurely. Slow, seasonal variations in temperature are much less dangerous than sudden warming or cooling. Light, and especially sunlight, can also age a wine too quickly, even through dark bottle glass. White wine is more likely to suffer from excess heat and light than red wine.

The other key factor to control is humidity. You’ll need at least 50% relative humidity to prevent natural corks from shrinking, although many experts recommend 70%. Good ventilation and a lack of vibration are also important. Basically, once a bottle has been laid down (never store wine vertically), it shouldn’t be moved until it’s ready to be drunk. Bottoms up!

Top Corkscrews

Original Fish
When this fish bites, you’ll know you’ve reeled in a corker. It’s stylish, easy to use and doesn’t smell of mackerel – what more could you want?
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Price £20

Alessi Anna G.
Alessandro Mendini’s designer corkscrew is your new best drinking buddy: she opens every bottle, always wears a cheery smile and never touches a drop herself.
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Price £23

Suck UK Pocket
When wine simply can’t wait, having this folding corkscrew on your keychain ensures you won’t have to resort to pushing in corks or sneaking into restaurants.
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Price £15

Screwpull Metal ActivBall GS300
Meet the David Blaine of the corkscrew world. With its self-pulling action, the GS300 magically opens even the most stubborn bottles, before automatically ejecting the cork.
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Price £40

Vialis Chateau Lagiuole Grand Cru
The choice of discerning sommeliers for decades, this classic Chateau Lagiuole corkscrew is hand-made from stainless steel and Aubrac bull horn.
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Price £79

Screwpull LM-400
The black nickel LM-400 screws as good as it looks, using a powerful lever action to remove corks (including synthetic ones) in just two simple movements.
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Price £100

Alessi Parrot Sommelier
Who’s a pretty boy then? Alessi’s parrot themed corkscrew is available in a rainbow of colours – and the beak opens beer bottles, too.
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Price £23

Rechargeable Electric Corkscrew
At parties or serious ‘tasting’ sessions, your wrists will thank you for using this simple, powered corkscrew, capable to opening up to 100 bottles on a single charge.
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Price £25

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