Many of our new EdgeStar wine refrigerators boast “built-in replaceable carbon filters” and “black-dotted doors,” which offer UV protection. So, why are these important for you, the wine consumer? What are the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) rays and odor to your bottles of wine?
Let’s start with UV rays and how they affect your enjoyment of your wine. One term you may hear thrown around a lot is “light strike,” which basically refers to the UV rays penetrating your glass wine bottle. The effects of UV ray exposure are tantamount to those of heat exposure: ultimately, your wine will taste spoiled. Some wine bottles provide some UV protection, but as manufacturers try to cut down on their carbon footprints by developing thinner, lighter bottles, the bottles become more susceptible to light strike. Therefore, our black-dotted doors are becoming more and more important to the preservation of your wine.
In a matter of mere hours, UV concentrations can begin causing chemical reactions in your wine. I won’t go into too much technical detail, but know that these chemical reactions involve amino acids within your wine, and the reactions ultimately produce sulfur compounds (yes, THAT sulfur). Dimethyl disulfide and hydrogen sulfide are examples of resultants – names alone suggest that you probably won’t enjoy that first sip. The many resultants that can occur from these chemical reactions affect the flavor, aroma and structure of the wine. White and sparkling wines are the most susceptible, and it really can take just a few hours so spoil from UV exposure! The tannins in red wines offer some protection, but I want the most out of my Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.
Debris and odors can actually greatly affect your wine because they enter through the cork! Even wines kept at the perfect constant temperature and humidity allow some air through the cork. One of your greatest senses, and one that is important to drinking wine, is olfaction. Extraneous odors can taint the true smell of a wine, which is vital to full enjoyment.