If you’re a serious wine drinker, but not a serious wine collector, consider investing in a wine refrigerator for you home. A basic wine refrigerator is just what you need for keeping bottles that you plan to drink within a year or two. Long-term collectors are going to need more than just your basic wine fridge. But, back to your kitchen. Why should you have a wine refrigerator?
First, you need to consider what wine needs. Wine should be stored at below room temperature, around 55 degrees. That’s too cool for open storage and too warm for your refrigerator. And white wine should be stored at a cooler temperature than red. Wine should also be kept at humidity levels of about 50-70 percent. Humidity is important because if it’s too low, the corks will dry out and if it’s too high mold will grow. Here are some things to consider. How many bottles of wine do you wish to store? Think about how many bottles you like to keep on hand, and then double that. Keep in mind the types of wine you’re storing. Most wine refrigerators estimate their count by using Bordeaux-size bottles. But bottles for Burgundy and Champagne will be wider and take up more space, reducing the overall capacity of your refrigerator. Many people find that a case sized unit is perfect for their needs. The best wine refrigerators will have an aluminum interior. You can spend less for a model with a plastic interior, but aluminum conducts cold and heat much better. A textured or pebbled lining will help maintain the humidity. White wines should be stored at a cooler temperature than red. You can find options with separate compartments, or depending upon how much wine you want to store, you may want to consider two units. Check out the interior shelving to make sure you like the feel. Shelves that roll out make it easier to read labels and remove bottles. Basic models will have fixed chrome wire shelving. The higher end models will probably have wood framed wire grids or wood racks. While glass doors may be more aesthetically pleasing, allowing you to view the wine, they’re not as effective at insulation. They’re also more expensive. But if you choose a glass door, make sure that it has a UV-protective finish. Exposure to sunlight can damage the wine. The compressor that cools your fridge is going to have tendency to vibrate. But over time, shaking can harm the wine. So look for options to stabilize the vibration. Mounting the compressors on rubber blocks or coated wires that grip the bottles will help. If your budget can only get you the basic wire racks, consider putting some towels under the bottles to soften the impact of the vibration.
It’s a good idea to check out the sound output from the model you’re considering. Will it be distracting or overpowering? Smaller models are going to have a tendency to be louder. Just ask your sales person to show you the model plugged in before you agree to purchase. Whether or not you need to lock your wine refrigerator is up to you. If you’re storing particularly expensive wines you may want a lock. Then again, if you have that much invested in the wine, you may need the large unit mentioned above. But locks also provide parental protection and keep inquisitive teenagers out. Some models also come with alarms that will remind you that the door is open. You can spend as much as you are comfortable with on a wine refrigerator. Generally you can find a good quality 12-bottle model online for under $200. But if you’re buying online, be sure to read the reviews from other reviewers.