Wine fridge buying guide
25 June 2022
Are you a wine lover looking for a way to store your collection of bottles? If so, you may be wondering if buying a wine fridge is worth the investment.
From wine cellars to wine coolers and wine cabinets, find out the key elements to consider before making your purchase in this guide.
To choose the best wine fridge for you, start by asking yourself these three questions:
- How long do you want to keep and/or age your bottles?
- How many bottles do you plan to keep in general?
- How much space is available in your home for your new wine fridge?
Choose a wine fridge based on aging or storage time
The first consideration is how long you want to keep or age your bottles. If you are looking for a cooling space for serving white wine, getting a wine cooler can be a great solution. However, it is not recommended to store bottles beyond one year in a cooler, since it is only designed to chill your bottles. For short or long-term storage, a wine cellar is a better alternative!
The term wine cabinet refers to household appliances designed to preserve wine. A wine cellar is rather a space designed specifically for aging wine. This aging space can be fitted with bottle racks and a cooling unit to become a custom wine cellar.
In this guide, we will focus on wine cabinets and fridges. You will find different qualities of wine cabinets on the Canadian market, for different types of wine preservation.
For short or medium-term preservation
A mid-range wine cabinet will offer a good preservation in the short or medium term (about 5 years). Its compressor will stabilize the humidity level and maintain a constant and optimal temperature for proper preservation of the bottles. They are often more affordable than high-end wine cabinets. They can be practical for beginners or for those who are not looking for long term aging.
48 bottle wine cabinet, 1 zone
21.65 x 22.44 x 33.46 inches (W x D x H)
For long-term aging
A high-end wine cabinet, on the other hand, is designed for long-term aging of wine. The quality of materials and insulation, combined with high quality cooling technology, make these wine fridges the closest thing to a true professional wine cellar.
141 bottle wine cabinet, 1 zone
27.36 x 26.77 x 58.23 inches (W x D x H)
5 factors that help wine age well
High-end wine cellars should meet these 5 requirements in order to properly age the bottles:
LIGHT is filtered by the models that have a full door or that have windows which are anti-UV treated. It is indeed the UV rays that have a negative influence on the conservation of the wine.
TEMPERATURE is stabilised between 10 °C and 14 °C, which is ideal for optimal conservation. Too much temperature range, rapid variations or extreme drops or spikes in temperature can hurt the wine. However, a slight fluctuation (a few degrees) with the change of seasons is normal and even desirable.
HYGROMETRY (or humidity) is not only stabilized in order to reduce variations, but will also be optimal between 55 and 80%. This corresponds to the ideal humidity level. It is because of its intimate link with the cork that hygrometry is of the utmost importance, as the cork stopper is both a tight barrier for the liquid and a tool for letting the wine breathe in interaction with its environment. Indeed, if the environment is too dry, the cork may get damaged which can lead to a rapid deterioration of the wine.
VIBRATIONS due to the movement of the compressor will be less noticeable with good quality compressors. These slower and more balanced compressors, often detached from the chest of the cabinet, allow residual vibrations to be reduced to a minimum.
THE POSITION OF THE BOTTLE must be horizontal, which is generally the case in all cabinets, as we want to lock in the moisture of the cork to ensure that it is watertight.
High-end wine cabinets are therefore the absolute best solution for long-term storage of bottles. Of course, a high-end wine cabinet will cost you more because of the sophisticated technology involved.
The number of bottles of wine you want to store
Once you know what type of wine fridge is best for your needs, you only need to think about the number of bottles you want to keep in your wine fridge, either on a rotating basis or for longer term storage.
Castel wine cabinet, 3 zones
Manoir wine cabinet, 1 zone
Loft Vintage wine cabinet, 1 zone
Wine fridges are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit your taste. They can be finished in wood or stainless steel, in a variety of colors and with glass, framed or solid doors. Their capacity varies from 16-18 bottles to 250 bottles. They are sometimes offered in two zones (one is colder for white wine service) and very rarely in three (white wine service, red wine service and long term storage).
In general, if you have more than 200 bottles of wine to keep, you should consider installing a wine cellar directly in your home. This option is more worthwhile in terms of the amount of money to be invested and provides a better preservation of your beloved bottles of wine.
Available space and dimensions of the wine fridge
When buying a wine fridge, especially if it is a large one, you should always consider the space you have to be sure that the dimensions match. It is also important to think about the style of the wine fridge since some are designed to be built-in and others are not. Whether you’ve purchased a mid-range or high-end wine cabinet, you should always check this information.
In general, long-term storage units are more often offered in a non-recessed format, which means that they require a certain amount of clearance on each side of the unit for optimal compressor operation.
Have questions about buying a wine fridge? The Vinum team is happy to help
The Vinum Design team is always available to answer your questions about wine cabinets and wine cellars. Feel free to contact our wine experts. We hope this guide will help you choose the best wine fridge for you!