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What should I know before buying a wine fridge?

By Kali Rynearson July 20, 2021 0 comments

 Jump Links

  1. Introduction
  2. FAQS
  3. Product Recommendations

Introduction

Professional grade wine fridges are best suited for individuals who are avid wine collectors and enjoyers. They also add to an overall sophistication in the aesthetic of your home entertainment space. A wine refrigerator exudes luxury, though many are cheaper or roughly equal to the price of a normal refrigerator. You might find yourself here because you’re not sure where to start when it comes to purchasing a wine cooler. Here is a detailed overview of everything we think you should know before purchasing a wine fridge. 

What are the main differences between a wine fridge and a regular refrigerator?

Essentially, a regular fridge is designed to maintain low temperatures and minimize humidity that causes your foods to spoil more rapidly. Wine fridges lower temperatures more gradually and maintain levels of humidity that keep your wine fresher longer. Regular fridge temperatures waver between 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is too cold for wine. Your standard fridge also houses a variety of smells that can damage the quality of your wine. As foods deteriorate in your fridge, the odors can be absorbed by the cork in your wine bottles, which affects their taste. 

As stated above, wine fridges are designed to maintain a proper level of humidity which will keep the corks in your bottles of wine moist. When corks are adequately moist, it protects them from air seeping into the bottle and spoiling the taste of your wine. 

Additionally, most standard refrigerators operate with compressors, whose vibrations can interrupt the maturation process of your wine. While some wine fridges run on compressors, they have systems in place to absorb the vibration generated. 

What is the temperature range of the average wine fridge?

Typically a wine fridge keeps your wine between 40-65 degrees Fahrenheit to store both red and white wines. 

How do wine fridges work? 

Most consumer wine fridges are electric, which allows them to run quietly and cost effectively. Other wine fridges operate with compressors. 

What’s the difference between a compressor and an electric wine fridge? 

Compression cooling works by circulating a refrigerant around the back of the refrigerator using a compression system. The refrigerant is a gas and it’s compressed by the compressor, which raises the temperature and pushes the gas through the metal coils on the back of the refrigerator. This refrigerant gas transforms back into a liquid as it synthesizes with the air in the room the fridge is located in. The liquid refrigerant expands as it flows through the coils, allowing it to absorb heat from the surrounding air. This cools the fridge, increases the temperature of the refrigerant, and then the process begins again.

Electric cooling is the more common method of refrigeration because the process is quieter and the apparatus is smaller. Electric, or thermoelectric, fridges work via the Peltier effect. The Peltier effect, in layman’s terms, utilizes a natural phenomenon where heat flows to cool and cool flows to heat through electrically charging two pieces of metal. 

Which is better?

The short answer is that it depends on what you prioritize. Some people prefer compressor fridges because they are able to achieve lower temperatures. You can also store other items in them for long-term refrigeration such as food and other perishables. They are however markedly noisier than electric refrigerators. For most home and commercial uses, the cooling provided by electric refrigerators should suffice. Refrigerants can also be damaging to the environment, so those who are environmentally conscious often choose electric wine fridges. 

Are wine fridges expensive to run? 

Wine refrigerators are not expensive at all to run. Energy efficient refrigerators such as the ones we sell here at Great Keg, will only cost between $40-100 a year to run depending on the size. 

There are however some exceptions: 

  • Thermoelectric fridges can be expensive when operated outdoors. 
  • Compressors operating with very few bottles can rack up pricier electric bills.
  • Leaving your wine fridge against a wall can result in less oxygen circulation, which will increase the price of the electricity used to power it. By moving your wine refrigerator slightly away from the wall, it allows for a better flow of oxygen and thus reduces the amount of electricity needed to cool it. 
  • Opting to buy multiple small fridges versus one large wine cooler. Over the lifetime of your wine collecting, upgrading to a larger fridge as necessary will ultimately save you money in electric costs. 
  • Opening and closing the fridge frequently will result in higher electric costs because it will require your fridge to continually exert additional energy to regulate the temperature again. 

Are wine fridges loud?

Electric and thermoelectric wine fridges are very quiet. Compressor wine fridges are louder but are able to reach lower temperatures.

Are wine fridges only for white wine? 

Both white and red wines may be stored in a wine refrigerator, though it is recommended that you purchase a dual zone model if you wish to store both. The ideal temperature for red wine is between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes storing red wine in a refrigerator ideal if you live in warmer climates or tend to drink it frequently in the spring and summer months. White wine should be stored at between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Rosé should be stored at roughly 46-50 degrees Fahrenheit. If either wine is stored at improper temperatures, it affects the aging process and can lead to worsened taste over a short period of time. 

Are wine fridges good for beer? 

Wine fridges can be excellent for beer, though different beers should be stored at different temperatures. 

  • 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit: Lighter beer like lager, pilsner, wheat beer, and low-calorie beer.
  • 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit: Ales such as IPAs, Amber Bock, and Stout.
  • 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit: Stronger beers like Barleywine and Dark Ale. 

What else can I use my wine cooler for?

You can also house a variety of non-alcoholic beverages in your wine fridge such as soda, sparkling water, iced tea, fruit or vegetable juices, and energy drinks. The variable temperature controls make it suitable to store most beverages. You can also store fruits and cheeses in your wine fridge as long as they don’t have too potent of an odor.

What sizes do wine fridges come in?

Wine fridges come in a variety of sizes. We personally stock options in as low as a six bottle count and as high as 400 bottles. Your choice of size will rely heavily on what type of wine drinker you are. A casual wine drinker might be able to get away with something in the 6-24 bottle capacity. Moderate wine drinkers could benefit from medium capacity wine fridges, somewhere in the 25-125 bottle capacity range. Avid wine collectors and establishments such as bars, hotels, and restaurants should look at large capacity wine refrigerators. 

What’s the difference between built-in and freestanding wine fridges?

Built-in wine fridges are manufactured so they exhaust properly when built into cabinetry. These units will have directions on how to integrate the unit in their instruction manuals. 

Freestanding wine fridges have exhausts on the back of the unit and should not be built into cabinetry. They should also not be placed directly against a wall. 

Where can I install my wine refrigerator?

Built-in wine refrigerators can be installed under the counter or sit within cabinetry. 

Where are wine refrigerators commonly installed?

You can sit your wine fridge in the kitchen, dining room, living room, home bar, basement, garage, outdoor patio (if outdoor approved), and anywhere else that allows proper air circulation. Please note that if placed on top of carpet, we suggest using some kind of waterproof mat. Though wine fridges do not typically leak, it is recommended to safeguard against it anyways.

What kind of racks are used in wine coolers?

This varies based on manufacturer. Some use metal and others use wood racks. Almost all are adjustable and contain bottle supports that stop the bottles from rolling around. 

What are things I should consider when purchasing a wine fridge?

  • Do you tend to collect wine bottles or drink them at the rate you purchase them? If you collect wine, a larger capacity fridge is the right option for you. If you drink wine at about the rate you purchase it, you could get away with using a smaller wine fridge.
  • Where are you going to put your wine fridge? Compression fridges are louder but are able to reach lower temperatures if you’re not going to be bothered by the sound. Which size will fit into your existing space seamlessly? Do you want to build it into cabinetry? 
  • Are you storing red wine, white wine, or both? If storing both, you may consider purchasing a dual zone wine fridge as each should be kept at different temperatures. 
  • What extra features, if any, do you want? Many wine fridges come with locks to secure your collections which may be particularly helpful if you have teenagers or if the fridge will be placed in a commercial space with open access to it overnight. Others come with LED lighting, safety sensors, and digital temperature displays. 

Should I purchase a wine fridge with a solid door or a glass door?

Solid doors provide more insulation on the whole, but there is an aesthetic difference. Glass doors can elevate the look of your wine fridge, which is why many people opt for them. Be sure to look for a glass door that is thoroughly insulated and UV-protected as excessive sunlight can damage your wine. 


Product recommendations

Best small capacity wine fridge

Summit 12-Bottle Wine Cooler

Summit 12 bottle wine fridge

Highlights: 

  • Unique aesthetic brings luxury to smaller spaces - this wine cooler can sit countertop or atop a larger capacity wine fridge.
  • Digital temperature controls make setting the proper temperature for your wine easy.
  • Glass pane allows you to see inside the wine cellar to display your collection.

Best medium capacity wine fridge

LANBO PRO 30 Inch Dual Zone Wine Cooler

LANBO PRO 30 Inch Dual Zone Wine Cooler

Highlights

  • Store up to 62 bottles of vintage wine at optimal maturation temperatures for reds and whites specifically.
  • It features two glass shelves and 4 chrome-plated bottle/stemware racks.
  • Its digital temperature control is extremely precise. 

Best medium capacity wine fridge for small spaces

Allavino 15" Tru-Vino Technology 30 Bottle Dual Zone Black Wine Refrigerator

Allavino 15" Dual Zone Wine Refrigerator

Highlights

  • Can be built-in or standalone
  • It comes with a security lock in case you have teenagers
  • Available in black or stainless steel

https://greatkeg.com/products/15-wide-flexcount-ii-tru-vino-technology-30-bottle-dual-zone-black-wine-refrigerator#key-features-capacity

Best large capacity wine fridge

LANBOPRO 289 Bottle Single Zone Wine Cooler

LANBOPRO 289 Bottle Wine Refrigerator

Highlights

  • Elegant double door look elevates any space you put it in.
  • Beautifully crafted beechwood shelves adjust to fit different sized bottles.
  • Digital control panel allows you to adjust temperature with ease.
  • LED backlight makes it easy to search for wine.

It also comes in a single door variety

LANBO LUXURY 289 Bottle Single Zone Wine Cooler

LANBO LUXURY 289 Bottle Single Zone Wine Cooler

Fan-favorite wine & beverage center

N'FINITY Pro HDX 30" Wine and Beverage Center

Highlights

  • Our customers love this wine & beverage center, it's one of our best sellers to date.
  • Increased energy efficiency uses less power.
  • Digital temperature controls provide dual zone cooling perfect for wine and beer, so you and your significant other can each have your preferred alcoholic beverage. 

Honorable mention for wine and beverage

Summit - 30" Wide Built-In Wine/Beverage Center

Summit 30" Wide Built-In Wine/Beverage Center

Highlights

  • Created for built-in use to house all of your favorite beers and wines. 
  • Dual zone means you can opt to store beer and wine or red and white wine at different temperatures. 
  • Recessed LED lighting illuminates your beverages without being overpowering.

Best luxury undercounter wine fridge

Perlick Signature Series 48" Undercounter Indoor Wine Cellar

Perlick HP48 Signature Series 48" Undercounter Indoor Wine Fridge

Highlights

  • Available in a variety of choices - single vs dual temp, door hinge right vs. left, and type of door - allowing for the most customization. 
  • Features Perlick's exclusive RAPIDcool air refrigeration, an industry-leading system.
  • Three year full warranty at no additional cost to you.

Best mid-capacity outdoor wine fridge

Summit 24" Wide Single Zone Outdoor Commercial Wine Cellar

Summit 24 Inch Wide Outdoor Commercial Wine Cellar

Highlights

  • Commercially-rated but also suitable for home use. 
  • Unique X-shaped shelves provide futuristic-looking aesthetic.
  • Outdoor rated and energy efficient to reduce costs

 

 


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