If you are looking to build a wine collection at home, it might be time to invest in a wine fridge. A decent wine cooler not only offers a practical way to store your wine prior to consumption, it also allows you to mature your collection to enrich flavours and aromas. You will find a great variety of wine fridge options on the market, ranging from compact models that can sit discreetly on counters to much larger appliances that boast dual cooling zones and impressive storage capacities.
Types Of Wine Fridges
Read on for our breakdown of the most common types of wine fridges you can expect to find, along with some key features you should look out for when browsing the market.
Dual Zone Wine Fridges
Wine fridges that offer dual cooling zones are without doubt the best of the best. These types of wine coolers are the way to go if you are looking to build a varied wine collection. As you would expect from the name, dual zone wine fridges offer two distinct temperature environments for your stored wine. White whine is best maintained at lower temperatures, so you should look for fridges that offer a cooling zone with a temperature range of between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you regularly consume sparkling wines, you may wish to look for a fridge with a cooling zone that offers substantially lower temperatures. For maximum convenience, a colder cooling zone range of between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit should be more than sufficient for properly storing all of your whites.
Red wine is best kept at higher temperatures. Look for fridges that include a cooling zone operating at between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure your favourite reds are kept in ideal conditions for maximum enjoyment. The overall size of each cooling zone will vary depending on the exact cooler model you go for. If you prefer white wines over reds, you should opt for a fridge with a larger cooling zone to accommodate them. Most dual zone wine fridges feature a single door, with the cooling zones separated vertically. However, you can also find two-door fridges on the market, with each side accommodating a different temperature. These might be the best option for those with a collection that includes an even balance of reds and whites. Generally speaking, dual zone fridges offer a greater bottle capacity than other cooler models.
Under the Counter Wine Coolers
If you have less available space in your kitchen, an under counter wine cooler is an obvious choice. These wine cooler models can be tucked neatly under your work surfaces, with minimal impact on your existing square footage. Unless you opt for a particularly wide model, these wine coolers will be relatively limited in terms of bottle capacity. Their smaller design also means you are unlikely to find under counter wine fridges that offer dual cooling zones. There are many things you should consider when looking to invest in an under the counter wine fridge. One major thing to keep in mind is the overall dimensions of any given cooler. Unless you adjust your existing cabinets and counter height to accommodate the size of your wine cooler, the fridge you pick will not fit flush.
As an under the counter wine fridge will be situated close to kitchen cabinets and other appliances, you should also make sure the model you pick is an energy-efficient option. Because these fridges are placed in close proximity to appliances and units, it can be difficult for them to maintain ideal temperatures. Advanced compressors and temperature regulators will compensate for this, ensuring your wine bottles are maintained at a desirable temperature all times. Vibration is also something you will want to consider when shopping for under counter coolers. If the model you pick is known to vibrate excessively, existing operational noise will be magnified when in close proximity to other objects.
Integrated Wine Fridges
If you are looking to refit your kitchen with new units, an integrated wine fridge is definitely your best option. An integrated fridge is undoubtedly the most attractive option, blending seamlessly with your kitchen units. Integrated wine coolers eliminate unsightly gaps between your appliance and cabinetry and are a great option for those looking for a space-saving solution. These types of coolers come in all shapes and sizes, so you are not limited when it comes to functionality. Many integrated fridges offer dual cooling zones and large bottle capacities, making them ideal for those with larger wine collections. However, you will also find much smaller fridge models that can be easily integrated into kitchen cabin.
There are some things you will need to consider before investing in this type of fridge, however. Because these appliances fit flush within existing units, you need to minimise the chance of your appliance overheating. In this scenario, you should always select wine coolers that include a ventilation panel at the front of the appliance itself.
Freestanding Wine Coolers
If you have more space to work with in your kitchen, a freestanding wine fridge is definitely worth considering. You will find freestanding wine coolers in a variety of sizes, from compact models that can store a dozen or so bottles, to much larger alternatives to house exhaustive collections of reds and whites. If you are lucky enough to have a large kitchen that can accommodate a sizeable freestanding wine fridge, style is something you need to keep at the forefront of your mind. As almost every angle of the fridge itself will be exposed, you should opt for a model with an attractive finish and slick details. Adjustable legs are also a must when purchasing freestanding wine colours. These will allow your fridge to remain stable and secure on any surface. Adjustable legs and feet are very important if you intend to place your fridge on carpeted floors. Large freestanding fridges usually boast impressive bottle capacities, while many will also deliver dual cooling zones to house a variety of wine varieties.
Countertop Wine Fridges
Smaller freestanding fridges often fall within the countertop bracket. Countertop wine fridges are the preferred option for a small kitchen. They usually offer limited storage capacity, but most models will offer sufficient space for around a dozen bottles of wine. These types of wine cooler are a very practical option and should be considered a gateway purchase. They are also more affordable, so should satisfy the budget-conscious buyer. You will most certainly be restricted to a single cooling zone when you buy a countertop wine cooler, but extra wide models may offer dual cooling functionality. Countertop coolers do have the advantage of being particularly portable, however. As such, you can readily move them to a new room should you fancy a reshuffle of your kitchen.
Key Features to Consider When Looking Through Differing Type Of Wine Fridges
Simple Temperature Control
Even the most basic of wine coolers should include user-friendly controls so you can make quick adjustments to temperature settings. Soft-touch buttons and touch-screen control panels are the ideal, while LCD displays should be included as standard. A memory function is also essential to ensure your fridge reactivates at your preferred temperature in the event of unexpected power failure.
Almost every wine fridge on the market will include internal shelves as part of their overall design. These shelves should be removable for easy cleaning, while also offering smooth gliding action for easy storage and access to your bottles. Removal shelves also allow you to make quick reconfigurations of the interior of your fridge, allowing you to store larger bottles with ease. Wooden shelves are the way to go if you are looking for superior style, but metal ones are robust and easy to care for. Shelving should be properly contoured to ensure minimal interaction with the cork. Proper shelving should also reduce any vibrations caused by the fridge itself, minimising the amount of interaction with sediments within the wine.
Auto Lock Function
An automatic safety lock is another essential feature you should out for. These locks not only keep children from accessing the contents of your fridge, but also ensure your chosen settings are maintained at all times. Automatic locks also make it less tempting to constantly open the door of your fridge, which helps maintain desirable temperatures and ideal conditions for storing and maturing your wine.
Inbuilt lighting serves two purposes. For starters, it allows you to see exactly what is in your fridge, even when you access it in the dark. With most fridges, you can select automatic activation of lighting, so your fridge is illuminated whenever the door is open. You can also choose to have your fridge illuminated constantly, showcasing your collection of bottles in a stylish manner.
This is particularly important if you intend to store a good selection of red wines. A decent wine fridge should include glass panels that have been manufactured with UV protection in mind, preventing harmful UV rays from penetrating through and damaging your wine store.