When it comes to wine, people who really love it not only care about what bottles they’re buying but also the accessories that come along with their collections. And if there’s one gadget that inspires endless debate as to which model and brand is best, it’s the wine fridge.
But is a wine fridge actually worth it? Well, it depends. If you’re someone who uncorks a bottle once a week, your Maytag will probably cut it. But if you have more than 20 bottles of wine in your home at any given time, then a wine fridge is definitely something to consider.
The thing is, wines are sensitive. Most need to be stored at a consistent 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the variety — and standard fridges are typically set at 40 degrees. Those 15 or so degrees might seem negligible, but the cooler temps can actually disrupt the aging process and cause the flavors to become muted or turn acidic. Plus, if you’re like us and tend to leave the fridge door open while you contemplate what to make for dinner, you risk exposing your wines to vibration, light, humidity, and other factors that can affect longevity.
There’s also the issue of storage. Storing wine on its side is not only a space-efficient way to stash your bottles — some experts say that it also promotes the dispersion of the sediments, making for a better-tasting vino.
If we’ve convinced you to take the plunge, now comes the fun part: making your selection. As with everything in the wine world, this is all about weighing a handful of small-yet-significant details, from the size of the shelves to how many degrees the door opens. To make your life easier, we asked the country’s top somms and wine experts for their best professional-grade and home recommendations. Read on for their picks.
Winemaker at Napa Valley’s Signorello Estate
“For a more affordable option, I like the VinoView 36-bottle stainless steel wine cellar. It’s quiet, holds temperatures well, and is ideal for cabernet-sized bottles. On the higher end, I’m a fan of EuroCave’s Professional 6182 wine cellar, which has a sleek, beautiful design. It also has adjustable shelves to fit all different sizes of bottles and features an easy-to-use temperature display.”
Writer and host of A Glass for Every Palate podcast
“If you’re just starting your collection, I’d suggest Wine Enthusiast’s 24-bottle compressor with upright bottle storage. You can easily maneuver the shelves to accommodate the bottles you have, and it doesn’t take up too much space — which is one of the reasons I, a New Yorker, love it. However, when I got serious about building a collection, I upgraded to Whynter’s 166-bottle built-in stainless-steel compressor. It took three strong men to get it into my apartment, but it was worth it. It’s super quiet, you can take the shelves out to configure things as you please, and it has a display shelf for showcasing all your baller bottles.”
“If you’re willing to splurge, I recommend Eurocave’s Premier L wine fridge. This is the brand that most high-end restaurants use in the absence of a full cellar. The units can go years with only minimal maintenance and are beauties to work with. The 178-bottle capacity doesn’t hurt either.”
Sommelier and co-owner of San Francisco’s High Treason wine bar
“I don’t keep a wine refrigerator at home, but if I did, I’d buy Bodega’s 56-bottle version. I like that there’s a freestanding option, and having two zones is great — one for reds, one for whites. Most importantly, the slots are big enough for Champagne bottles, too.”
“I like a wine fridge with dual temperatures and also one that can hold large format bottles, specifically Burgundy and Champagne/sparkling styles. The one we use in our house is Summit’s 28-bottle Dual Zone Cooler. Summit has roots in commercial refrigeration, so I know I’m buying quality — and, with its simple, approachable design, this fridge looks great in any space.”
Kelly G. Hawkins
Director of Business Development at La Fête du Rosé
“Wine Enthusiast’s 32-bottle dual zone MAX compressor wine cooler is great for those on a budget. It has a small footprint for the home, and the dual-zone feature allows me to optimize the temperature of my red wines while supporting the long-term aging of my premium oak-aged rosé wines. A more high-end option is the Vinotemp Private Reserve Series 188-bottle cooler. The backlighting lends a sexy aesthetic to any space, and this unit can handle large-format sizes, like magnum or jeroboam bottles.”
Wine critic and journalist
“The LG Signature wine cellar is super functional. You can set the temperature at different levels depending on what you’re storing, and, since each bottle is being kept at its optimal temperature for serving, you can easily grab and go. Another feature that I really enjoy — and it sounds sort of silly — is that I can peer through the fridge’s tinted glass to see what’s inside.”
Want to Learn More About Wine?
Unlike what many wine books claim, How To Drink Wine won’t make you an immediate expert. But it will help you understand the fundamentals and give you enough knowledge to begin to incorporate wine into your life.
Written by The Infatuation co-founder and CEO Chris Stang and Grant Reynolds, award-winning sommelier and owner of Parcelle Wine in NYC, this relatable, entertaining, and educational book is designed to give you a baseline from which to build - but with perspective. It’ll help you learn about the 29 wines you’re most likely to come across out in the world, pick the perfect wine to bring to a party, and connect the dots between natural wine and Muppets.
If you’re looking for an interactive learning experience, we’re hosting a free virtual event on Thursday, March 25. Featuring Chris Stang, our CEO and co-founder as well as the Noble Rot co-founders Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, and The Beastie Boys’ Mike D, we’re celebrating the U.S. release of Dan and Andrew’s book Wine From Another Galaxy.
The Noble Rot restaurants and wine magazine are Infatuation favorites and now Dan and Mark can take readers on along a journey of the best of European wine culture. Our event will feature three wines, which you can order via our special Noble Rot x Parcelle collaboration. Order them by 3/22 and you’ll be able to enjoy them alongside Chris, Dan, Mark, and Mike.
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