Wine Fridges and Wine Cabinets

One of the biggest areas of confusion among wine collectors and enthusiasts are wine refrigerators and wine cabinets. Many novice wine lovers think that wine fridges are quite sufficient for storing and aging wines. Wine refrigerators, however, have a totally different purpose.

Wine Fridges

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Wine fridges, sometimes called wine coolers or wine caves, are intended to chill your wine to the perfect serving temperature. These appliances are smaller than an entire cellar but can be as big as a regular size refrigerator or as small as a dorm fridge. This is where you keep the wines you plan to drink during a short time frame. Sometimes, you can keep as much as a year’s supply in a wine fridge. Sometimes, they will only hold what you would drink in a month or less.

Like regular fridges for your food, these appliances keep the humidity low (usually under 50%). This is below the optimal range of about 50% to 70%. This lower humidity can dry out corks over time and shrink them, allowing oxygen to enter the bottle and reduce the quality of the wine. You can monitor temperature and humidity in a wine fridge by using a special gauge inside the fridge. You can set the temperature between 45 degrees and 65 degrees, depending on what wines you are chilling. Wine fridges can maintain the proper temperature for your wine, without the constant opening and closing of a food fridge that can result in temperature fluctuations.

Each type of wine has different requirements. Full-bodied reds are best served between 59 degrees and 66 degrees. You should chill them in the fridge at 55 degrees to 59 degrees and then bring them out to warm slightly before serving. Roses and dry white wines are served between 43 degrees and 57 degrees. If you are storing the wine to be used later in the week or month, you can keep the fridge at 55 degrees to 57 degrees. Sparkling wines and champagne are usually served very cold, between 43 degrees and 47 degrees. You may need to have more than one wine fridge if you are chilling and storing different types of wine.

Wine fridges come in small 6-bottle models that can sit on a counter or under it. Others are larger, holding as many as 120 bottles. They can be free standing or built in with back vents or front vents for air circulation for the motor.