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

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.

Wine fridge allow you to enjoy each wine at its proper serving temperature. Drinking even inexpensive wines at the proper temperature can enhance your wine enjoyment.

Wine Cabinets

When you want to store and age wine but don’t have a large enough collection to warrant a full wine cellar, you can use a wine cabinet. These are large appliances with systems to regulate temperature and humidity. Some of these cabinets are multi-temperature appliances.

Made by AmeriCave, La Cache, and EuroCave, wine cabinets can be upright like an armoire or long like a crendenza and can be free standing or built in. They can be industrial or resembling gun safes, or they can be fine pieces of cabinetry crafted in a number of finishes with any type of decorative doors. They can hold 100 to1000 bottles.

EuroCave models have internal fans and hygrometry functions that can be monitored and regulated through a digital control panel. It will tell you if you need to add water to the humidity cassette in the bottom of the cabinet. These models also come with a built-in alarm to warn you of temperature and humidity changes within the cabinet or if the door had not been properly closed.All of EruoCave cabinets come with amber lighting that doesn’t have any ultra-violet rays in it. UV light is extremely harmful to wine. You can choose to have either the light on constantly or only when the door is opened.

In addition, the EuroCave shelves don’t come into contact with the back of the cabinet where condensation can occur. Labels are protected from drips, and the wine is kept from an extra cold wall.

If you just need to chill your table wine and store them for a month or so, choose a wine fridge. If you need to age your wine and keep it for long-term storage, invest in a wine cabinet. When your collection grows large enough, you can upgrade to a wine room or full wine cellar.