There comes a point in every wine lover's life where the question ‘do I need a wine fridge?’ comes up. Perhaps the cupboard used to store your favorite bottles is overflowing, or you’re starting to bring special bottles home from trips. If you do the math, if you have more than 30 or 40 bottles in your home, a wine fridge is probably a wise investment. Specially crafted just for wine, these fridges safeguard your collection and ensure your wine is stored safely, whether you plan to drink it in one week or ten years.
The benefit of a wine fridge is they come in a range of sizes and styles. Some are grand, able to hold a hundred bottles while others are compact and small enough to fit under a kitchen counter while still being able to hold 30 bottles. Some units have dual temperature zones for both reds and whites, while others are specifically designed to fit cans. Curious to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about buying a wine fridge.
What is a wine fridge?
A wine fridge is a dedicated refrigerator for storing beverages, whether that is port, wine, beer, or Champagne. Every detail of a wine fridge is designed to protect and enhance the flavors of wine, saving the bottle from direct light, humidity, and temperatures that can prematurely spoil a bottle. The temperature of a wine fridge is customized to wine’s ideal cellaring temperature, and the glass front is crafted to block UV rays.
How do you use a wine fridge?
Grab your favorite bottles and slide them into the slots in the fridge. Store the bottles that you think are most susceptible to age. Bottles like breezy rosés and everyday wines likely won’t need extra security, so prioritize the age-worthy reds or whites.
Consider sorting your bottles by age or style. I prefer sorting my fridge from the top down—my whites that I’m likely to drink sooner rather than later or the bottles I’ll pull out when friends come over go at the top. On the bottom rows of my fridge are the special things—wines that could benefit from a few years of aging. Once your fridge is packed, set your temperature and your bottles will be chilled and ready when you need them.
Where should I put my wine fridge?
Wine fridges are often outfitted for different spaces. Some are freestanding—all you need is a plug to set it up. Others are built-in; designed to be added into cabinetry. What’s the difference? A built-in wine fridge has fans on the front, allowing it to be installed within cabinetry, say, in a kitchen or countertop—spaces where a vent can’t push heat into the back of the unit.
What capacity do I need?
That’s up to you! A good rule of thumb is to expect your collection to double over time. So if you have twenty bottles now, look for a fridge that holds at least forty bottles. If you have fifty, look for a larger fridge. If you have 100 bottles, well, you get the gist.
Frigidaire 38-Bottle Wine Cooler
What it’s best for: Your first wine club
One of the best fridges to start off with is Frigidaire’s 38-Bottle Two-Zone Cooler. It offers dual temperature zones—think one for red and one for white—and a set-up that fits perfectly alongside standard kitchen appliances. It comes ready to assemble, so just remove the styrofoam and plug it in. It holds 38 bottles (though some slots are smaller for Alsatian-sized bottles, half bottles, or cans) in two different temperature zones. Don’t let the sleek stainless steel finishes and natural wood shelves fool you, this unit is offered at a fairly affordable price point. This fridge is excellent as a dedicated wine fridge, especially for those just starting their collection.
If you drink beyond wine or have an affinity for canned wine, consider Lanbo’s dual-unit zone...
Lanbo Lockable Compact Stainless Steel 18-Bottle/55-Can Drink Refrigerator
What it’s best for: A larger assortment of beverages
One of the biggest benefits of Lanbo’s dual-zone fridges is the versatility—one side can store all of your bottles of wine, while the other keeps beers, canned wines, sodas, and any other smaller-format beverage on the other side. The two different temperature chambers can be customized to keep sides set to specific temperatures—think white wine and ready-to-drink beers on one side, and aging reds on the other. Add in smart controls, a front vent, security locks, and an odor-reducing carbon filter and this is an efficient, reliable beverage center.
What temperature should a wine fridge be?
While both your kitchen fridge and your wine fridge do cool, they cool at very different temperatures. Your regular refrigerator typically stays at 38 degrees—far too cold for storing wine. Frigidaire’s fridge dips to 45 degrees at the lowest. Ideally, you will store wine between 45 and 54°F for sparkling and whites and 55 and 64°F for reds. Consider keeping one section of the fridge at cellaring temperature and the other at serving temperature, so you can pull out a bottle when needed.
Should I buy a wine fridge?
If you’re serious about wines, whether you love silky beaujolais or you’re nerdy about chardonnay from Burgundy, you can benefit from a dedicated beverage fridge. Not only will it free up space in your actual fridge, but it will safeguard wines and other volatile beverages. The best options are frostless and UV-protected, with customizable temperatures and energy-efficient powering. Beyond that, you ought to pick a beverage fridge that matches your wine collection. (Here are a few more of our favorites.)
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Kate Dingwall is an experienced wine writer and working sommelier, who has her BarSmarts and WSET certification. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for six years, including extensive coverage on the subject of glassware and bar accessories.