Buying a wine fridge is a relatively large investment, and you need to get it right the first time. A small amount of time spent doing your homework first will be well rewarded.
To assist selecting the wine fridge that best suits your needs, consider the following 4 key factors:
1. Capacity – from 34 bottles to over 640
Determine how many bottles you need to store now and consider how your wine collection may grow in the future. In my experience, many wine collectors buy more wine once they find a wine storage solution so buy a larger fridge than you think you initially need.
2. Location – on display within the home / office or in the garage
If you intend to put your wine fridge in the dining room, living area, or on display, consider upgrading to a stainless steel door frame, smart handle and smoked glass door. Another option is to build the wine fridge into kitchen cabinetry or a furniture piece. In this case, ensure that the fridge is front ventilated or that there is sufficient room left for air circulation or the wine fridge will not perform properly. Another factor you need to consider if the fridge is in the home is the amount of noise it will make.
If the wine fridge is going in the garage, my guess is that aesthetics may not be as important so you can save money by opting for plain door trims. If you have a lot of wine that you want to store longer term, storage shelves allow higher capacity and further savings.
3. Temperature zones
Determine how much of your wine needs to be stored longer term versus how much wine you need ‘at call’ for short term drinking. ALL wine should be stored at 14 degrees Celsius with a temperature variation of no more than one degree, whilst drinking temperature varies between 6 degrees Celsius (eg. for champagne) and 18 degrees Celsius (eg. for big reds), depending on wine variety. Single temperature zone wine fridges are best suited to storing wine longer term, whilst dual zone and multi temperature units are ideal for restaurants or those who entertain quite regularly and therefore generally require a large amount of wine ‘at call’ at ideal drinking temperature.
When it comes to the day to day use and functionality of your wine fridge, an important factor is the type of shelving. Firstly, unless the shelves are telescopic and roller mounted, you will probably struggle to open a fully stacked shelf. Secondly, the style of shelving (ie. either sliding or storage) needed is based on how much of the same wine you buy as well as how long your wine needs to be aged. If you typically buy wine in dozens or half dozens and want to store longer term, you may consider storage shelves which allow greater capacity in your wine fridge as bottles are stacked on top of each other. Telescopic sliding shelves are ideal for wines you want to drink shorter term as they allow easy access to each bottle.
Whilst there are many more specific factors that you could consider, getting the key considerations right and doing your homework should result in the best possible purchase being made.