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If you’re serious about wine, investing in a wine fridge is essential for keeping your bottles safe and on display.
“Wine needs to have a consistent storage temperature, and most places in your home cannot provide that,” says Holly Berrigan, founder of MYSA Natural Wine, a subscription club and online shop focused on natural wine. “Actual room temperature is far too warm for red wines, as they should be anywhere from 50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.” The average cellar temperature is around 55 degrees, Berrigan says, and whites and other chilled wines should be kept between 42 and 50 degrees—warmer than the average temperature of a household refrigerator.
Marshal Tilden III, vice president of sales and wine education at Wine Enthusiast, recommends purchasing a fridge with at least twice the capacity of what you own to allow for growth. After size comes temperature: Look at whether or not you want a single temperature or dual-zone model. Here are some of the best wine fridges available based on every kind of collector’s needs.
Best Overall: Frigidaire 38-Bottle Wine Cooler
Requires serious space
Cannot be built into cabinetry
Dual-zone fridges are Berrigan’s go-to, given her preference for consuming wines at serving temperature (meaning, she likes her whites to be cooler than her reds). She recommends Frigidaire’s 38-bottle cooler for its frostless, UV-protected tinted glass window, stainless steel frame, reversible door, LED lighting and display, and energy-efficient fan system.
With its seven racks (five of which are sliding), you can store your bottles in one of two temperature zones: either a cooler range for whites of 41 to 54 degrees or a warmer range for reds of 55 to 64 degrees. This wine fridge is freestanding only.
Capacity: 38 bottles | Dimensions: 33.875 x 21.5 x 22.375 inches | Temperature Range: 41-54°F and 55-64°F
Best Compact: NutriChef 15-Bottle Refrigerator
Extremely efficient cooling system
Works well in small spaces
For those working with smaller spaces, this compact, yet well-constructed NutriChef wine fridge is the perfect solution. It has four chrome wine racks and one bottom standing rack to securely hold up to 15 standard-size bottles. At 17.7 inches long, 13.6 inches wide and 27.2 inches high, its freestanding design lets you place the fridge on your kitchen floor or countertop.
It still packs a punch with features, including a compressor cooling technology (allowing you to adjust the temperature between 41 to 64 degrees), an auto-lock for the stainless steel door, and a digital control panel to monitor the unit's temperature and interior LED lights. Better yet, the wine fridge keeps your bottles cool while maintaining a quiet operation, thanks to a vibration-free system.
Capacity: 12 bottles | Dimensions: 25 x 9.9 x 19.7 inches | Temperature Range: 50° - 64°F
Best Single-Zone: Kalamera Built-in Wine Cooler
Advanced cooling system
Not energy efficient
If your collection consists of mostly reds, then a single temperature fridge is your best bet. “Keep in mind that all wine—red, white, sparkling and fortified—ages properly at the 53 to 57 temperature range,” notes Tilden.
In other words, if aging is your priority versus serving temperature, then a single temperature fridge will do the job well. Kalamera’s 18-bottle single-zone wine fridge is sleek in design yet highly functional, featuring vibration-reducing advanced cooling technology, smart digital control, a double-pane locking glass door, and six adjustable beech wood shelves that won’t scratch your bottles. The fridge’s minimum temperature is 40 degrees with a maximum of 66 degrees. The front vent also allows you to build it into your counters or keep it as a freestanding fixture.
Capacity: 18 bottles | Dimensions: 33.9 x 11.6 x 22.4 inches | Temperature Range: 40° - 66°F
Best Built-In: Wine Enthusiast Vinotheque Café
Available with right- or left-hinged door
Only one temperature control panel for both zones
Requires serious space
A built-in wine fridge, Tilden says, is ideal “if you plan on building the wine cellar into cabinetry.”
This type of fridge features a unique vent system: the fan is located at the front, meaning it can be installed under a countertop or table as there’s no need for extra room at the back or sides for heat to escape from the unit. The dual-zone Vinotheque Café model from Wine Enthusiast features a front vent, beechwood racks, a touch screen complete with a hygrometer and much more.
It uses a high-performance inverter compressor system to control temperature and can hold up to 46 bottles, protecting them from light, humidity, vibration and heat. This fridge is also energy-efficient, eliminates odors with a charcoal filter, and offers full-cabinet LED lighting as well as a locking stainless steel door with a UV-protected glass pane.
Capacity: 46 bottles | Dimensions: 34.25 x 24 x 24 inches | Temperature Range: 41° - 54°F and 54° - 68°F
Best Features: Ivation Built-In Wine Cooler
Easy temperature control
Shelves are removable but not adjustable
A trusted name in home appliances, Ivation offers a wide variety of smartly-designed wine fridges. This particular built-in model has a range of 40 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit and features a heavyweight double-panel glass door to protect bottles from UV light. It also holds up to 31 bottles in its thermally-insulated single-zone chamber and is equipped with a heavy-duty compressor, chilling wines quickly and efficiently.
Control each zone with ease using the digital LCD control panel, and turn the soft interior LED lighting on or off as you please. Though it packs power, this cooler is both energy-efficient and extremely quiet, with vibration-suppressing technology to help minimize sediment inside your bottles. A front-facing vent means you can place it anywhere—because it’s a built-in fridge, you can incorporate it into existing cabinetry to save space or achieve a streamlined appearance.
Capacity: 31 bottles | Dimensions: 34 x 15 x 21 inches | Temperature Range: 40° - 66°F
Best Slim: EdgeStar Built-In Wine Cooler
Great for storing just a few special bottles
Very limited storage
Small but mighty, EdgeStar’s seven-bottle single zone wine fridge can live on any surface or tight floor space thanks to its sleek, streamlined design. Plus, the front-facing vent system means that the fridge can be built-in or used as an under-counter fridge.
It also features an easy-to-use digital temperature display (with a minimum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a max of 65 degrees), six slide-out metal racks, LED lighting to showcase bottles, an integrated lock system and a reversible door to accommodate both left- and right-handed users.
Capacity: 7 bottles | Dimensions: 34.3 x 20.4 x 5.8 inches | Temperature Range: 40° - 65°F
Best Large: VinoTemp 141 Bottle Single Zone Freestanding/Built-In Wine Cellar
Backlit with three different color options, one of which helps to reduce bacteria and mold
Requires ample space
It might seem counterintuitive at first, but according to Michael Kennedy, founder of Vin Fraîche and Gagnon-Kennedy Vineyards, investing in a large single zone wine fridge is a smart idea for growing collections.
“In my opinion, lean toward the single-zone coolers, because in reality, you can store everything at about 55 degrees,” Kennedy tells Liquor.com. “Most inexpensive dual-zone coolers in my experience end up breaking far sooner than single zones—sometimes, the more parts you have, the more opportunity [there is] to break down. Stick with a single-zone until you get into the 300 bottle range,” he adds.
Sommelier Jamie Trott, who works with specialty importer JP Bourgeois, is partial to VinoTemp single zone wine coolers in particular, and like Kennedy, the one in his home is kept at a steady 55 degrees. “I would look at it as a long-term investment, like a bed or office furniture,” he says, noting that he’s had a great experience with his VinoTemp for more reasons than one. “It will [also] have great resale value if you decide to buy something bigger down the road.”
Capacity: 141 bottles | Dimensions: 73.875 x 23.875 x 28.75 inches | Temperature Range: 41° - 64°F
Best Splurge: EuroCave Premiere Double L Wine Cellar With Display Presentation Shelf
Equipped with locks and alarm systems
Requires serious space
There’s no shortage of pricey wine fridges to splurge on—in fact, one could spend thousands upon thousands for a top-of-the-line cooler tricked out with tons of fancy features. But where to begin? Vito Palumbo, brand manager for Italian wine brand Tormaresca, says EuroCave’s Premiere line is always a safe bet.
“They are top-quality and [are] great for those collector bottles that you want to keep in perfect condition,” Palumbo says of Eurocave, which is sold stateside exclusively by Wine Enthusiast. If you’re looking for a wine fridge at this level, you’re likely a somewhat advanced enthusiast or collector, in which case the EuroCave Premiere Double L Wine Cellar is an excellent choice with features such as sleek, modern design, improved energy efficiency, a digital control panel with temperature alarm systems, an ultra-low noise output, an integrated locking handle, adjustable shelving, a detachable light system, and more. This freestanding, dual-zone cooler holds up to 356 bottles and comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty, as well as a five-year sealed parts warranty (parts only).
Capacity: 356 bottles | Dimensions: 71.26 x 53.5 x 28.46 inches | Temperature Range: 48° - 59°F and 48° - 59°F
Our top pick for most households is Frigidaire's 38-bottle wine cooler (view at Home Depot), a freestanding dual-zone option that offers enough capacity without being too overwhelming in size. However, if you have the space for a large wine fridge, go for VinoTemp's 141-Bottle Single Zone Freestanding/Built-In Wine Cellar (view at Wayfair), a top-of-the-line model for the serious wine collector.
What to Look for in a Wine Fridge
Your wine collection is the main factor that will dictate the type of wine fridge you’ll want to shop for, followed closely by your space’s parameters and personal design preferences. For example, if you have a small kitchen and keep just a few special bottles you’d like to cellar, you’ll want to look at some compact options while also deciding whether your wine fridge should live on its own or be built into your cabinetry. For those with large, expensive collections, factors to consider include bottle capacity, locks and alarm systems, multiple temperature zones, and more. More and more models with energy efficient systems are becoming available, which is also something to think about, as well as noise output—generally speaking, going for a quieter option is always a safe bet, no matter where your wine fridge will live.
Should you put wine in the fridge?
The ideal temperature for all wines is around the 55 degree mark, according to the experts. This means that any wine bottles you plan to keep long-term, whether white, red, or otherwise, should ideally live in a controlled environment designed to maintain their integrity—that’s where a wine fridge comes in. Let’s just say they’re pretty handy for those times when you just can’t seem to find continuous, long-term access to a wine cellar.
How long does wine last in the fridge?
When stored properly, unopened wine bottles can be kept for years. If you’re opening a bottle and plan to store the bottle’s remnants in your wine fridge for later, just be sure you’re using a bottle stopper with a strong seal, as most wine fridges store bottles horizontally, and don’t wait too long to finish the rest of the wine as it will lose its freshness over the days that follow. Alternatively, use a system like Coravin to “tap into” your bottles (literally) and enjoy them for months (or even years) to come.
How do you put wine in the fridge?
In general, wine bottles should always be stored on their sides and not upright. The point of this is to prevent the cork from drying out by maintaining contact between the cork’s surface and the wine inside the bottle. If a cork is allowed to dry out, this means that oxygen will find its way into the bottle, and this is bad news for the wine (oxidation is one of the main reasons a wine will become “corked,” which is never a good thing).
What temperature should a wine fridge be?
For reference, average cellar temperature is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considerably lower than room temperature. Reds should be stored around this temperature (although, as Berrigan notes, anywhere between 50 and 68 degrees is a safe zone). Whites and other chilled still wines are best kept between 42 and 50 degrees, which is warmer than the average temperature of a normal refrigerator. If you’re working with a single zone, take Tilden’s advice and store any and all bottles between 53 and 57 degrees, which is the sweet spot for all wines to age gracefully.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
While wine doesn’t tend to last too long at Céline Bossart’s home, it never hurts to have smart storage. After spending the last seven years as a beverage writer, she’s seen her fair share of wine fridges. She also interviewed two experts for this piece: Holly Berrigan, founder of MYSA Natural Wine and Marshal Tilden III, vice president of sales and wine education at Wine Enthusiast.
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