Nothing gives away a ‘wannabe wino’ like kitchen fridge-chilled wine. It can turn a delicate drop into a hot mess – literally. Flavours become lost and fine oaky notes are indistinguishable. In fact, the temperature of wine is almost as important as the wine itself.
Do yourself and your wine collection a favour by setting up a wine fridge in your own pad.
Why Everyone Needs A Wine Fridge
Unlike standard kitchen fridges, a wine fridge is built to maintain ideal temperature (generally between 12°C and 18°C) and humidity levels (70% humidity will allow your collection to mature appropriately). Before buying anything, first consider how you plan to use the fridge. Perhaps you’re after a model that offers long-term cellaring. Or maybe it will act as a serving fridge, in which case you will need temps to be cooler. Luckily, some fridges accommodate for both long and short term cellaring, so you can age your best bottles while keeping a few chilled at all times.
Types Of Wine Fridges
Thermoelectric systems are the crème-de-la-crème of wine fridges. The main draw card to these models is the ability to control temperature without the annoying vibration found in most compressor models. They also tend to control temperatures more consistently and evenly.
The more common, and cheaper, alternative to thermoelectric fridges are compressor models. Keep these fridges out of the bedroom because the vibration coming from the internal fan is noticeable. Aside from this minor irritation, most modern compressor fridges work as well as their thermoelectric counterparts.
Wine Fridge Locations
Dark spots are best. Never put a wine fridge in direct sunlight, as this will effect the temperature. Likewise, wine fridges placed near appliances in the kitchen (hello oven, we’re looking at you) can add unwanted heat to your collection.
Garage, man cave, workroom, whatever you wanna call it, never keep wine in the garage! If you’ve ever spent an afternoon in a non-ventilated garage working on the car you’ll know what we mean. Add incoming and outgoing cars to the equation and you’ve got temperature variations not suitable for wine.
Noise is another consideration, so avoid locations near living and sleeping quarters, unless a constant buzzing in your ears sounds appealing.
You’ve got to find your homes sweet spot. One that isn’t too cold, or too hot. A spot where drafts never venture and where direct sunlight cannot reach.
Ideally, it’ll be in a central location for ease of access and have no clutter surrounding its sides – a clean thoroughfare of a few inches on all four sides, and a clear top, will promote optimum circulation.
Consider shelving. Some less expensive fridges offer metal shelves, but these have a tendency to scratch bottles and damage labels. Wood shelves guard against scratching and make for quieter, less tinny, vibrations.
Storing reds and whites together isn’t possible in a regular wine fridge. Multi-zone varieties allow you to do just that without compromising the flavour and maturation of all sorts of different vintages.
Wine Fridge Checklist
- Temperature control
- Humidity control
- Wooden shelves
- Minimal vibration
- The right size for your growing collection
Hottest Wine Chillers Right Now
Budding collectors can start with an 85cm fridge (small enough to hind under your desk at work!) that will hold around a dozen bottles, while the big boys will find full-size fridges more convenient. Here are some of our favourites.
Liebherr WKb 1712 Barrique
Liebherr WKEes 553
After Something Different?
See what you’ll need to create the perfect home wine cellar.