Sadly, not many of us live in homes with a cavernous cellar to stock all our favourite tipples in. Sure, you could just pop your white wine in your kitchen fridge or find a spot for your red under the stairs or on your worktop.
But, if you’re serious about your wine, it could make sense to invest in a wine fridge. After all, if you’ve put all that time and effort into choosing wines which will age well, it would be terrible if you opened a bottle for a special occasion, only to find that incorrect storage has made your wine undrinkable. So what do you need to consider before taking the plunge and buying your own wine fridge?
As the saying goes, size matters. Think about how much wine you want to store. Are you looking at wine for the odd dinner party, or starting a serious collection. Wine fridges which fit under your kitchen worktop generally carry around 40 bottles but if you’re serious about buying wine as an investment, you will want to look at buying the largest fridge you can afford. Also, consider what type of wine you like because if you’re opting for larger or thicker bottles, it goes without saying that you will be able to fit fewer in.
Red, white or rosé?
Do you have a favourite colour or do you drink white and your other half prefers red? As a general rule, whites and roses need to be stored at a lower temperature than reds. Too cold or too warm and the temperature can impair the taste of your wine. If you’re opting for a state-of-the-art fridge, you’ll find there are different temperature zones within your unit so you can store white at the bottom and your reds at the top. But, if you don’t want to spend too much, you may have to make a compromise and bring your wine up or down to the right temperature before you drink it.
For sure, it’s becoming less common to have a cork in your wine these days, but some bottles still use this method. That’s why humidity and not just temperature is important. If it’s too dry, you’ll find corks will dry out and won’t form a proper seal anymore, but if it’s too damp, you could get mould.
If you’re looking at an entry-level fridge, you’ll tend to find they have fixed shelving. But more expensive models are likely to have shelves you can roll out or adjust so you can change the configuration depending on what type of wine and shape of bottles you have in your collection.
To see or not to see
A stylish wine fridge can not just store your wine correctly, but change the look of your kitchen or dining room. But, even though they look great, think about whether you really want glass doors. They don’t insulate as well as solid doors and could let sunlight in depending on where they’re positioned. If you really want to show off your collection and, let’s face it, who wouldn’t, then check if the glass is UV-protected.
You might think that if you have a wine fridge, you can put it anywhere and it will retain the inside temperature. But you should really try to store it where the room temperature doesn’t change too much, so try to avoid putting your collection in the garage which can be subject to extremes of heat and cold.
It goes without saying that cost is a factor. You can pay as little as a hundred pounds or euros to the price of a small car for a wine fridge. You can even have a bespoke wine fridge made to perfectly fit under your stairs.
Choosing the ideal wine fridge is all about what’s right for you, what you drink and who you drink it with.