How to Choose a Wine Cooler Fridge

A fine wine might get better with age, but you’ll still need to do your part to keep it fresh.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or you’re still developing your palate, there are a few steps you can take to get the most out of each bottle. 

One of the simplest ones? Incorporate a wine cooler fridge into your home to keep your favorite bottles fresh! 

Designed with just the right temperature and the right humidity levels to keep wine corks moist, a wine fridge is an ideal alternative to stashing open bottles in your regular fridge. There, the corks can quickly dry out and shrink, allowing air to enter your bottle.

Today, we’re sharing how to choose the right fridge to fit your needs! Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!

1. Determine the Type You Need

Before you begin comparing features, it’s important to understand that you have two options when it comes to installing a wine cooler fridge, including:

  • Free-standing models
  • Built-in refrigerators

Let’s review each in greater detail.

Free-Standing Wine Fridges

These wine refrigerators stand on their own. Most homeowners will place them on their countertop or on the floor.

An advantage of a free-standing model is that compressor coils can go on the back of the unit. This gives it a clean look and allows you to maximize the interior storage space.

Built-In Wine Refrigerators

A built-in wine fridge is designed to fit snugly between your kitchen cabinets. Because this position doesn’t allow space for compressors on the back, the bottom of the unit features coils and an exhaust grate that allow air to escape. 

As you compare the two types, keep flexibility in mind. A built-in wine fridge can also work as a free-standing unit, though the opposite does not hold true. A free-standing unit requires proper airflow all around the appliance.

If you need more information about the types of coolers check out: Your Guide to Different Types of Wine Coolers

2. Understand Different Cooling Systems

You might not think too much about the logistics that go on behind the scenes to keep your bottles fresh inside of a wine fridge. However, it should be one of the main points that you research, and here’s why:

The type of cooling system your unit has will determine how loud it is and, therefore, where you can place it. Let’s take a look at the two main types.

Compressor System

This is the most common type of wine fridge cooling system. A compressor system cools the air inside your fridge by pumping a chemical refrigerant through its coils. If you plug in your machine and can hear it running, that’s the compressor at work.

Keep in mind that a large wine fridge will have a large compressor that can be loud when it enters the “on” cycle. Make sure you know the decibel level before you buy one.

Thermoelectric Systems

A thermoelectric cooling system doesn’t rely on chemicals to keep your unit cool. Rather, it works by forcing electricity through a metal plate called a heat pump.

Two advantages to this type of system:

Unlike a compressor, they don’t vibrate or shake at all, which means you don’t have to worry about shaking up sediment inside of your bottles. They also boast silent operation. 

Thermoelectric systems, however, can have trouble keeping wine cool when the external temperature is very hot. So make sure to keep that in mind when making your purchasing decision.

3. Cooling Zones

As you shop around, you might be interested in units that offer different options for cooling zones. Here’s the breakdown:

Single Zone Coolers

Single zone coolers will keep your entire cooler at one constant temperature. They take up less space and tend to be more cost-effective. This is a great option if you mostly drink one type of wine. Since red and white wines have different temperature requirements, a single zone cooler may not be the best option for you if you plan on cooling red wines and white wines alike. 

Dual Zone Coolers

With dual zone coolers, you can set different temperatures for different kinds of wine. Though these can be convenient (especially if you drink both red and white varieties), they will also take up more space. If square footage is at capacity, a singe-zone wine fridge will work just fine. 

4. Consider Your Personal Aesthetic

A wine refrigerator adds an element of luxury to any home.

Yet, before you invest in one, make sure the kind you choose aligns with your personal design style.

Classic finishes such as stainless steel appliances or black appliances blend well with many different kinds of interiors, making them the most versatile option. 

5. Choose the Right Size

You could have an extensive wine collection, with hundreds of bottles under your possession. Or, you might be more of a casual drinker, just looking to make sure your favorite rosé is always at the right temperature.

To choose the right size for your wine cooler unit, think about how many bottles you usually have on hand. Then, add about 20% to that number to give your collection room to grow over time, or to make sure you’ll always have space when entertaining a crowd.

Research each unit’s bottle capacity before committing to a model. Almost every unit will include this detail on their box or product description.

6. Decide on Shelving

One quick note: not all beverage coolers are designed to hold wine.

Look for a unit that’s specially designed to hold your bottles on their side, as this will keep them fresh for the longest period of time by allowing the wine to make contact with the cork. As this interaction occurs, the liquid helps keep the cork moist, sealing out harmful bacteria for years. 

Proper wine fridges will feature either rolling wooden shelves or metal wine racks to hold your bottles the right way.

Another reason to store your wine bottles on their sides? Doing so maximizes the surface area of the wine that’s able to oxidize in storage. This helps fine wines age with grace and great flavor!

Cheers to Finding the Best Wine Cooler Fridge

There are few home investments as exciting and rewarding as a wine cooler fridge. While the above five features are important points, the list is far from exhaustive.

Today, you can also select from myriad of bells and whistles designed to help you make the most of your unit. From energy-efficient models to ones that include UV protection, child locks, and reversible doors, the opportunities are as bottomless as that collection of Merlot you’re soon to amass.

Need a little help as you continue your quest for the best wine accessories around? We’ve got you covered. 

We’re industry experts who love to share our tips on how to achieve the best sip. Visit The Best Wine Cellars homepage today to learn more!