Once you’ve figured out a wine storage solution that will do you and taken delivery, it’s almost time to get it stocked.
That’s where the real fun begin!
But not so fast – there’s one more step you may or may not need to take first.
If you chose a compressor-type model of wine cooler, it’s best to stand your wine fridge up and leave for a full 24 hours before using it.
(If you’re still looking for your ultimate wine fridge, take a look at our guide to buying wine refrigerators)
The reason for this preliminary step is that your wine cooler may have been sitting in a warehouse for months on end. In shipping, your cooler may have been placed on its side or back. When that happens, the refrigerant tends to settle in liquid from, in odd places.
Standing your wine cooler upright (the way it’s supposed to be) and letting it stand for a full day before using it is the right thing to do. If you neglect this step, your compressor-based wine fridge might not work the way it’s supposed to – and nobody wants that to happen.
Be patient and give your cooler time to settle. 24 hours is plenty. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to plug it in and position it exactly where you want it.
Finally, it’s time to let the fun begin – it’s time to go shopping.
What to Buy
If you’re an established wine enthusiast, you already know what to do. It’s just a matter going out there and grabbing the most interesting wines you can find and adding them to your collection.
Your temptation may be to fill up your new wine fridge to capacity. After all, anything less would be wasted space, wouldn’t it?
The problem is that the more you get into buying, enjoying, and savoring quality wines, the more interesting wines you’ll discover. Even if you go for a larger model like the 155-Bottle VinoTemp, you’re eventually going to run out of room.
Ultimately this means your collection is forever expanding. As you expand your range, you will consistently make new discoveries.
There are always new wines to try – different rabbit holes to explore. It’s part of the whole wine lover’s experience and for many, it’s something to be cherished, fully-enjoyed and experienced at every opportunity.
Once the love of wine permeates your spirit, it becomes a lifelong passion that creates many magical moments.
As you begin to stock up, the first thing to consider is, what are the wines you like most?
It’s All About Me!
Wine purchasing is definitely a time to be a little selfish. Buy what you like!
It’s as simple as that.
We all have different palettes, and like different things. It’s always a gamble to try a new wine. That’s part of the fun, of course.
But the majority of the wine you buy when first stocking your wine cooler should be time-tested favorites.
These are the proven winners – the wines you enjoy the most. Buying multiple bottles means that you’ll always have a bottle or two ready to go at a moment’s notice.
You also need to designate plenty of space for new discoveries. These are seemingly endless, with new brands, vintages, and blends that often sound appealing.
It’s important to leave a rack or two of your wine fridge open because you never know when or where that next “must have” bottle is going to appear.
What Are The Best Wines For a Foodie?
If you’re buying wine for a foodie, make sure it’s a quality wine. Foodies pay attention to detail and they care about quality – a lot.
It’s also important to get a wine that pairs well with your foodie’s preferred dish. Ask questions and then show up prepared and you’ll wow a foodie every time.
If you’re serving wine (rather than giving a bottle as a gift) make sure it’s at just the right temperature. You want the wine experience to be as good as it gets and the temperature of the wine you’re serving is the key.
Nothing can spoil a special dinner like a wine that tastes like perfume, berries, or vinegar. And that’s what can happen when a wine is stored outside of it’s recommended temperature zone.
What Wine Is Best For Your Wine Cooler?
Start filling your wine cooler with your personal favorites – as well as the favorites of those with whom you share your living space.
Selected wines of your wife/husband/partner deserve prominent shelf space in your wine fridge. And if you entertain a lot, it’s also important to have some standard “house” wines on hand -preferably both red and white.
It’s also a good idea to have a few of those “special” bottles in the cooler – for special occasions and friends who appreciate the finer things in life.
Maybe you’ve already started collecting, but you’ve got bottles all over the house. Perhaps you already have a mishmash of wines gathered from various sources – and you just needed the proper appliance to house them all.
But don’t expect all those previously gathered wines to be as stellar as you thought they’d be when you acquired them. Improper storage can spoil the wine. If it was exposed to excessive light or heat – your wine could be toast.
But before you buy more the same, it’s important to taste the wine first. It could be fine – even spectacular. Or it could taste like battery acid. One never knows for sure.
You can’t always get a trip to wine country into the schedule, so in-store sampling is a great way to discover delicious new wines. As your interest in wine grows, you’ll be surprised how many people you run into who share the passion.
Over the years, I’ve met a couple of sample servers who really knew their stuff – much more than that job would require of them. That’s one of the beautiful things about collecting and enjoying wine – you meet some terrific people wherever you go.
Keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground. Listen to what the experts recommend. Ask your server at a quality trattoria or steak house what the most popular wine is these days. I
t’s also handy when you’re out and about visiting friends to try their preferred choices.
Other’s lives lead them down different paths and often, somewhere on that path, a glass of wine or two has been enjoyed. Listen in and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Every road you take and many of life’s experiences provide you with an opportunity to discover new wines for yourself. Not only that but this way you’ll be sure to have the wines your friends love most in your wine cooler. So it will be ready to be enjoyed on their next visit.
Everyone has different likes and dislikes. So having some variety in your wine cooler makes sense. But as a base product, you should always have a few bottles of your absolute favorite on hand.
What Are The Best Wines To Share?
The best wines to share of all are the wines that you’ve discovered and loved the most. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
I enjoy red wine most. But on a recent trip to wine country, my wife returned with a bottle of Chardonney that was out of this world. It’s since opened up a whole new world of possibility for me. And now I enjoy more white wines than I ever did before.
When you discover a wine that’s absolutely delightful, try to buy it by the case. You’ll usually save 10 to 15% – sometimes even more. It’s a proven wine – so you know that you’re safe to buy in volume.
But you also want to explore. Try different wines from various regions of the world.
Try more local wines too. Chances are, you’ll discover some fabulous tastes. Sample various grapes as well.
If you’re looking for wine for those home-cooked meals, whether as everyday servings or for those special dinner parties, you’ll want to try wines that have been proven to pair well but the foods you like to serve.
For example, sparkling wine or Chardonnay is good with fish, while a light red like Pinot Noir may be preferred with other seafood, like lobster.
A natural accompaniment to green vegetable dishes is a dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio.
And those big red meat dishes are typically best enjoyed with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you’re having pizza, find a great Zinfandel and everyone will be very happy!
Sparkling wine is a great way to begin a dinner party. Vegetable dishes pair well with whites like Sauvignon Blanc.
Rose is an excellent match for a curry dish.
Pinot Noir goes excellent with fresh grilled salmon or baked lasagna.
Fill That Cooler! Or Not…
Plan on filling your wine cooler with a variety of wines. That way, there’s always something new and interesting to explore.
Red wines should be served at a warmer temperature than white wines. So you don’t want to get the compartments of your dual zone wine cooler confused.
Wine should be served just right and that means not too warm and not too cold.
Always try to leave a rack or two of your wine cooler open for new discoveries.
Although the temptation is to fill up that space, you want to make sure that there’s always room for that special find, wherever you happen to make it.
What’s great about having your own professional wine storage is that you can pop the cork on any bottle – at any time.
Wine is meant to be enjoyed and opening a new bottle is an occasion in itself.
It brings people together when they can relax and actually have a conversation – instead of staring blindly into their electronic leashes.