How Do I Pick A Wine Fridge?

So you’re in the market for a wine cooler and you’ve started looking around. Maybe you’ve just started looking. Or, perhaps you’ve been at it for a while. Now let me ask you a question. Are you confused yet? I’ve been there and done that and I’ve got the battle scars to prove it. And let me tell you, if you’re not confused yet, get ready because if you shop around online, or go from this store to the next – confusion is inevitable.
It’s part of the process, because the more you learn about wine coolers, the broader the field becomes. You see, the more you investigate, the more choices you see available. And that can get pretty confusing in a heartbeat. But the real problem is that when you’re confused, you cannot move forward.

So let’s try to simplify things and help you in your quest to find the best possible wine fridge for you.

close up of the vinotemp 155 bottle coolerWine coolers are tremendously useful appliances for the right kind of people. I say that because if you only drink wine at the Holidays, you probably don’t need a wine cooler of your own. But if you’re into wine the way we are, you’ll love having a bottle of your favorite ready to be served at a moment’s notice. It won’t just be another bottle of wine, though. It will be one that has been cared for, properly stored and served at the perfect temperature, relative to its type.
If you’ve enjoyed a glass of wine from a fine dining establishment, yet haven’t been able to duplicate that experience at home, your lack of a wine cooler may be the underlying reason. You could have the exact same brand from the same vintage and yet, get a completely different taste. It could be that your home wine wasn’t stored properly, or that wasn’t served at the correct temperature.
Wine is finicky and somewhat mysterious. For maximum enjoyment, we need to provide the best possible conditions. And a quality wine cooler can go a long way to providing an optimal environment and increase your odds of a delightful experience with every new cork popped.
But before you settle on any one type of wine cooler, you’ll find it helpful to narrow your search. There are plenty of brands and models out there, so the more you can refine your search, the closer you are to pinpointing the perfect wine refrigerator for you.

The best way to do that is by carefully considering some basic questions such as the following:

Would a countertop, freestanding unit, or built-in wine cooler best meet your needs now and in the future? Think beyond this month and consider coolers that will meet your needs for the next couple of years as your wine collection grows.
Do you want a single temperature fridge, or would a dual zone dual temperature wine cooler be better? If you only drink red wine in your home, you may not need a dual zone cooler. EdgeStarCWF40DZ Wine FridgeThen again, it’s important to consider other people’s preferences – especially your spouse, or partner. If you frequently entertain, you know that personal tastes and preferences vary widely – so you’ll want to be prepared.
Do you have a specific location in mind for your ideal wine cooler? Be sure to measure the available space – width, depth, and height. Actually, check it twice – just to be sure. You need to know what space you have available and whether that space is open or closed in on either side. You also need to allow enough clearance to slide your wine fridge in or out at any time.

Do you need to be an expert on wine in order to get the most out of a wine fridge?

In a word – no. That’s the beauty of wine coolers. Right out of the box, they’re ready to go. And the temperature ranges provided, ensure that you’re well within accepted levels for safe storage and an optimal taste experience. Essentially, these things are idiot-proof – perfect for an inept homeowner like me!
Find a suitable place, plug them in and let the cooler reach its optimal temperature. You have some control over this, so you can fine tune it until your heart’s content. But it’s pretty much impossible to screw things up and ruin your wine. Don’t neglect it, though. Many wine coolers need to be switched back on after a power outage.

And it’s a good idea to monitor the temperature regularly and assess how each bottle turns out as you enjoy it. That’s part of the fun of collecting wine. The mystery is that you’re never quite sure how that wine is going to turn out.
Wine coolers are available in many different sizes. You can find tiny, bar top units to cool a couple of bottles at a time. You can also get a massive stand-up wine fridge, like those found in restaurants and bars. And of course – there’s everything in between.
It all starts with you. Specifically, what do you need now and what would you want, ideally? How much space do you have available for your wine cooler? There’s also the question of budget.
With unlimited funds, I would choose a custom-made wine cellar. It offers the largest capacity, with plenty of room to grow. When wine collecting becomes a passion, having your own cellar is the pinnacle.
Most of us live in the real world where we don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to dump into a wine cellar. You don’t have to spend that much. But it’s going to be several thousand dollars minimum, to build even a relatively small cellar.

At the opposite end of the scale is the most basic wine cooler you could get.

The countertop unit is best for somebody that just wants to chill a couple of bottles of wine. It’s not the best for someone that’s really enthusiastic about the whole wine experience and can see themselves building a collection of fine wines over the years. If that’s the case, you’ll want either a wine cellar or a freestanding cooler that’s large enough to meet your needs.

cool wine rackHowever, a small countertop unit can prove helpful at times, like when your regular wine fridge is stacked with whites, but your visiting friend prefers red – or vice versa. So don’t write off those compact and inexpensive coolers just yet, even though you’re primarily searching for something more substantial.

When it comes to wine fridges and cellars, the sky’s the limit. You can go relatively small and compact with an under the counter unit, or you can go huge and elaborate. It really depends on your specific needs, desires, and budget.
Wine fridges represent the best option for the great majority of wine drinkers. That’s because you can get a wine fridge in virtually any size – to meet any requirement. You can find wine fridges that are inexpensive gift items, or as expensive pieces of furniture that are built into an existing area of your home.

What you want primarily is a wine cooler that’s going to fit your available space and properly house your collection of wines. If it’s a small collection of say, 24 to 60 bottles, you may find a freestanding unit is the best for you. Or, you may want a wine cooler that’s built-in to your kitchen or bar area.
It really boils down to this – what wine fridge option is the best one for you? Only you can answer this question. But once you know where you’re going to put it, how big of a unit you need, and what your available budget is, you have a foundation. And that’s the place to begin your search.
Have an area of your home in mind and an approximation on the number of bottles you would like to be able to accommodate. If you’d prefer a wine cooler that’s built-in to your cabinets, you need to look for something that is vented on the front. This enables the machine to cool down efficiently, without overheating.

Most freestanding units require space on all sides and especially the back because that’s how the motor is vented. You can’t use these as built-ins without the proper allowance for air circulation.

If you’re looking for a relatively small wine cooler you may want to consider a thermoelectric cooling system. These models don’t use the traditional compressor or refrigerant that is standard fridge uses. Instead, these wine coolers function by using a cooling mode that consists of a ceramic tile that has electric current pass through it.

As its current travels through, the outside of the tile heats up and the other side facing the cooler cools down. There’s also a small fan inside to circulate and evenly distribute the air to help maintain a constant range in temperatures.
These thermoelectric wine coolers tend to run quieter than the traditional compressor type and for some people – that’s their top priority. Keep in mind, however, there’s no such thing as a silent wine fridge. Just as there is no such thing as a silent kitchen refrigerator.

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