Back in the old days, if you had a wine that was worth preserving, it was kept in the wine cellar. Needless to say, things are different today. Not everyone has a wine cellar in the basement of their home. But it doesn’t mean that you need one either.
Let’s face it – unless you have the luxury of converting an entire room in your house into a wine cellar and filling it up with all your favorite bottles of vino, you don’t need one. A more economical option would be to get a wine refrigerator. A much cheaper and smaller option that gives you the same results.
If you’re wondering why you need a whole other fridge from the regular one in your kitchen to store your Pinot Noir, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together 10 compelling reasons why you need a wine fridge to keep your wines cool.
How’s a Wine Fridge Different From a Conventional Refrigerator
Before we dig into why you need a wine fridge vs a regular one, let’s quickly go over the difference between the two. Your regular fridge does a pretty decent job of keeping your perishables fresh. So why can't it do the same for your wine? And, what’s the difference between that and a beverage cooler anyway?
Wine coolers have temperature ranges that are a lot higher than those of conventional refrigerators and beverage coolers. Average wine coolers don’t cool to temperatures below 46°F. So, they’re “cool” but not “cold”… get it?
Beverage coolers and refrigerators, on the other hand, are pretty similar except for the fact that the latter usually has adjustable shelves and door storage. Not to mention that beverage coolers are also meant to look good. They usually have a glass door to display the contents inside.
That is not to say that wine fridges aren’t also designed for aesthetics. They have insulated glass doors to display the owner’s impressive wine collection.
Does Wine Need to be Refrigerated?
Yes, but not just in any refrigerator. Let’s explore the top reasons why you might need to consider getting a wine refrigerator vs. just keeping it in your regular refrigerator.
1. Your Home Gets Pretty Darn Warm
Nothing cools you down on a hot summer night, quite like a warm glass of rosé… That doesn’t even sound right. Wine is meant to be chilled. Not all the way cold but certainly not warm!
If you live in an apartment or a house that gets swelteringly hot during the day and freezing at night, wine doesn’t store well in temperature volatile places. It’s not good for the flavor, and it doesn’t do much to extend its shelf life either.
Wine cellars are perfect for this because of where they used to be located in traditional country homes. They were in the basement where it was dark and cool since temperatures would stay the same there all-year-round.
It only makes sense then, that you store your wines in a wine refrigerator to keep them cool and at a constant and optimal temperature for the flavors to remain intact. They are designed to mirror cellar-like conditions.
2. You Want to Start a Wine Collection
You pride yourself on being a bit of a wine connoisseur of sorts. You want to step things up a notch by becoming a wine collector. That's great and all, but once again, unless you have a cellar in the basement of your home, that’s nothing more than a pipe dream… Or is it…?
Once you hit the 50-bottle mark of expensive and rare wines in your possession, consider yourself a wine collector. At that point, you'll need a place to store them.
Collecting wines can be an expensive affair. And, to get their true essence once you pop those babies open, you’ll need to store them well. Otherwise, you're just flushing valuable dollars down the drain.
Can you imagine opening a bottle of 2000 Château Léoville Poyferré that you had been saving for a special occasion, only to find that it tastes sour? That’s enough to bring tears to anyone’s eyes, especially if it’s because you didn’t store it the right way.
Also, let's not forget the fact that if you're starting a wine collection, you're going to need space – and lots of it. Your regular refrigerator just won't do. Get a wine fridge for them.
3. Wine Coolers Are Cheaper Than Wine Cellars
Let’s crunch some numbers, shall we? If you’re serious about your wine, then living in a home with a wine cellar is like a dream come true.
Let's say you do have space for it. Constructing a fully-functional wine cellar will set you back $15,000 - $62,000 on average. This doesn’t include the price of maintenance. It will need a cooling system that runs nonstop, and a humidifier to maintain the optimum humidity levels in the cellar.
Did we mention that they all have to run continuously? That will certainly drive up energy costs. The average monthly cost of running a wine cellar is somewhere in the ballpark of $1,500 - $2,000 a month! That's a whole lot for something that's just supposed to preserve your wines.
A wine fridge does the same thing but in a more energy-efficient way for a fraction of the price. It has zero maintenance costs, is budget-friendly, and fits perfectly in your home while providing the temperature-controlled environment required for your wines. It’s a win-win any way you look at it.
4. You Always Have Ready to Drink Wine
Let’s be honest, after a long day at work or a hectic day with the kids, there’s nothing worse than not having a ready bottle of wine that’s been chilled to just the right temperature to enjoy. Having to wait for that Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon to chill before you can pour yourself a glass is nothing short of torture.
A wine fridge eliminates this problem. It means that you’ll always have wine ready on deck to enjoy or serve your guests when you need it. It keeps it at the ideal serving temperature for any day or occasion.
Most of them come with sophisticated temperature control technology that allows you to rapidly cool the wines to the level you need them to be. Dual wine coolers have two independent temperature zones. You can store the bottles you intend to preserve in one zone, and those that you need ready to serve, in the other.
5. You Want to Get the Most out of Your Wine Experience
They don’t call it “wining and dining” for nothing. For most people, enjoying truly exquisite wine, particularly when paired with certain meals, means having to go to a restaurant to do it. There’s something about it that makes the whole experience different from having a similar type of wine at home – even if it’s the same brand.
For a wine enthusiast looking to replicate the same experience in the comfort of their home, investing in a wine cooler makes all the difference. It creates the most optimal conditions for your wines to ensure that they always taste their best.
6. You Have Vintage Wines to Store
While you can keep store-bought wine at room temperature, especially if you plan to drink it within a couple of days, vintage wines need more care and attention to preserve them and accentuate their character.
So, they need optimal storage conditions to protect and preserve them. The temperatures need to be kept consistent, in addition to being stored in a dark place, where they can remain undisturbed with minimal exposure to vibrations, or any kind of movement. Cellars used to be perfect for this.
Wine coolers replicate these conditions to a tee. They maintain consistent temperatures that range between 49°F and 60°F. This is the optimum temperature range required for cellaring wines.
They also have a heavily insulated UV protecting glass that keeps them from getting light damage. The humidity control feature of these types of fridges is especially important since it stops the cork from drying and shriveling up. If it did, it would expose the wine to oxygen. This is very detrimental to the sensitive aging process.
7. Wine Fridges Have Special Compressors
For a wine to age the right way, you need to leave it untouched for as long as you can. Movement introduces energy into the bottle, which, in turn, interferes with the delicate aging process.
Wine coolers have special compressors that are designed to provide a 100% vibration-free environment for storing your wines. This is partly the reason why keeping them in a conventional refrigerator doesn’t do them any good. It all has to do with kinetic energy.
Movement causes the liquid and sediment particles in the bottle to vibrate, which, in turn, releases heat energy. While you may not notice the bottles getting physically hot, at a molecular level, this energy prematurely ages the wine. And, you know what that means – it spoils faster.
Keep in mind that when you are ready to drink the wine, removing the bottle from wine storage and standing it right side up disturbs the particles. This may, in turn, affect the flavor.
In such instances, it’s always better to leave it to stand for a day or two before drinking it. Alternatively, if you don’t want to wait that long, using wine filters like The Wave® or The Wand™ removes these particles, in addition to other compounds like sulfites and histamine. The latter is notorious for causing headaches, stuffy nose, flushing, digestive upset, and several other symptoms that are common in people who experience wine allergies.
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8. You Get to Store Your Bottles Horizontally
It is not a coincidence that wine bottles in cellars are always stored on their sides. It has everything to do with the cork.
Keeping the bottle horizontal ensures that the cork always remains moist. If it is allowed to dry out, it shrivels up and starts to let air into the bottle. This accelerates the aging process once the wine begins to oxidize.
Wine fridges allow you to store bottles on their sides, with the labels always facing up. That way, the cork not only remains moist all the time, but it also allows you to see the label on the wine bottle without having to disturb it. It’s like killing two preservation birds with one stone.
9. You’ll Have a Dedicated Environment for Storing Your Wine
Imagine accidentally knocking over your case of prized Rioja Tempranillo in your garage while trying to find the toolbox. Or, your kids disturbing a bottle of 2010 Château Margaux every time they reach for the milk carton or juice box at the back of the fridge. It’s nothing short of a nightmare.
A wine fridge provides an environment that’s dedicated solely to storing and preserving your prized possessions. That way, they don’t have to compete for space with anything else in your home.
It keeps the bottles at the right temperatures, in perfect stillness, and low light conditions. So, you can use it to age and store your wines, whether you plan to enjoy them one year from now or one day from now.
10. Wine Is Best Enjoyed When It’s Cool
Finally, aging and preservation aside, let’s talk about flavor and aroma. Wine needs to be served at its correct temperature since this has a direct bearing on its taste and smell.
It’s a common misconception that it needs to be served at “room temperature.” But what exactly constitutes room temperature? This varies from one climate to the next, one season to the next, one house to the next, and even one room to the next.
The rule of thumb is, the lighter the wine, the cooler it needs to be. The ideal temperature range is between 49°F to 60°F for white wines to dark reds, respectively. That’s how you get to experience the optimum flavor and aroma with every sip you take.
The Next Best Thing to a Wine Cellar
Having a wine fridge is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. So, whether you're looking for a convenient and cost-effective way to store your favorite bottles of vino or a place to age your vintage collection gracefully, a wine fridge is the way to do it.
Besides, it is the next best option if you don’t have a wine cellar in your home. Let’s face facts, to maximize the enjoyment of drinking your favorite wines, keeping them in a conventional refrigerator is certainly out of the question.