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By Tania MacPhee, July 23rd, 2015

How to Choose The Best Wine Cabinet (Fridge)

EuroCave Compact Wine Cabinet EuroCave Pure Wine Cabinet EuroCave Revelation

Buying a wine fridge is a relatively large investment, and you need to get it right the first time. We have seen too many people buy poorly, ultimately becoming disappointed and frustrated with their cabinet, something that can easily be avoided by asking the right questions.

To select the wine fridge that best suits your needs, consider the following 4 key factors:

1. Capacity – from 12 bottles to over 600

Determine how many bottles you need to store now and consider how your wine collection may grow in the future. In our experience, many wine collectors buy more wine once they find a wine storage solution so buy a larger cabinet than you think you initially need.

If your budget is limited, invest in a larger size wine cabinet before opting a range with all of the bells and whistles.

2. Location – within the home/office or in the garage

If you intend to put your wine fridge in the dining room, living area, or on display, consider customising with a glass door or display shelves. Another option is to build the wine cabinet into kitchen cabinetry or a furniture piece.  In this case, ensure that the cabinet is front ventilated or that there is some room left for air circulation or the wine cabinet will not perform properly. Another factor you need to consider if the cabinet is in the home is the amount of noise it will make.

If the wine cabinet is going in the garage, my guess is that aesthetics may not be as important so you can save money by opting for a solid door or an entry level range. If you have a lot of wine that you want to store longer term, storage shelves allow higher capacity and further savings.

3. Temperature zones – one, two, three and multi temperature

Determine how much of your wine needs to be stored longer term versus how much wine you need ‘at call’ for short term drinking. ALL wine varietals (whites, reds, Champagne) should be stored at 14 degrees Celsius with a temperature variation of no more than one degree, whilst drinking temperature varies between 6 degrees Celsius (eg. for Champagne) and 18 degrees Celsius (eg. for big reds), depending on the wine variety.

Single temperature wine cabinets are best suited to storing wine longer term, whilst 2, 3 and multi temperature units are ideal for restaurants or those who entertain quite regularly and therefore generally require a large amount of wine ‘at call’ at ideal drinking temperature.

4. Shelving – roller mounted, soft close, storage, larger bottle size such as Magnum or Champagne …

When it comes to the day to day use and functionality of your wine cabinet (and, believe me, the amount of enjoyment versus frustration you will experience), an important factor is the type of shelving.

Firstly, unless the shelves are roller mounted, you will probably struggle to open a fully stacked shelf.

Secondly, ensure different bottle shapes such as the taller Riesling bottle, higher shouldered Shiraz, and thicker Pinot Noir etc. will sit on each shelf properly without falling or scratching your labels.

Thirdly, the style of shelving (i.e. either sliding or storage) needed is based on how much of the same wine you buy, as well as how long your wine needs to be aged. If you typically buy wine in dozens or half dozens and want to store them longer term, you may consider storage shelves that allow greater capacity in your wine cabinet, as bottles are stacked on top of each other. Sliding shelves are ideal for wines you want to drink shorter term or for varied collections as they allow easy access to each bottle.

Last but by no means least, consider buying shelves that are specifically made for different wine varieties such as Champagne and Magnums.

Taking all of this into consideration, please view our list of ‘Essential Questions’ you should ask the organisation you are buying your wine cabinet from:

Essential questions to ask when researching a wine fridge;

  1. In which country was the wine fridge manufactured and how long has the manufacturer been making wine cabinets?
  2. How does the wine cabinet’s shelving cater for different bottle shapes and sizes (eg. Champagne, Pinot Noir)?
  3. Can I see shelves with different shapes and sizes, stacked with wine so I can understand capacity and how the wine cabinet handles these bottles?
  4. Am I able to customise the perfect wine cabinet for my wine collection?
  5. Can I choose whatever shelving configuration I want, as well as which door I want, and which side the hinge is on?
  6. Can I slide a shelf that is fully stacked so I can see how easy it is to use?
  7. Can I hear the wine fridge turned on so I can determine how much noise it makes?
  8. How does the light in the wine cabinet impact the wine? Is it a ‘cold’ light, or does it heat up?
  9. Is humidity displayed and monitored and how does it ensure that corks won’t dry out?
  10. Is there more than a one degree variance once the temperature is set at the recommended 14 degrees?
  11. Is your organisation responsible for after sales service or will you pass me on to the manufacturer?
  12. How precisely does the unit deliver and monitor uniform temperature throughout the unit?
  13. How does the wine cabinet address vibration (which is a major enemy of wine long term)?
  14. Are the walls stipled aluminium or just plastic?
  15. Does the organisation understand storing and ageing wine? Can they add some value by helping me to establish a really interesting wine cellar?

For more information on the right wine cabinet to suit your needs and a no obligation quote, please contact EuroCave Australia on 1800 733 621 or info@eurocave.com.au.

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