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21. Wine Fridge or Wine Cabinet?

What is the difference between a wine cabinet and a wine fridge… and how do I select one?

You’ve invested considerable time and money in your wine collection, so finding a suitable storage solution to protect your wine for years to come is essential.

With so many wine storage options on the market – from climate-controlled cellars to wine fridges and cabinets – determining the best solution for your collection and lifestyle can feel overwhelming. Below we’ll step you through the main considerations and questions people have when investing in a wine fridge.

1. Wine Fridge vs Wine Cabinet vs Wine Cooler – is there a difference? 

The terms “wine fridge”, “wine cabinet” and “wine cooler” are used interchangeably and essentially refer to the same thing. The main point is that they should protect your wine, and are not to be confused with a standard kitchen refrigerator, which will not protect your wine in the same way that a specialised wine fridge will. Whilst a standard kitchen fridge maintains a consistent temperature, the temperature is too cold and doesn’t provide the other environmental conditions necessary to protect wine over time.

2. What is the purpose of a wine fridge?

The ultimate goal of any serious wine collector is to enjoy their wine at its peak. This is achieved by allowing wine to mature gracefully by cellaring it for the recommended period which varies depending on variety, vintage, and producer. There are five specific environmental conditions required to meet optimal cellaring conditions, which include:

  1. Consistent temperature (12-14°C)
  2. Protection from UV light
  3. Minimal vibration
  4. Hygrometry (humidity) of 70-80%
  5. Ventilation and air flow

You can read about these conditions in more detail here.

3. What is the best wine fridge for me?

Some of the things to consider when determining the best wine fridge for you are:

Where in the home do you plan to locate the wine fridge?

If you are building a new kitchen and want to incorporate a wine fridge into the design, the size of the wine fridge will need to be determined early on so you can allow appropriate space. If seeking a streamlined look, wine fridges in the EuroCave Integrated range are designed to integrate seamlessly behind custom cabinetry or glass integrated doors. These wine fridges are specifically designed for this purpose, with front ventilation and other features. They can also make a fabulous feature in a bar or entertaining area.

Wine fridges can also be a wonderful feature in other parts home and used to showcase your collection.  With elegant lighting, quality finishes and presentation shelves, these can transform the look and feel of a space. Or if you are looking for a wine fridge solely to protect your wine collection in a garage or spare room, then there are options for that also.

How much wine do you need to store?

Is your wine collection made up of just a few cases of wine or do you have an extensive collection built up over the years?  This will determine the size of wine fridge you require as well as the type of shelving most suitable for you.  Some wine fridges offer the ability to customise shelving so you can select roller mounted shelving for easy access to bottles, fixed shelves to maximise capacity for bulk storage, or presentation shelves to showcase those special bottles.

Is a Single, Multi or Dual Temperature wine fridge best?

There really is a wine fridge for all occasions and lifestyles. It is important to be really clear about the purpose for which you want a wine fridge, so that you can determine which one is most suitable for you.

For example, some wine fridges offer dual or multi-zones within a single unit, designed to keep wines at the optimal drinking temperature, but are not for long-term wine storage.  Here is a quick breakdown of functionality for each model:

  • Single-temperature wine fridge – This type of wine fridge is perfect for cellaring wine long-term. All wines need to be cellared at 12-140C, regardless of the temperature you would enjoy drinking them at.
  • Dual-temperature wine fridge – This wine fridge is most suitable for restaurants with a high turnover of red and white wines that require different serving temperatures.
  • Multi-temperature wine fridge – This is the perfect wine fridge for the entertainers, as it allows all your wine varietals to be kept ready to serve at their ideal drinking temperatures within the one ‘zone’. For example, Champagnes are kept at the bottom of the cabinet at 6°C, then aromatic whites higher up at 8°C, Chardonnay at 10°C, Pinots at 14°C, then finally full-bodied reds at 16-18°C at the top of the cabinet. This type of cabinet is the perfect addition to a kitchen, bar or entertaining area, as you always have wine ready to serve at the correct temperature.

Some wine fridges also have an added preservation feature, and can keep open bottles fresh for up to 10 days. This could be a useful feature in a household where each person drinks a different type of wine, or if you want to enjoy a bottle of wine over a few nights.

4. What are the other things you should consider when selecting a fridge?

For the sake of your collection, always invest in quality. The cost is too great if you don’t – some wines are irreplaceable.

The first step is identifying a brand of wine fridge that you are confident will store your wine safely. Quality encompasses a number of different elements, but if you purchase a wine fridge from a company with the following qualities you won’t go wrong:

  • Established – The wine fridge market is constantly changing, with new brands entering the market all the time. Look for a company that has stood the test of time and invests in research and development to maintain their place in the market today. Established companies such as EuroCave (established in 1976) offer high quality wine fridges with patented technology, their focus solely on wine storage and service, not other household appliances.
  • Quality components – Look for a wine fridge that uses quality components, such as a steel frame that can support the weight of many bottles, double-glazed glass doors with UV protection, high-quality insulating material and door seals that will preserve and enhance the quality of your wine over time. Avoid cheaper wine fridges that may use plastic components.
  • Luxurious features – Look for a wine fridge that offers luxurious, sophisticated finishing touches such as full cabinet lighting, full glass doors and shelving options that will showcase your wine in the home.
  • Functional design – Form and function is the ultimate combination when it comes to selecting any products. A high quality wine fridge will not only look good, but ensure you can easily access your bottles (even the ones tucked right at the back), maximise storage capacity and run quietly so you can accommodate it in any living space. Look for a wine fridge with a favourable energy rating to keep running cost to a minimum and be kind to the environment.

Remember, investing more upfront for a superior quality wine fridge means that you will not only have a wine fridge that better protects your wine, but one that will last for decades making it a clever choice all round.

Whether you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or anywhere else in Australia, our specialists can assist you in finding the perfect wine fridge to suit your wine collection and lifestyle, so drop us an email or give us a call to learn more.

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