Does Your Home Need a Wine Fridge?
Not just for oenophiles, these handy appliances protect the flavors and aromas of wine far longer than your kitchen refrigerator will.
Maybe you splash out on wine occasionally—or frequently—buying a case or two whenever you find something unique or well priced. Suddenly, you have quite a wine collection on your hands, enough to weather the months to come. The best way to safeguard your precious stockpile? Buy a wine refrigerator or cooler.
But wait, aren't wine fridges intended for hardcore aficionados fluent in the language of vineyards and varietals? Nope. They're made to protect your wine's flavors and aromas, and enhance the flavors over time—unlike, say, a dark cabinet that leaves it vulnerable to the blights of bad storage, like direct light, fluctuating temperatures, and humidity. Or your kitchen refrigerator, typically set at 38 degrees Fahrenheit, which is colder than wine refrigerators.
Wine Fridges Versus Wine Coolers
Wine refrigerators are usually larger than wine coolers and use compression cooling technology, which is better for larger collections and warmer rooms. Some coolers use thermoelectric cooling technology instead, which is quieter. Both come in freestanding or built-in models, with single zones (if you're only into red or white) or dual zones, that allow you to store whites and reds separately at their ideal temperature. They're available in a wide price range, from the budget-friendly Ivation Compressor Wine Cooler ($189.99, amazon.com) that holds 12 bottles to the compact NewAir Wine Refrigerator that stores 29 bottles ($740.99, newair.com). And there's a world of options in between—and beyond.
Fridges with Benefits
Consider the LG Signature Wine Cellar Refrigerator, a 15 cubic foot, Smart Wi-Fi appliance that can open with the wave of a foot or the sound of your voice, with a 65-bottle capacity ($6,298.99 at lg.com). It has not two, but three temperature zones, providing the best conditions for red, white, and sparkling wine. And while the price tag is serious, anyone who entertains or savors wine might enjoy owning it. "It's not specifically for wine people who consider themselves connoisseurs—it's for people who have a growing interest in wine, who are expanding their repertoire and their palate more, trying different varieties and vintages," explains the LG Signature Team.
In addition to its multi-temperature control, it also addresses other factors that can affect wine's longevity. Its optimal humidity control locks the air inside the bottle so it can age (note: high humidity can cause mold on a bottle's packaging) while vibration control (plus beechwood shelves) minimize vibration, which can disturb the sediment and reduce aromatics. And the UV-resistant black-mirror-coated glass door blocks out light exposure. It's said to be similar to the qualities of a traditional wine cave. If you store wine on the kitchen counter, the LG experts say, it's the complete opposite: The time you can keep it is short. Of course, if you're going to drink it this weekend that's not a problem.