Wine has a funny way of making you second guess yourself. Did you buy the right kind of wine? Are you drinking it with the right food? Has it been properly chilled, aerated and poured?
Even if you don’t feel totally confident about your wine knowledge, you can still enjoy a nice glass at home. One way ensure your wine always tastes its best? A wine fridge.
“Wine are fragile little babies and need to be kept at not only a cooler temp, typically under 70 degrees, but a consistent temperature at all times. Wine fridges are the best way to achieve this if you don’t have access to some type of wine cellar,” Samantha Capaldi, sommelier and wine club host, told the New York Post.
A wine fridge lets you keep a small stockpile of bottles so you always have some wine ready to go for a casual dinner, entertaining a few friends or having a party. So if you drink enough wine to be wondering whether a wine fridge cooler is worth the investment, it probably is.
Wine fridges can range widely in size, price and complexity. Below, you’ll find the best type that meets your needs. For advice on how to look for and use a wine fridge, check out our expert FAQ with Capaldi and another professional sommelier, B. Pierre Asti.
While you’re at it, pick up a few gifts for the wine lovers in your life and consider buying a bar cart to show off your wine glasses.
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Best Overall Wine Fridge
Wine Enthusiast 32-Bottle Dual Zone MAX Compressor Wine Cooler
The experts at Wine Enthusiast have been building super high-end wine storage tools for 40 years, and they’re your best chance at getting a restaurant-quality wine fridge for your home. All of their products also come with a warranty that covers parts and labor for one year, so you won’t be left alone if you run into any issues.
This wine cooler offers a stellar mix of space — with racks for 32 bottles — and functionality — with a dual-zone design for keeping different wine varieties at their optimal storage temperature. Its compressor is also built to last longer than those in average wine fridges, and at $500 the price is more than fair for this level of quality.
Best Small Wine Fridge
Wine Enthusiast 6-Bottle Countertop Wine Cooler
Enjoy Wine Enthusiast’s unmatched reputation in a conveniently compact size. This six-bottle wine fridge can fit on your countertop or live tucked away in your kitchen, and its touchscreen interface lets you set the right temperature then forget about it — because you know the fridge will always maintain a consistent level of chill.
If you only keep a few bottles of wine on hand at any given time, this is a smart option. It also won’t add much to your energy bill because of how efficiently its cooling system works. Great for small kitchens and office spaces.
Best Budget-Friendly Wine Fridge
Wine Enthusiast 20-Bottle Evolution Series Wine Cooler
Coming in at just under $200 on Amazon, this Wine Enthusiast fridge is a buy-now-thank-yourself-later kind of purchase. It’s made by one of the most trusted brands in wine cooling systems, holds a decent number of bottles and takes up as much room as a small dresser or side table. Definitely a win for anyone trying to conserve space.
This wine fridge features Wine Enthusiast’s top-of-the-line compressor technology to consistently keep your beverages at the right temperature. You can easily adjust the temperature through a few simple buttons at the top, and with a storage basket on the bottom, you’ll always have room for a few extra bottles.
Best Large-Capacity Wine Fridge
Artevino III 200-Bottle Wine Cellar
This Artevino model is actually made by Wine Enthusiast, so you know you’re getting one of the best machines for your money. Capable of holding up to 200 bottles, this wine fridge is a smart choice if you do a lot of hosting or want to store wines with the purpose of aging them.
The beautiful wooden shelves slide out to give you easy access to your collection, and several of them are tall enough to hold larger bottles such as magnums or rounded champagne bottles. Plus, a display shelf on the top lets you store half a dozen bottles vertically. If you buy multiples of any wines, this is a helpful way to remember which varieties you have on hand.
Best Dual Zone Wine Fridge
NewAir 28-Bottle Dual Zone Wine Fridge
Capaldi also recommended NewAir as a reliable brand, and their small-space-friendly model has everything you want in a dual zone option. From removable shelves that let you adjust how you store your wine, to an easy-to-read temperature display and soft LED lights that illuminate bottles without damaging their contents, this fridge packs a lot of features into $400.
This wine fridge has earned plenty of 5-star ratings on Amazon for its functionality and value. One reviewer also noted that it has two rolling wheels in the back that come in handy when you have to move it around your home. Two adjustable legs in the front help keep it level, too.
Best Custom Wine Fridge
Frigidaire 45-Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler
One of the wine experts The Post spoke to recommended Frigidaire as a reputable brand, and with solid ratings from shoppers and a sub-$500 price tag, this dual zone fridge is an excellent find. Use the simple control buttons in the middle of the machine to set different temperatures for the top and bottom zones, then rest easy knowing your Frigidaire will keep those temps steady.
With a 45-bottle capacity, this fridge will easily suit most home’s needs. The two bottom rows are slightly roomier for holding larger-sized bottles such as champagne. As a bonus, you can install the door on either the left or right side to customize it to your space.
Best Wine Fridge for Different Size Bottles
Ivation 28-Bottle Wine Cooler
There’s no point in buying a wine fridge if it can’t hold all your favorite beverages. So if you often buy wine that isn’t in the typical Bordeaux style bottle — 750 milliliters with straight sides and a tapered neck — then you’ll benefit from having this surprisingly spacious wine cooler.
You can rearrange the wooden shelves to make room for magnums and rounded champagne, and the bottom area has an extra-large storage spot for more atypical bottles. The door is also made with UV-resistant double-paned glass, which protects your wine from being damaged by lighting in your home. Just the kind of nice touch that sets this fridge apart from the competition.
Best Energy-Efficient Wine Fridge
Yeego 33-Bottle Wine Cooler
Want a wine fridge that won’t increase your electricity bill too much? Look for machines that are ENERGY STAR certified, such as this slim and versatile model. All ENERGY STAR appliances meet strict energy efficiency standards that are designed to contribute less to your energy use and help you save money.
Although this fridge has a slightly narrow shape, it can hold both regular and differently-sized wine bottles. You also have the option to use it as a freestanding fridge or install it into your kitchen counter and have it sit flush with your cabinets. Its built-in lock is a nice security bonus, too.
FAQ on wine fridges
Sommeliers B. Pierre Asti and Samantha Capaldi share their expert advice on buying and using a wine fridge. Asti has been running his own wine consulting business since 2010, and Capaldi works with clients one-on-one to help them explore their wine tastes.
Why should someone buy a wine fridge instead of storing wine in their kitchen fridge?
The short answer: your fridge is too cold. “Your refrigerator has one temperature. Most of us keep it within 1 or 2 degrees of 43 degrees. That’s too cold for most wines,” said Asti.
The other reason is that the temperature fluctuation in your kitchen fridge isn’t good for wine. You probably open and close your fridge dozens of times a day, and that causes the temperature inside the fridge to go slightly up and down. Your wine is better off in a more stable environment.
What are the most important considerations when looking for a wine fridge?
“The number of bottles you plan to store and the mix of wines will determine what type unit you should consider,” said Asti.
“There are single temperature wine refrigerators and there are dual temperature refrigerators,” said Asti. Dual temperature units have two separate chilling areas, and single temperature units have one area. “With a dual temperature chiller, you can keep your red wines at the most appropriate temperature for them and the white, rosé and sparkling wines at the temperature best suited for them.”
You can safely store all your wines in a single unit refrigerator without damaging them. However, different wines have different ideal drinking temperatures — 50 to 55 degrees for white, sparkling and rosé, and 60 to 68 degrees for red. So a dual unit refrigerator lets you store different wines closer to the temperatures at which you want to serve them, letting you enjoy them at their absolute best more quickly.
As for extras such as smartphone apps for monitoring and controlling your wine fridge remotely, Asti recommended avoiding them. “If you’re concerned about monitoring and controlling the temperature or humidity of your refrigeration unit via your smartphone, then you’ve got the wrong refrigeration unit,” he said. “With an average or above average refrigeration unit, there should be no deviation in either temperature or humidity.”
Which kinds of wines should be kept in a wine fridge?
“All wines can benefit from being stored in a wine fridge,” said Capaldi. “If you had to pick and choose based on how much room you had, I would put in older vintages and more fragile wines before recent wines.”
Unless you plan on letting your wine age for many years, both Asti and Capaldi also recommended drinking it within a year of purchase.
“There’s a difference between keeping an ample amount of wine on hand for weekly or monthly entertainment, and storing or laying down your wine,” said Asti. “If you’re planning to lay your wine down for more than a year, then your refrigeration unit should be in a location that is dark, vibration-free, humidity- and temperature- regulated, and away from the living and kitchen areas.”
What temperature should a wine fridge be kept at?
“If you have a single temperature unit and you’re storing virtually all of your wine there, you want to keep the temperature between 55 and 59 degrees,” said Asti.
“Then, when you’re ready to drink your wine, you put your white, rosé and sparkling wine in your regular refrigerator and chill it to about 45 degrees. Then, take it out of the refrigerator, open the bottle and allow the wine to reach a temperature of about 50 to 55 degrees before you drink it,” he said.
For red wines, Asti recommended taking them out of your wine fridge and letting them warm up to 60 to 68 degrees.
What humidity level should a wine fridge be kept at?
“Generally speaking, the smaller specialty units don’t give you the capability of adjusting the humidity level,” Asti said. “For those more sophisticated wine refrigerators and wine cellars, you want your humidity level to be between 55 and 75 percent relative humidity.”
If you have a more elaborate wine storage setup, Asti noted that it’s fine if the humidity level fluctuates by a few percentage points. “Humidity levels have a tendency to fluctuate a little bit more in wine cellars than in freestanding wine refrigeration units,” he said.
How do you properly organize bottles of wine in a wine fridge?
“How you organize your bottles is determined by the type and capacity of your refrigeration unit,” said Asti.
“With a dual temperature refrigeration unit, the red wines are typically on the top…the whites are in the lower compartment,” he said. “You can organize them by nation or region, varietal, price, wines that you drink the most are in an easier to reach location. My attitude is, whatever seems most reasonable or logical to you.”
“I do suggest that you keep the reds and the whites, the rosés and the sparkling all separated from one another. That just makes things easier to find,” Asti said.
What are the most reliable wine fridge brands?
“I love Cuisinart, NewAir and Frigidaire,” said Capaldi.
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