Makeover Monday: Best Wine Refrigerators and Wine Rooms

Steve Sheinkopf  |  October 13, 2014  |  3 Min. Read

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I once went on a walking trip through Hungary (great place to visit, BTW). Hungary is famous for a dessert wine called Tokkei, and part of the trip was through the wine producing regions.

Anyway, I was in a 150 year old vineyard. They stored all their wine in a cave. It turns out caves are a perfect place to store wine, because they have no light or vibration. They are also the right humidity as well as temperature.

Wine is not like potato chips. It is a living grape. How it is stored will affect the taste. Stored improperly and wine can be “corked” or ruined. Many people have placed wine in climate controlled environments like these:

 

Sizes of Wine Refrigerators

Let's say you do not have the space for your own dedicated wine room. You can buy a wine storage system in taller columns. Sub-Zero, Viking and Thermador are the most popular. Typically they are 80-84 inches tall and 24 inches deep. Widths vary at 18, 24, 27 and 30 inches.

 

 
The most popular wine refrigerator, however, is undercounter at 34 tall, 24 deep and 24 or 15 inches wide. Every company from U-Line, True, Marvel, Sub-Zero, Electrolux and GE Monogram will market the undercounter.

How To Store Wine

As I said before, wine is the most complex product to store. It is technically a living grape. Here is what you need to avoid:

  • Temperature: Wine will be ruined not just by hot and cold temperatures, but a swing either way. I like the two zone temperature controls of True and Sub-Zero.
  • Light: Light will affect the tannins. Look for a unit with a Low E door, which refracts light and UV rays.
  • Vibration: Vibration like light affects wine. Caves don’t vibrate. Most decent storage systems will have glide out racks to damper vibration. Sub-Zero places the compressor on grommits, so it will not shake the unit when activated.
  • Humidity: A unit too dry or too moist will ruin the cork. A “corked” wine is ruined due to air infiltrating a wine through a dry cork.

Best Wine Storage Systems

Unfortunately, most undercounter and freestanding wine refrigerators are simply refrigerators converted to wine with the addition of a glass door and simple racks. They do nothing to address the concerns of storing wine.

 
Following are the three best...

Sub-Zero: I really like this unit. Sub-Zero designed this product to store wine with two temperature evaporators with precise digital thermostats. It has the Low E door, glide out racks and the best vibration controls

subzero undercounter wine storage 424

True: Another great company with a commercial style compressor and two digital temperature controls. You can tie this unit into your home alarm. Great warranty and all stainless contruction

true refrigeration undercounter wine storage

U-Line: It's good quality and less expensive than the other two. U-Line has the low E door and good racking

u-line undercounter wine captain

I am not advocating spending a ton of money to store your wine. Just be aware of the complications of storing the product and plan accordingly.

Recommended Reads

Additional Resources

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

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