Wine Cooler Refrigerator

wine cooler refrigerator

A wine cooler refrigerator makes a great addition to a remodel project. We explain why below and present a number of these units for your information.

Is a wine fridge necessary?

If you are a wine lover or love entertaining, a wine refrigerator is a great addition to the arsenal of kitchen appliances you should be planning for your kitchen remodel. It will add both pizazz and utility to the finished kitchen remodel project.

“Wine cooler” or “wine refrigerator?”

But first to clarify a point of language and define terms. A wine cooler is actually a low-strength alcoholic beverage made from wine and fruit juice. However, the phrase is also used to describe a wine refrigerator. So, to avoid confusion, we’ll stick with “wine refrigerator” or “wine fridge.”

6 good reasons for a wine fridge

Why do you need a wine fridge? Why don’t I keep my wine in a regular fridge?

Well, a regular fridge is designed to keep many different types of foodstuff cool. And its temperatures and humidity can vary widely. In addition, a variety of odors are present.

If you are serious about your wine, you will want a wine refrigerator. Here’s why:

  1. A wine fridge maintains a constant temperature and humidity, which is what wine likes.
  2. A dual-zone wine fridge can keep both reds and whites at their respective best temperatures.
  3. Wine does not like vibration. Wine fridges produce less vibration than regular fridges.
  4. Wine bottle corks need to be maintained at the right level of constant humidity.
  5. Even though protected by the cork, wine should be kept away from the odors that are present in a regular refrigerator.
  6. UV light is the enemy of wine. Although this is not really an issue with a regular refrigerator, the special fronts of wine fridges keep UV light away from the wine.

The bottom line is that a wine fridge provides the best environment in which to keep wine.

All your wines will be drinkable longer. It will help some wines continue to age. And some wine will just taste better.

Wine storage vs other storage needs

If you are planning to include a wine refrigerator in your kitchen remodel, you will need to have thought through all your kitchen storage needs and to have given at least some wine priority over other storage requirements. This in turn means that you will probably only install a wine refrigerator in a fairly large kitchen.

Where else would I put a wine refrigerator?

In our experience, most people put the wine refrigerator in the kitchen.  But we have also put them in wet and dry bars; in basements; in game rooms; in the dining room; and in purpose-built wine cellars.

Where not to put a wine fridge

  • Do not put it next to another appliance, especially an oven
  • Do not put it in direct sunlight
  • Do not put it in a garage

Does a wine fridge add value?

All remodel projects should have the thought of eventual resale at least in the back of the mind. And a wine refrigerator is certainly a good and relatively inexpensive value add component and selling feature. The subtle suggestion is that your home is where the good life is and the buyer will want to be part of that.

free standing wine fridge
under counter wine fridge

What is the difference between built-in and freestanding wine refrigerators?

There are two main types of wine refrigerators to consider for your remodel project. One is under the counter or built-in and the other is free-standing. It is important to understand the differences because it affects installation and location.

The main difference is how they vent or expel the warm air they generate in the cooling process. You can see the front vent in the image to the right above.

Under-counter wine refrigerator

The under-counter wine fridge is also called a built-in wine fridge. It needs to be planned for when laying out your kitchen and kitchen cabinetry. The type of fridge you need for this must be designed with vents in front so that the heat it generates can easily dissipate into the air of the kitchen or great room.

Check out these under-counter wine fridges on Amazon

Refrigerator Description Dimensions

Colzer 15 Inch Wine Cooler, 30-Bottle Wine Fridge Refrigerators Small Wine Chiller Built-in Under Counter Freestanding Mini Wine Cooler Refrigerator with Lock Wine Cellar Storage Digital
15 x 23 x 33.5

Danby 36 Bottle Freestanding Wine Cooler
20.1 x 17.5 x 32.8

Aobosi 24 Inch Dual Zone Wine Cooler 46 Bottle Freestanding and Built in Wine Refrigerator with Advanced Cooling System, Quiet Operation, Blue Interior Light | Easily Store Larger Bottles
23.4 x 22.7 x 34.2

Aobosi 15 Inch Wine Cooler, 28 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Refrigerator with Stainless Steel Tempered Glass Door, Temp Memory Function, Fit Champagne Bottles, Freestanding and Built-in Style
15 x 22.7 x 34.2

Kalamera 24” Wine refrigerator 46 Bottle Dual Zone Built-in and Freestanding with Stainless Steel & Triple-Layer Tempered Glass Door and Temperature Memory Function
22.4 x 23.4 x 33

Freestanding wine refrigerator

The freestanding wine refrigerator is designed to vent towards the rear of the unit. And it is called freestanding because it is nicely finished on the front, top, and sides and can be placed anywhere in the home there is an electrical outlet, provided there is adequate ventilation.

However, If you live in a hot summer area (like the California desert) do not put any type of wine cooler in a garage without air conditioning. It will overload and eventually fail.

Check out these free-standing wine fridges on Amazon

Refrigerator Description Dimensions

Ivation 18 Bottle Dual Zone Thermoelectric Red & White Wine Cooler/Chiller Counter Top Wine Cellar with Digital Temperature Display, Freestanding Refrigerator Smoked Glass Door Quiet Operation Fridge
26.5 x 22.2 x 15.6

Wine Enthusiast Silent 18 Bottle Wine Refrigerator – Freestanding Slimline Upright Bottle Storage Wine Cooler, Black
20.2 x 9.9 x 37.5

NutriChef PKTEWCDS1802 18 Bottle Dual Zone Thermoelectric Wine Cooler – Red and White Wine Chiller – Countertop Wine Cellar – Freestanding Refrigerator with LCD Display Digital Touch Controls
20 x 13.6 x 25.4

Ivation 24 Bottle Dual Zone Thermoelectric Red & White Wine Cooler/Chiller Counter Top Wine Cellar with Digital Temperature Display, Freestanding Refrigerator Quiet Operation Fridge
Not stated

Danby 36 Bottle Freestanding Wine Cooler
20.1 x 17.5 x 32.8

Can a freestanding wine fridge be built in?

In a word, No.

If you were to put a rear venting (freestanding type) cooler under the counter, surrounded by cabinetry on the sides, and a wall to the rear, the unit would be “stifled” because it would be unable to vent and dissipate heat properly.

This means that the unit would strain to operate and its system would fail early. Plus this type of installation would also void its warranty.

And what’s even worse – the wine would be spoiled.

It is true that the under-counter wine fridge costs more than the freestanding type, but the additional cost far outweighs the costs and consequences of putting a freestanding unit under the counter and having it fail.

What is the difference between thermoelectric and compressor wine refrigerators?

Without getting too much into the technicalities, here are the differences in what makes them tick. We also go over the main pluses and minuses of the two.

In understanding refrigeration, have in mind that the function of the fridge is not to make something cold but rather to remove heat from that something. It is the effect of removing heat that makes that something cold.

How do thermoelectric wine refrigerators work?

Thermoelectric wine refrigerators remove heat from the cooling compartment utilizing what is known as the Peltier effect.

The Peltier effect is where an electric current passes through two different types of metal plates and causes a heat flux. This means that heat will flow from one metal to the other. The result is that one metal plate gets cold and the other gets hot.

This effect is built into a thermoelectric wine cooler. The cold plate is inside the unit and the hot plate is outside. The heat is absorbed by a heat sink and then dissipated to the air outside the unit.

How do compressor wine refrigerators work?

A compressor wine fridge works just like a standard refrigerator but on a smaller scale. It uses a closed system vapor compression cycle to remove heat from the interior of the refrigerator. It works on the principle that heat is absorbed by a fluid (the refrigerant) as it changes from a liquid to a gas.

The coolant gas is compressed and then allowed to evaporate. Evaporation creates a cooling effect.

The major components of the system are

  • Compressor: this pressurizes the coolant,
  • Condenser: this radiates heat to the exterior,
  • Expansion valve: removes pressure from the liquid refrigerant to allow it to become a vapor in the evaporator
  • Evaporator: this absorbs heat and produces cold air

Advantages of thermoelectric wine refrigerators

  • Exceptionally quiet and vibration-free operation
  • Environmentally friendly because they do not use chemical refrigerants

Disadvantages of thermoelectric wine refrigerators

  • More expensive to operate because they run continuously
  • Most will not cool below about 50°F. If white wines are your thing, you will probably avoid a thermoelectric fridge.
  • Only good for small refrigerators
  • Do not operate well in warm ambient temperatures

Advantages of compressor wine refrigerators

  • Can cool to much lower temperatures (into the 30s °F) than the thermoelectric type
  • Less expensive to operate because they only run intermittently

Disadvantages of compressor wine refrigerators

  • Noisy compared to the thermoelectric type
  • Heavier than the thermoelectric type

What is the standard size of a wine fridge?

Manufacturers size their wine fridges by bottle capacity. They generally hold from 8 to 32 bottles. This is not exact because some wine bottles are wider than others.

Here is our logic in laying out a kitchen with reasonable wine storage. You want to allow for future expansion but you do not want to crowd out other storage priorities. So we would go with the 18 to 28-bottle range.

Other features to look for in a wine fridge

Adjustable racks: many wine fridges have adjustable racks that can accept larger bottles.

Adjustable doors: you can adjust the swing on some wine fridge models

What temperature should I set the wine fridge?

This depends on the wine. A sparkling wine, like prosecco or champagne, should be kept between 36°F and 46°F. Whites and rosés should be between 42°F and 54°F. Reds should be between 50°F and 64°F.

Do I need a dual-zone wine cooler?

Wine refrigerators come with single or dual refrigeration. So depending on what types of wine you want to store, the type of refrigeration is important. A single-zone fridge works well if you are storing one type of wine. Dual-zone refrigerators allow you to store both whites and reds in the same refrigerator.

If you are not sure, get a dual-zone wine fridge. It’s a safe choice.

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