Beautiful wood finish looks aged but remains durable. Fits perfectly in small spaces.
Smaller amount of storage space compared to other cabinets.
Dedicated spaces for wine bottles and glasses keeps everything separated and contained all in one place.
Limited amount of bottle storage.
Variety of drawers and smaller cabinets to fit everything you need for casual wine use.
Piece is wider than other cabinets. Requires more space.
Top shelves are large enough for larger items. Utilizes its height for extra storage.
Bottle storage requires people to bend over to access.
If you truly love a good glass of wine at dinner or with friends, and you enjoy having a wide selection of fine wines on hand, you want to store your wine properly. A good bottle of wine is an investment that needs the right treatment to keep the aroma and taste at their best. That’s why owning a wine storage cabinet is a smart decision.
Some wine fanciers are lucky enough to live in a house large enough to devote an entire room to a wine cellar. For the majority of people, however, the cost and space requirements of a dedicated wine cellar are out of the question. Luckily, you can create a small wine storage area in any area of your home with a wine storage cabinet. But you might not be familiar with the various wine storage options available.
That’s where BestReviews comes in. We’ve written this handy buying guide to help you make the right decision for your vino collection. We’ve included a few of our favorites, too.
Other than your refrigerator or a designated wine cellar or wine closet, there are three basic ways to store multiple bottles of wine in your home: wine rack, wine refrigerator, and wine cabinet.
Wine rack: This is a simple frame designed to hold wine bottles horizontally. A rack is definitely not for long-term storage of fine wine, but you might use one to store less expensive bottles of wine that you plan to enjoy in the near future. Wine racks are most often made of wood or metal and come in a wide range of styles from ornate and decorative to simple and utilitarian.
You can choose from wine racks that mount on the wall, small units that hold just a few bottles on a tabletop or in a closet, or larger racks that are styled like furniture. Some wine racks resemble small cabinets, complete with glass or wooden doors, racks to hold glasses, and storage space for other wine accessories, such as an aerator and opener. For the best flavor, set your wine rack in a dark location away from any heat sources, and position it out of heavily used or trafficked areas of the house.
Wine refrigerator: A wine refrigerator (also called a wine cooler or wine chiller) takes storage up a notch by keeping wine in the recommended chill zone of 50°F to 59°F. These range from small units that hold as few as half a dozen bottles to large units the size of a regular refrigerator that hold as many as 200 or more. The size you choose will probably depend on how much space you have for it. Just remember that your refrigerator will fill up quickly, so buy the biggest unit you can afford.
When deciding where to place your wine refrigerator, remember that most units vent from the back, so don’t push it flush against the wall. There should be at least a few inches of clearance on all sides of your wine refrigerator.
Wine cabinet: A wine cabinet is a good option for the wine connoisseur with an extensive collection of fine wines. It’s like a freestanding wine cellar. Wine cabinets take the wine refrigerator to the next level by controlling humidity as well as temperature. This makes the wine cabinet ideal for aging the best wines. It also makes wine cabinets more expensive than wine refrigerators. Most of these units are large, similar in size to a refrigerator, though normally styled as an attractive piece of furniture. Beautiful wood, elaborate trim, and ornate glass panels are common.
A wine cabinet is the next best thing to having a wine cellar in your home, and it’s a significant investment. Here are some of the things to consider when choosing one.
You will find that some wine cabinets provide just one temperature zone, while others have two or three temperature zones.
One zone: These wine cabinets are useful for storing all types of wine at the same temperature, but they don’t allow you to chill different types of wine at different serving temperatures.
Three or more zones: There are also wine cabinets with multiple zones, each with its own temperature control. These are useful for storing a wide variety of wines, including sparkling wines, at different temperatures or for bringing bottles to different temperatures for serving.
Racks: Less expensive wine cabinets often have racks made of metal, but wood is the better option because it’s less likely to scratch the bottles and does a better job of absorbing vibrations. The best wine cabinets have rubber dampers that absorb vibrations from the compressor or outside sources.
Shelves: Sliding shelves make it easy to access your bottles, but built-in shelves that don’t slide let you stack bottles, thus providing more storage space. Adjustable shelves are desirable if you have larger wine bottles, too.
Most wine cabinets allow you to adjust the humidity level within a range of 50% to 80% and then hold the humidity level steady. When the humidity is too low, the corks can dry out and crumble; too high and the cork can become mushy.
There are wine storage cabinets built to hold as many as 300 bottles and cabinets that only hold a dozen or so bottles. The larger the capacity, the larger the appliance, so your decision will depend on the available space for the cabinet as well as the number of bottles you want to store at any one time.
Direct light and UV rays can degrade the quality of fine wine, and most wine cabinets don’t have interior lights. However, some higher-end units are equipped with amber LEDs, which won’t harm the wine.
While some wine cabinets are sleek and contemporary, with lots of chrome and glass, others have a more traditional appearance and resemble a wooden bookcase with glass doors. Choose a style that matches the rest of your décor.
While a simple wine rack can cost less than $50 and a basic wine fridge might cost $200, you’ll spend quite a bit more for most wine storage cabinets. Many are custom-built, but if you’re looking to buy a prefabricated wine cabinet, here’s what you can expect to pay.
Inexpensive: Under $300, you’ll find small wine cabinets that hold a dozen or so bottles on fixed shelves. Expect a single temperature zone and metal racks. These cabinets typically are fairly industrial in appearance, with glass doors and metal exteriors.
Mid-range: Between $300 and $1,000 is the sweet spot for the wine lover who likes to keep up to 50 bottles on hand. In this range, you’ll still mostly find smaller wine storage cabinets, but the quality is better. Features such as sliding shelves, two temperature zones, and wooden racks are common.
Expensive: For the true wine connoisseur, only the best will do. The highest-end wine cabinets cost from $1,000 to over $5,000, depending on capacity, size, and style. For this much money, you can find cabinets that hold up to 100 bottles or more, multi-zone temperature control, complex rack systems that allow you to adjust the racks for various sizes of bottles, interior lighting, and lovely wooden exteriors that resemble fine furniture.
Under the proper conditions, wine can be stored for years, aging gracefully and waiting for that special day to arrive when you uncork the bottle. These four factors are the most important when storing wine.
Q. Does wine really need to be stored on its side?
A. If the wine bottle is sealed with a cork, it should be stored on its side until the bottle is opened. This keeps the wine in contact with the cork, preventing it from drying out and cracking. A cracked cork allows oxygen to enter the bottle, leading to oxidized, sour-tasting wine. Once you’ve opened the bottle, however, go ahead and store it upright until it’s finished.
Q. What’s the right temperature for serving wine?
A. Though all wines can be stored in the same temperature range, red and white wine are not served at the same temperature. Ideally, white wine should be served chilled to 42°F to 50°F, while red wine should be a little closer to room temperature at an ideal range of 56°F to 65°F.
Q. Is a freestanding wine cabinet my only choice?
A. Not at all. Along with freestanding units, which often resemble a decorative refrigerator and are around the same size, there are also wine cabinets designed to fit into an alcove and small units that slip underneath a counter.
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