Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: April 22, 2023

Wine Cooler vs Fridge: What Does Your Wine Deserve?

wine storage fridge

If you want to enjoy your wine to its fullest potential it's really important that:

  • It's stored at a constant temperature
  • Constant humidity
  • Protected from light
  • Shielded from vibrations
  • Ventilated
  • Kept away from odors.

Although a refrigerator is great at cooling food it's not ideal for storing wine. Not for long periods anyway. 

Let's compare a wine cooler vs a fridge to find out where they differ and why you shouldn't keep your wine with your food.

#1 Constant Temperature

The best storage temperature for wine should be around 55°F.

The wine cabinet has professional precision compressors and temperature controllers, which are very accurate and stable for temperature control. 

You can even set different temperatures in different zones.

Although the temperature in a refrigerator can be set too, it's often not all that accurate. My refrigerator just has a dial with 5 settings on it for example.

There's also the fact that your refrigerator is being constantly opened and closed as people grab food and drinks throughout the day.

That causes temperature fluctuations that are not conducive to good wine storage practice.

#2 Humidity

The proper humidity is essential for storage. The humidity level of wine in storage should generally be kept at 60%-70%.

If the humidity is too high, it could cause mold at the mouth of the bottle which will affect the quality of the wine. 

If the humidity is too low, the cork on the wine bottle will shrink. This allows oxygen to enter the bottle and spoil the wine.


#3 Vibrations

Vibrations cause the sediment in a bottle to be unsettled. This can cause unwanted chemical reactions to take place. This has a considerable impact on the wine's aging and negatively impacts the taste. 

A traditional fridge causes quite a buzzing sound sometimes and this is the compressor causing vibrations.

A wine refrigerator uses a special compressor to eliminate vibrations. It works slowly and smoothly and does not directly contact the main body of the wine cabinet, greatly reducing these vibrations.

#4 UV protection

Ultraviolet light also has a great influence on the maturity and aging of the wine. If exposed to strong sunlight for long periods, it is enough to cause the wine to deteriorate.

Good wine fridges have double-layer UV protected glass doors, which can effectively prevent the UV light from affecting the quality of the wine.

How to Store Wine in a Wine Cooler

When using a wine cooler to preserve wine, you need to pay attention to the following:
  • Single zone wine fridge: If you plan to use a single temperature zone wine cabinet to store both red and white wines, it is best to adjust the temperature to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Although different versions of the single-temperature wine cabinet have their own ideal temperature settings, setting the temperature to 54°F is an ideal storage temperature for all wines
  • Dual zone wine fridge: This wine cabinet is divided into two different wine storage areas, the temperature of the two zones can be set independently, suitable for storing two different types of wine. The temperature in one of the zones can be set between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit to store red wine; the temperature in the other zone is set between 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Used to store white wine.
  • Gradually adjust the temperature of the wine cabinet when needed. A sudden increase in temperature causes an increase in pressure inside the bottle, forcing the liquor to ooze out of the cork; a sudden drop in temperature causes air to enter the bottle, affecting the oxidation of the wine.
  • Avoid changing the temperature of the wine cabinet frequently. Frequent fluctuations in temperature can affect the normal ripening process of wine.
  • After the bottle is opened, the bottle should be resealed with a stopper and then placed in the wine cabinet. The shelf life is within five days. After the red wine is opened, it does not need to be stored in the wine cabinet; it is best to drink it within two days after the bottle is resealed.
  • Close the door of the wine cabinet. Make sure that the door of the wine cabinet is closed and sealed at all times. Otherwise the temperature inside the wine cabinet will be higher than the ideal temperature.
  • Avoid oxidation. All wines sealed with cork should be placed horizontally or sideways. The shelf inside the wine cabinet is specially designed to allow the wine to be placed horizontally. The horizontal release keeps the cork moist and prevents outside air from entering the bottle. When the wine is placed upright, the cork will gradually become too dry, allowing air to penetrate into the bottle, affecting the quality of the wine.
  • Avoid moving the bottle frequently. Frequent movement of wine bottles can affect the ripening process of the wine. If you have a lot of wine, it is best to pre-set the system for the wine to avoid moving the bottle frequently.
  • Place the wine cabinet in the right place. Keep the wine cabinet away from the vibration. External shocks can make wine unstable and ultimately detract from its quality.

Final Thoughts

The only time you should have wine in your fridge is when it is being chilled immediately before serving. Otherwise, the result of wine cooler vs fridge always comes out on the side of the purpose built cooler.

Traditional fridges are great at what they do, but that's not cooling wine.

If you're serious about wine and have a growing collection then a wine fridge could be a great investment on your part. 

It'll keep your collection in tip-top condition and take the guess work out of setting temperatures and humidity levels.

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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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