Recently, in addition to conventional types of home appliances have gained popularity and specialized options. Such devices include a wine fridge – a compact unit imitating the conditions of wine cellars, which allows you to fully enjoy the taste and aroma of a noble drink.
Have you thought about buying a wine refrigerator from this list of the top under counter refrigerators, but had difficulties in choosing the right equipment? In order not to be disappointed in the purchase, it is necessary to determine in advance the main parameters of the refrigerator, assess the features of different types of equipment. Our article is devoted to the solution of these issues.
We have described in detail the variety of wine cabinets on the market and outlined the main criteria for their selection. Besides, we gave an overview of the best manufacturers of refrigeration units and prepared a rating of the most popular models of specialized refrigerators.
Designation and use of wine cabinets
Refrigerators of this type simultaneously perform a number of functions necessary for correct storage of bottles. Above all, they are used to cool drinks.
The mode of operation can be different: for long-term storage of containers in the chamber it is recommended to maintain the temperature of 10-12°C. If the wine is to be served on the table, it can be kept in the range from 8°C to 16°C, depending on the brand.
In the refrigerator there are conditions for horizontal storage. This is especially important when using wooden stoppers: when wet, they become sealed and do not let air in, which spoils the contents.
Vials with plastic plugs are not so demanding: they can be placed vertically.
An important function is protection against UV radiation, which speeds up chemical processes by causing wine deterioration. To prevent aggressive rays from entering wine cabinets, tinted glass cabinets usually have opaque doors or tinted glass cabinets that are impervious to UV radiation.
The design features of the technology also make it possible to protect bottles from vibration, which may increase the fallout in them. This option is especially important if drinks are to be stored for a long period of time.
A number of factors are taken into account when selecting a refrigerator, including technical specifications, installation features, dimensions and other criteria.
Classification by type of installation
All domestic appliances for wine storage can be divided into three groups that characterize the installation option.
Freestanding refrigeration units
Models are located autonomously at some distance from other furniture and appliances. The cooling system in this case may be on the side surfaces or at the back wall.
In the first case, the device looks more advantageous, but the possible leakage can hopelessly spoil it, as repair in this situation is difficult, and sometimes impossible.
A simple and less expensive solution is a device with a radiator at the back panel. Since this unit is quite vulnerable, special care must be taken during transport.
Built-in equipment models
Built-in modifications are in high demand despite the higher cost. The range includes both compact products that can be placed under the tabletop, and dimensional products that allow you to store hundreds of bottles.
As a rule, cabinets of this type are equipped with grilles at the bottom, behind which there are cooling radiators and fans for even distribution of air flows. The most expensive options also have a system for heat extraction.
Display cases for bottle storage
Compact devices designed for placement on walls. Thanks to the minimum depth and the small parameters of the mounting plate, they can be conveniently placed even in confined spaces.
There are two types of showcases:
- neutral – the design does not include any units responsible for temperature reduction;
- cooled – equipped with silent ventilated freezing system and automatic defrosting option.
The first variant is used for decorative and presentation purposes, the second one is perfect even for long-term storage of a small collection of bottles.
Cooling technologies used
There are various ways to cool drinks, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
It is based on chemical reactions accompanied by release/absorption of heat energy.
Since no moving mechanical parts are involved, the device operates quietly and vibration-free. If necessary, it can even be installed in the bedroom.
The disadvantages of such models include significant power consumption and high cost. In addition, due to the use of ammonia and other unsafe elements in the system, the technique requires increased attention.
To date, the most common system used in wine cabinets. The operation of the devices is similar to that of a traditional refrigerator. The gas is compressed by the compressor to generate heat and then expanded again, absorbing heat energy.
The compressors can be used in both built-in and standalone appliances. Despite their economical use of energy, they maintain the set temperature perfectly.
Among the drawbacks is some noise, the level of which is indicated in the enclosed instruction manual. Before purchase, the tightness of the appliance and the quality of the compressor must be carefully checked, as these factors have a direct impact on the service life of the compressor.
Thermoelectric or electronic system
Devices using this technology belong to the most budget product group. To reduce the temperature they use Peltier elements – plates, which are heated on the one hand and cooled on the other.
Refrigerators of this type have a number of valuable advantages: small size, absence of vibration, democratic value.
The main disadvantage of such models is the impossibility of embedding. In addition, the design of the technology, as a rule, requires a fan, the functioning of which is associated with certain noise. Its level is especially high for inexpensive modifications, while the operation of elite versions is almost silent.
Dimensions, design and additional functions
Various models of wine chillers may have additional equipment and/or functions.
- remote control;
- air circulation system;
- control of cooling zones;
- heating option;
- humidity control;
- locks and accessories.
The front wall of the cabinet is often equipped with a digital screen that informs about the temperature and humidity of the chamber. Usually there are also mechanical or touch buttons for adjustment.
Some versions provide remote control. In this case, the set includes a remote control, which is used to regulate the operation of the device.
Specialty refrigerators can have a different number of temperature zones. Dual-zone devices are especially in demand, as they maintain ideal conditions for storing two types of beverages.
They provide a section for white wines and champagne with a temperature of 6°C, as well as a section for saturated red wines at 16-18°C. It is important to bear in mind that having an additional cooling compartment reduces internal space and makes the model much more expensive.
The simpler design has multizone devices. They are characterized by a single space in which a vertical temperature change is provided: at the bottom it is lower than at the top. The variation in these variants is usually 3-6°C.
For faster and more uniform cooling, a fan is sometimes installed in the cooking cabinet. By definition, it is absent in multi-zone chillers where temperature differences are important.
Most wine cabinets are designed for cooling only. However, there are modifications equipped with a heating function – “winter mode”. Such appliances can be left without fear in unheated rooms, for example, in the cottage or in the pantry.
The budget options automatically maintain a constant water vapour content, which varies between 50-80%. Expensive units are usually equipped with special systems that allow you to set your own moisture content.
In addition to the above factors, wine refrigerators can be equipped with additional devices and accessories, such as locks to prevent unauthorized access, UV protection, carbon filters, lava stones.
As for dimensions, manufacturers offer a variety of parameters. Adaptations for private owners, designed to store a few dozen bottles, are usually quite modest in size.
Industrial units for bars and other establishments have impressive size, which allows you to store them in batches of various drinks.
Since wine storage units are luxury goods, manufacturers pay particular attention to the design of models.
Metal, wood, tinted and mirror glass are used for their production. Often the devices are decorated with carving, forged elements, leather, mosaic, which gives them a luxurious appearance.
Best producer overview
Among the largest companies producing refrigeration equipment for wine storage, there are five clear favorites.
Wine cabinets EuroCave
The famous French company, whose founder René Martin proposed the concept of special devices simulating the conditions of wine cellars, and set up their production.
At present, the EuroCave catalogue presents more than five hundred models of household appliances, which are assembled in the northern French town of Fourmy, the historical homeland of the brand.
Most of the options offered are multi-zone cabinets, whose temperature varies uniformly in height from 7 to 20°C, which allows you to simultaneously store on the shelves champagne, white, pink and red wines.
The collections offer free-standing and built-in appliances, mainly in classic design.
Wine storage devices from Dometic
The Swedish company is a well-known manufacturer of wine cabinets. The company has developed and patented absorption cooling technology.
Due to the absence of noise and vibration it is widely used for long-term storage of various brands of noble drinks.
Household appliances from Domestic are of high quality. It is characterized by effective protection against UV radiation, excellent air circulation, reliable maintenance of temperature and humidity.
Demokratic equipment from Caso
Devices produced by Caso brand (Germany) have found recognition among different categories of users. In the assortment of the company there are models at democratic value, which are quite accessible to the middle class.
All lines of Caso are characterized by traditional German quality, ease of use, long service life. Excellent design in the classic style allows you to easily fit the technique in any interior, and the various dimensions make it possible to use it both in the home and in bars, cafes and restaurants.
Dunavox wine cabinets
Despite its relative youth, the Hungarian company Dunavox has managed to attract the attention of connoisseurs and collectors of vintage drinks thanks to a wide range of conventional and built-in models.
The company’s products are characterized by an ideal combination of budget price and excellent technical characteristics. The high quality of the refrigerators is also confirmed by the three-year warranty period provided by the company.
Designer equipment Ip Industrie
Since the appearance of the product plays an important role in the selection of wine storage devices, mention should be made of the Italian company Ip Industrie. Its original and beautiful products are in great demand in different countries around the world.
In the manufacture of luxury models are used only natural materials, such as leather and wood of different species. Designers offer bright bold solutions, so that the technique of Ip Industie becomes the center of the interior.
Exquisite design is combined with excellent performance: in the manufacture of products widely used modern technology and scientific research.
Excellent quality also differs from the famous German manufacturers Libherr and Miele, French professional line La Sommeliere, products of the Chinese manufacturer Cold Vine.