Wine cabinets buying guide

Sadly, few of us have a cavernous cellar in which to stock our fine wines. For most of us it’s either a question of finding some space under the stairs or in the kitchen. This is fine if you regularly drink inexpensive wine as it’s not meant to be kept (!), but if you plan to hold on to your wine then you may like to consider a longer-term solution.

With growing interest in wine and an increasing number of us prepared to spend a little more on a good vintage, demand for decent storage has been growing steadily. There are several appliances on the market designed to store your wine; here’s a guide to deciding which one to choose.

View our range of wine cabinets. Watch our videos on choosing red and white wine glasses.

Why is important to store wine correctly ?

Wine is a constantly developing drink. As such, it reacts well or badly to its surroundings. By keeping them in the correct conditions you’ll ensure the wine matures properly. Too warm and the wine will age faster; too cool and deposits may develop.
Bottles should also be stored on their side to keep the cork moist and prevent air from entering. Screw cap bottles and sparkling wines can be stored upright.

Things to consider

Capacity

Think about how much you need to store: units which fit under the worktops will carry no more than about 40 bottles – just over 3 cases. If you are serious about buying wine for laying down or as an investment try and go for the largest one you can.

Also, consider the type of wine you’ll buy: most units are designed to take Bordeaux-size bottles. If your taste is for champagne or Burgundy, with their wider and thicker bottles, you’ll be able to store fewer.

Which wines do you drink?

Red and white wines require different storage temperatures. You generally store white wine at 10-12°C, and reds at 12-16°C.

With top-of-the-range models you can have independent temperatures within the unit; so you can keep champagne on the bottom shelf, with your claret on the top shelf.

Less expensive models may only have one temperature so you’ll have to compromise. Before drinking you may have to bring them up or down to the correct temperature, whereas with variable temperatures the wine is always ready to drink!

Humidity and cooling

Proper humidity is just as important: too dry and the corks will dry out; too damp, and mould could form. Superior models will maintain the correct humidity, as well as keeping the air well ventilated. Some even have charcoal filters, which prevent contamination of the wine.

Proper ventilation is also important. Fanned cooled refrigeration also ensures that, if you open the door, the fridge quickly recovers its interior temperature and any odours are excluded, so the wine isn’t tainted.

Shelf configuration

Entry-level models tend to have fixed shelving. Higher-spec models have shelves you can roll out, making it easier to retrieve and inspect your bottles. Shelves can also be adjustable – useful if you want to store extra bubbly for a party - and be made from wood or high-quality chrome.

Doors

Glass doors may let you show off your Chablis but they don’t insulate as well as solid doors – as with conventional refrigerators. If you want a glass door, then check whether it’s UV-protected. This means the wine won’t be affected by sunlight. Also, check if the doors are reversible.

Where to store it

As with most fridges, you should try and keep them where the ambient temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much – so avoid the garage if you can. Wine fridges can cope with temperature changes but big fluctuations put extra pressure on the unit.
Check also if the fridge is lockable, to avoid anyone unknowingly helping themselves to your prized Pouilly-Fuissé!

Environment and costs

All of our wine cabinets are ‘A’ rated for energy consumption, since they are for longer term wine storage, but most models are ‘B’ rated because of their large glass doors. Drinks fridges and wine coolers are currently exempt from classification.

Annual costs for running a fridge are very reasonable: about £20 per year.

 

  View our range of wine cabinets
From models that fit neatly under a kitchen worktop to large units for the serious wine lover, find the fridge you need.



Delivery, recycling and disposal

If you live within the delivery area of a John Lewis shop (you can check your postcode on the specific product page), your new appliance will be delivered by one of our vans.

You will also be able to arrange for collection and recycling of your old appliance (at a cost of £9) so that we can dispose of it safely. Disposal must be booked and paid for when you place your order, and we can only remove the old appliance if it has been disconnected. Once your old appliance has been removed, it is deemed of no value and we will be unable to return it to you.

Alternatively, you can take your old appliance to a local recycling centre to be recycled free of charge. Visit www.recycle-more.co.uk to find your nearest site (opens in a new window).

If you live outside a delivery area, then your new appliance will be delivered by one of our couriers who are unable to collect, so you will need to take your old appliance to a local recycling centre.

Installation

If you're putting your fridge underneath a worktop, you must normally allow a gap of 25mm at the top, back and sides of the appliance so that the warm air produced by the condenser can be properly ventilated.

Lack of ventilation will cause the compressor to work harder, resulting in faster frost build-up. (This does not apply to built-in appliances.)

Please ensure you measure up the space available before ordering.
When installing your new fridge, keep it upright at all times and allow at least 6 hours for the gases inside to settle before switching on.