If you’re thinking about buying one of these wine refrigerators, or if you already have one, you’re probably looking for ways to make sure it keeps the right temperature and that it holds the right amount of bottles to suit your needs and tastes. Here are some tips on how to load a wine fridge in 10 steps.
1) Open the doors
Some wine fridges have a single, wide door that opens like a refrigerator. Others open horizontally, which means you need to push one door open while pulling another shut. There are even French-door style wine fridges with two sliding doors.
Regardless of how many doors your fridge has, start by opening all of them to their widest position and then proceed with loading. That way, you’ll be able to get your bottles and/or case in quickly and easily—no unnecessary strain or drama.
2) Set up your wine on their side
Storing wine on their side allows air to flow freely around each bottle, helping it stay fresh for much longer. Of course, your fridge can only store so many bottles of wine at once and it’s a good idea to keep them organized as you load up.
If you have too many to comfortably fit in your refrigerator or if you have space for more, consider buying a wine rack—you can even find them online! This way you can make sure that no bottle is left uncooled.
Remember: never place wine in an upright position, or you risk ruining its flavor. You may need to rotate your wines every few weeks to maintain their quality.
3) Group similar wines together
We’ve all tried to shove a single bottle into an overcrowded fridge and then been frustrated when it doesn’t fit. Chances are good that many of those bottles share common attributes, such as winery or style.
Similar wines can be grouped together for better refrigerator use. The most important attribute to group by is temperature. Think about what you like with dinner and do your best to put those bottles next to each other in your wine refrigerator: whites on one shelf, reds on another, etc. Your wine will taste much better too!
4) Place larger bottles in front
The wine cooler may not seem like a difficult appliance to operate, but if you don’t maintain proper temperature control and use consistent temperatures, your wines will be unevenly aged.
Temperature control is critical for aging wine and finding an appropriate wine refrigerator with auto temperature control (ATC) technology can help make things easier.
Opting for a wine refrigerator with electronic temperature display or digital controls is also recommended as it allows you to better monitor and adjusts temperatures.
You’ll also want to check what type of sensor is used in your unit—some sensors are more sensitive than others and will give you more accurate readings about how warm or cold your cabinet is getting, which will allow you to make small adjustments accordingly.
5) Use any odd space with a half bottle or two
We want our wine to be stored in optimal conditions, and that includes a constant temperature. Because of that, we want to make sure it’s out of direct sunlight and ideally away from any appliances that might cause sudden fluctuations in temperature.
No wine fridge? No problem! There are plenty of other ways to keep your bottles cool. One easy way is to use an odd space with a few half bottles or two (for example, if you’re lucky enough to have a guest room on your second floor). All you need for more space for wine is about five feet high and three feet deep.
6) Add an extra shelf if you have room
Why have one shelf for wine and one for storage when you can have both? But even if you don’t, it’s probably smart to purchase an extra shelf or two if your fridge is big enough.
Why? Because in addition to storing your wine, you should also be storing a few other things that will help keep your wines fresher longer: corks, bottle stoppers and wine chillers (if you buy a lot of white wines).
If these extras are taking up space, add another shelf so they can all fit together nicely. And remember to label each space with a piece of tape or a note on top so you know what’s supposed to go where.
7) Use floor space to your advantage!
The goal is to find a good balance of bottles vs. space. If you are going to store multiple bottles at once, make sure that you have enough space for all of them, otherwise, your wine will be jostled and shaken up every time you open or close your fridge doors.
For smaller fridges with limited space, it’s best to stack wine vertically; if stacking horizontally, try stacking on their sides so that they can fit in tighter spaces. Keep in mind though that storing wine on its side can cause damage over time, especially when exposed to higher temperatures.
Keeping wine stored upright also helps maintain natural levels of carbon dioxide in each bottle—important for maintaining optimum flavor and allowing wines like Champagne to maintain its effervescence longer.
8) Don’t forget about temperature control
The wine fridge is a delicate ecosystem, and if you don’t handle it properly, things can go south fast. The first step to loading your new wine fridge is making sure that temperature is up to snuff.
The optimal temperature range for storing wine (or really any other food or beverage) depends on what’s being stored. For instance, white wines should be between 42 and 55 degrees F while reds should be between 54 and 60 degrees F.
9) Consider how much space you want for wine storage vs. bottles/space (e.g. consider placing some bottles sideways, etc.)
When buying a wine fridge, it’s crucial to consider how much space you have in your home to store wine (or if you plan on bringing it to events or out-of-town). You also need to take into account how many bottles you plan on purchasing at any given time.
For example, if you buy 4 bottles at once and will only consume 1 per week, keep in mind that most wine fridges can hold around 3 standard sized bottles. Therefore, without additional space for more storage racks (which is unlikely), a general rule of thumb is around 1 rack = 2 bottles.
Finding a wine fridge can be an exciting and daunting task. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to select a unit that fits all of your needs. Don’t just consider size and price, think about how you plan on using your refrigerator; don’t forget about the budget, and most importantly, find one that looks good!