Wine fridges are great, but when they stop cooling the way they should, it can be frustrating to deal with. They’re really no different than the refrigerator in your kitchen, so the same basic concepts still apply to them, as well.
Of course, not all wine fridges are created equal (or cooled alike), so it’s important to know how to get yours working properly again using a few different methods. Here we will show you how to regas your wine fridge in 10 steps or less!
Step 1: Position your fridges at an angle
Most wine fridges stand upright, but because they’re not refrigerating wine they might as well be positioned at an angle to ensure a greater surface area. Because when it comes to wine, one of the most important things is getting all surfaces properly chilled.
You want those ice crystals forming on all areas of your wine at once; that way, you get even cooling. If you own more than one fridge—and if you’re a serious collector or enthusiast, chances are good that you do—you can rotate them so they each get a fair share of time standing straight up and angled down.
Step 2: Keep your wine cool but out of the light
When storing wine in a refrigerator, one of your biggest enemies is heat. As with most refrigerators, when your cooling system kicks on, it’s going to cycle through hot and cold. This will warm up your wine. It won’t kill all of it but enough that you may lose some flavor.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re keeping your wine cool without having to throw it into a freezer is to store it in a temperature-controlled drawer. These drawers generally keep items between 45 degrees and 55 degrees which are perfect temperatures for preserving flavor and enjoying your wines at their best!
Step 3: Clean your refrigerator coils and air vents every 6 months
Cleaning your refrigerator’s coils and air vents can prolong its life and extend its usefulness to you. Cleaning is particularly important if you live in a place with high levels of pollution, such as near a highway or factory.
Coils can be cleaned by gently scrubbing them with a soft brush. Sometimes you’ll need to remove them for cleaning, which will involve unscrewing screws that are usually hidden under rubber plugs on top of each coil.
Make sure not to touch any part of your fridge when it’s plugged in; even after unplugging it, some parts will still be extremely hot for several hours.
Step 4: Use a hygrometer to measure humidity in your refrigerator (digital thermometer will do)
Your wine fridge should be between 55% and 70% humidity, which is optimal for keeping your wines cool and preventing them from drying out. If you get up over 60%, use a fan or open a bottle of wine to help ventilate your refrigerator.
But remember: Don’t store your wines directly on top of or underneath warm, vents in walls or ceilings. Warmer temperatures will quickly dry out your bottles, putting all that work you did into storing them properly to waste.
For example, it may seem convenient to store your wine on an upper kitchen shelf next to an AC vent… don’t do it!
Step 5: Find the sweet spot for storing wine with this helpful guide
How often should you do it? Experts suggest that you rotate your wine about once a year. You also want to try and maintain 50% red wine and 50% white wines. If you have too many reds, then your whites will oxidize faster than if there are an equal amount of each.
It’s important to keep a constant flow of air running through your fridge, so don’t buy too much wine at once!
Step 6: Store bottles vertically, if possible
Bottles in a wine refrigerator are often stored horizontally, which can cause cork problems. This can be avoided by storing bottles vertically, if possible.
Not only will you find that it is much easier to select your next bottle with bottles stored vertically, but you will also cut down on corks issues since both sides of a bottle are exposed to equal amounts of heat and cold.
Also consider storing red wines on their side because they have thicker bottoms, and more heat exposure will help them age properly. As a bonus, when you take that vertical bottle out of your wine fridge, its label will be right-side up! That makes for easier reading and better wine tasting experiences as well!
Step 7: Rotate your wine regularly
One of the things about wine is that it needs to be regularly rotated. This means that you need to make sure you have enough room in your fridge for all of your wines, and that you’re not just keeping them because they’re special occasions.
If a bottle goes past its best before date then it should be discarded. This is no different from buying milk or any other type of food, so if there are bottles in your wine fridge that haven’t been opened in years then they should be thrown away or given to someone else.
Regularly rotating your stock ensures that everything stays fresh and doesn’t get spoiled. And as an added bonus, it can also save you some money!
Step 8: Place wines in clear plastic bags (that don’t touch each other)
This will help ensure they don’t bleed into each other. You want your wine to get as close to a proper temperature as possible, which is at cellar temperature (55°F to 59°F) or cooler. Putting wines in clear plastic bags will protect them from light and prevent too much humidity from getting in.
Also, don’t store an opened bottle of wine with an unopened one — exposed corks take up valuable oxygen that may harm an unopened bottle of wine that it’s stored with.
Step 9. Remove any bad odors from the fridge with activated charcoal or club soda (sprayed on a paper towel).
Clean out your wine fridge and then remove any bad odors from it with activated charcoal or club soda (sprayed on a paper towel). Find activated charcoal at garden centers and pet stores.
If you’re using charcoal, wait for it to fully activate—30 minutes to two hours after opening—and then place a few pinches in a coffee filter. Close up your wine fridge with all its doors and vents closed for four hours.
You’ll want to repeat these steps every six months, or once per season, just as you would clean out an air conditioner. And don’t forget to change your filter every year! You can pick one up at Amazon for $20: Filtrete 4-Inch Full Size Performance Air Filter
So you have purchased a brand new wine fridge but when you plug it in, nothing happens. Don’t worry! This can be solved easily if you follow these simple steps.
First of all, check that it is plugged in and that there are no other switches on at your home which may be interrupting with its power supply (for example, another appliance which is more energy-consuming).
If you have already done so and it still doesn’t work, then look for a label or note which says be prepared to wait 24 hours before use or something similar and give it more time.