Updated: June 8, 2015
Wine Cellar Reviews:Once your wine collection gets beyond about 10 bottles it's time to consider where to store it all. I generally keep about 5 to 10 bottles in my home in a regular wine rack in the dining room. I'm not concerned with storing the wine in a temperature controlled wine celler or wine cooler since most of it gets drank long before that is necessary. However, some of our friends have become wine enthusiasts of late and are starting to build up larger collections. When you have 20, 30, or even 50 bottles of wine, it's best to consider a refrigeration system to keep them at the proper temperature before you pull them out to drink at a dinner party or special occasion. Many wines get better with age and so having a wine storage system is a must if you plan on buying those types. They will keep better over time if stored in a temperature controlled wine cellar. "Wine cellar" can be a confusing term to wine newbies only because many of us think of that term when referring to underground storage rooms in homes or chateaus in France and Italy. For purposes of this article, a wine cellar will mean wine refrigerator or wine cooler/chiller.
Buying Guide - When considering a new wine cellar from a top manufacturer like EuroCave you have to look at a few features of their wine refrigerators. Firstly, the temperature is key to wine storage and most experts agree that wine should be kept at a temperature between 52 and 58 degrees fahrenheit. The proper temperature will allow the wine to age correctly. A well built wine cellar lets you keep the unit in your garage where temperatues can fluctuate from hot to cold but the cellar will keep the contents at a constant temperature inside. You want a wine cellar that will keep light exposure to a minimum. Many come with opaque doors or doors that have been treated so they can filter out the UV light that is harmful to the wine over time. Exposure to too much light will age and damage the wine. Ventilation is another important factor to consider when buying a wine cellar. You want to prevent mold from accumulating in the wine cellar so having a self-regulating ventilation system will help. Keeping the wine still in the cellar is also very important. Vibrations are not good for quality wine while it ages so you want a wine cellar designed to hold all bottle types and keep them in place so they don't slide and move around. Look for shelves that are not only adjustable in height, but that are capable of sliding in and out. The better mounted system on the shelves, the less likely vibrations will happen when you are taking out or putting in wine bottles. Lastly, storing wine bottles require the right level of humidity. If you want to prevent oxidation and keep the corks sealed properly, humidity levels of above 50% are necessary. Size of the unit is also important to your wine collection. Most stores we talked with recommended getting a wine storage cooler that is at least 10-20% larger than you think will do. The hobby of collecting fine wines often leads to buying more bottles than you imagined so having some extra storage space is crucial. Who sells wine cellars - Kenmore, Marvel, GE, Electrolux, Sub-Zero, Silent, EuroCave, LeCache, Danby, Haier, Avanti, and Vinotemp. We found an excellent article on "worthy wine cellars" done by Consumer Reports (November 2008) and websites like Wineenthusiasts.com carry a huge inventory with many reviews on each model that consumers posted online. Amazon.com carries some wine cellars but we found most of the reviews on their website were less than positive. Only a few models like the Haier HVFO42ABL 42-Bottle Wine Cellar received high praise from customers who bought it. We found several models on sites like Target.com and Amazon that only hold about 6 to 12 bottles which seems almost pointless - you would probably have that wine refrigerator full within a month and be out of space. Most reviews we found are from owners of wine cellars but the one done by Consumer Reports was thorough and technically sound. They tested 13 undercounter models and 7 freestanding units. The capacity ranged from 28 to 58 bottles. A good wine cellar will hold a uniform temperature, be energy efficient, run quietly, and have 2 zones whenever possible to keep both red and white wines in their own storage space with different temperatures. How mch should you spend on a wine cellar? The Kenmore 9913 ($500) is sold at Sears and rates well in several reviews but it's not the most energy efficient model although it is capable of holding up to 40 wine bottles. The Kenmore wine cellar is freestanding but you can buy built in or undercounter models like the top rated Marvel 6SWC ($1500) which holds up to 54 wine bottles. Browse the best selling wine refrigerators here