Wine Talk

Snooth User: humpdog

chilling my juice

Posted by humpdog, Mar 31, 2011.

Hey everyone--

(1) i have read seemingly conflicting information on ideal storage and drinking temps for whites and reds, other than the obvious fact that they do differ. i read as low as 45 for whites and 55 ("cellar temperature") for reds. others say 55 for whites and closer to 60 for reds. 

(2) concerning wine refrigerators, single zone or dual zone? logic tells me a dual zone is better but i also had one person say to store all wines around 55 and let reds warm up slightly before serving.

(3) in your experience, what brands of free-standing refrigerators offer the best combination of quality and price? i can't afford to break the bank on a cooling unit but i don't want a piece of junk either. and i certainly want to store the wines in ideal conditions if i can.

(4) finally, what bottle capacity do you recommend for a starter unit?



Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 31, 2011.

Totally forgot about this.


1 - It depends a bit on what your plans are. At 45 dgreees your wine is pretty much frozen and this might be the perfect environmet for wine you want your grandchildren to sell but if you're hoping the develop in the cellar it's just plain too cold, though a good temperature for storing whites ready to drink.

I've stored my wines in a passive cellar for years. Temperaturs tend to rang between about 53 and 67 over the course of a year and I am very satisifed with the way wines have developed over the course of 2 decades.

Most commercial storage unites are set at around 55 ( the natural temp of an underground cellar) to about 58 which is the most common temperature I've seen and a perfectly fine temperature for the slow steady development of both white and red wines.

2 - I generally recommend sticking with a single zone, fewer moving parts and less likely to break.

3 - Not sure these two go hand in hand. From what I've seen you get what you pay for with wine fridges.

4 - How many wines do you anticipate storing in your celler? Triple it and that is a good starting point!


Reply by dmcker, Mar 31, 2011.

All excellent reccs from Greg. Finally I'd just add--any chance of finding passive storage options?

Reply by humpdog, Mar 31, 2011.

yes greg, thanks much.

@dmcker, i will definitely be using passive storage too.  the only problem is i live in the south and have no cellar or basement to take advantage of.  i think the best candidate is a cabinet in our butler's pantry.  it's dark and as cool as any place in the house. should be vibration free too. 

Reply by napagirl68, Apr 1, 2011.

agree with most, but especially Greg's mentioning that you get what you pay for with a wine fridge...  SO TRUE!!!!!!!  Good call.. GdP.. especially when they are so plentiful in discount stores everywhere!

Reply by GregT, Apr 1, 2011.

There are a lot of threads on this already so you may want to do a search.

To what Greg said, I'd add that if your concern is looks, you'll pay a LOT more than if your concern is only cooling.  They make units that you can put in your garage or basement - they come unassembled and you stick them together like an Ikea thing, but you save a lot of money on shipping and on the unit itself.  They have a kind of melamine finish.  And they're fine - I have a friend who's had three of them for many years and he keeps some very expensive wines in them at 53F year round.

If you want to pay for a glass door and walnut finish, etc., you pay a few thousand more for the same functionality. 

I'm not sure I'd put it in an enclosed area - just like a fridge, you want air to circulate around the unit.

And I'd never get a dual zone cooler.  Those are for suckers IMO - you pay for two coolers for no reason whatsoever.  It's not like they used to build side-by-side caves in the mountain for whites and reds! 

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