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This image shows a red wine glass.

How you store your wine really depends on how quickly you plan to consume it, for many of us that means coming home and putting it in the refrigerator, or perhaps on the table to serve that evening. If you plan to keep wine around for a while, or maybe start a small collection of your favorite vintages, then a wine refrigerator is a good investment. A wine refrigerator is an economical way to store a small wine collection as it offers consistent temperatures and allows the bottles to be stored on their sides in a compact enclosure that minimizes light exposure.

There are two common cooling systems used in wine refrigeration units. The vapor compression system, which is commonly used on your household refrigerator, and the thermoelectric system.

The vapor compression system cycles a liquid refrigerant through a compressor where the refrigerant is compressed to form a vapor and then re-condensed as the heat is removed. As the liquid cools and condenses it moves through coils where a fan blows air across them, keeping the air cold. The cold air is then returned to the refrigerator, where it maintains the required temperature. These units can maintain consistent temperatures in all climates.

If long-term storage is your goal then you may want to avoid any vibration and leave the sediment undisturbed. The second cooling method is a thermoelectric system. This is an energy efficient and vibration-free option. This method utilizes electrical energy to move heat from one side of a surface to another. It is continually moving heat away from the area required to be kept cool. These units do not work well above 80°F and do not cool much below 50°F, they also do not function well in areas with excessively variable temperatures.

When choosing a wine refrigerator keep these two cooling methods in mind and decide which best suits your requirements. The vapor compression system may be a cheaper unit now, but the long term operation cost may pay for the difference. Storage location can also play a factor, if the unit will be in the uninsulated garage then the thermoelectric should be avoided.

A wine refrigerator allows you the option to store your wine until that special occasion, choose your unit wisely and you will be sure to have good wine for many years to come.