Wine Cellar Blog

Wine Cellars and Wine Refrigerators Are Not Created Equal

There is a common misconception that wine cellars and wine refrigerators can be used interchangeably. It is true that in a handful of circumstances, wine lovers can utilize cellars and refrigerators similarly. However, wine cellars are the best option for long-term storage and aging of most wine for three primary reasons: humidity, size, and versatility. But first, let’s explore the difference between them.

Wine Cellar

A wine cellar is a dedicated space for the long-term storage and aging of wine. Despite its name, a wine cellar can be under a set of stairs or even a renovated closet. Wine cellars are insulated to keep moisture out and cool air in to preserve the wine collection.

Wine cellars or wine rooms are also used in conjunction with a climate-controlled solution. These solutions are designed to maintain a consistent temperature between 55°F and 57°F (12°C and 14°C) and between 50% and 70% relative humidity (RH). If there is too much humidity, it can cause the wine labels and corks to degrade. On the other hand, not enough can result in cracked corks and the evaporation of the wine. Whether there is too much or not enough humidity, it can spoil the quality, aroma, and taste of wine. 

Lastly, wine cellars are equipped with racking systems that keep several hundred to thousands of bottles of wine impervious to vibrations, which are harmful to wine when storing it for a long period of time. Typically, wine cellars are intended for dark spaces to keep out natural light. Light can jeopardize the quality of wine and can cause temperature fluctuations.

Wine Refrigerators

A wine refrigerator—also referred to as a wine cooler—maintains a consistent temperature. However, this temperature is well below the desired range for aging wine and is more conducive to storing wine at serving temperature.

Additionally, most wine refrigerators do not control humidity. Therefore, these appliances are best to house wine that will be consumed relatively quickly. These units usually range from the size of an under-counter refrigerator to several doors wide.

Many wine coolers come with racking systems to keep collections stable. Others only offer shelving. Higher-quality wine fridges come with dual-paned glass doors or are equipped with a UV protective coating to keep out light.

Some wine refrigerators are available with humidity control. However, there are only a handful of models that house more than 100 bottles of wine. In addition, wine coolers are not customizable to fit a space. Instead, the home, restaurant, or business must have room to store a wine refrigerator.

The Final Verdict

A wine refrigerator with humidity control is the perfect solution for wine lovers with a modest collection and who are on a budget. Meanwhile, wine aficionados that are amassing vintages that are meant to be aged, need a customized wine cellar with a high-quality climate control solution. Wine Guardian systems bring commercial-grade temperature and humidity control to applications of any size. They are adaptable to meet even the most challenging design requirements while maintaining pristine conditions for the long term.