Why column fridges are the perfect way to store wine
Paying attention to humidity will protect your bottles
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If you're a wine connoisseur looking to keep your bottles well protected and at their proper temperatures, and you don't have a column refrigerator yet, you've probably started seeing them pop up in your research. Column refrigerators are trending and gradually spreading beyond the luxury and industry markets and into more and more homes—especially the homes of oenophiles.
What is a column refrigerator?
A column refrigerator is a bit of a loose term, but generally refers to a single-purpose refrigerator that's built into a wall. So a column refrigerator won't have an attached freezer and a column freezer won't have a refrigerator compartment. Since they're meant to be built-in, they're often highly customizable, allowing you to order them to just about any width and layout you desire.
Why choose a column refrigerator over other styles of refrigerator?
Column refrigerators represent the ultimate in refrigerator personalization because they're incredibly customizable. Not only can you select columns of any width, you can opt for models that monitor temperature, humidity, and vibration—three key components for keeping your wine at its best.
What can a column refrigerator do for wine?
A traditional fridge is designed to keep temperatures low and to remove humidity—while this might be great for keeping food from spoiling, it's not the ideal environment for your wine. Wine should be chilled gradually and kept at warmer temperatures than the 40°F a fridge would typically hover around. Proper cellar temperatures are generally 50-55°F. Wine also requires a certain humidity level to ensure proper storage—too humid and mold can set into the cork or ruin the labels; not humid enough and the cork can dry out, causing it to crumble into the bottle when you try to open it, or worse, allowing too much oxygen to seep into the bottle ruining the wine before you're ready to drink it.
Having a separate fridge for your wine is also great for removing other environmental factors. If you're keeping wine in your fridge, any odors from the food you're storing can gradually pervade through the cork and into your wine, giving that Pinot Noir a bit of funky leftover flavor. Not necessarily a great pairing.
Lastly, a column fridge can help mitigate vibration, which can interrupt wine's natural maturation process. Traditional refrigerators use compressors, which is what causes them to hum. Column refrigerators can be built to either use a different technology that doesn't cause those same vibrations or be specially insulated to absorb any vibrations before it can shake up your wine.
Which column refrigerator should you buy?
We took a look at the Frigidaire Professional FPGU19F8TF, a column fridge that really showcases its contents well, with a sleek stainless steel and glass window design. While it can be on the pricey side, we think it's a good example of what you can expect from a column fridge in terms of overall aesthetic, if not in terms of customizability. The Liebherr MRB3000 features a similar showcase design. Other column fridges, like the Sub-Zero IC30RRH or Thermador T30IR900SP have a more traditional door design, for those who don't necessarily want their wines on display.