There is no doubt that the purchase of a wine fridge for any business is always an expensive, long-term investment. Having said that, it is also a reflection of your commitment to serving quality wine to your customers. For a real wine lover, a wine stored incorrectly can affect subtle flavours in the wine and cause the customer to have a poor experience in your establishment.
In the selection of a wine fridge, there are four key areas that need to be addressed in the units you are looking to purchase. These four key areas are capacity, location, temperature and shelving.
Can’t I just use one of my commercial refrigerators?
In a word, NO!
Wine fridges are designed specifically to meet particular requirements for the wine itself – wine fridges mainly control humidity (i.e. the amount of water vapour in the air) keeping it approximately 70% humidity. On top of the humidity difference, the optimal temperature for a wine (depending on variety) is between 12°C and 18°C.
A typical commercial refrigerator won’t be able to accommodate for humidity adjustment to meet the wines’ requirements without sacrificing the humidity required to refrigerate the rest of your fridges’ contents and generally the shelving will not be suitable to house the wines.
Variables that affect wine
There are several variables that can affect the flavour of your wines- light, humidity, temperature, vibration and orientation of the bottle – yes even upright or laying down can make a big difference!
Consistent sunlight or even an incandescent light source can have the potential to react with the carbolic acid compounds in the wine and create a wine fault – a defect that creates an unpleasant characteristic of a wine often resulting from poor storage conditions, and ultimately results in wine spoilage.
Did you know: light-bodied, white wines are the most vulnerable to light exposure? Many white wines are packaged in tinted bottles to offer a small amount of protection from light.
Humidity to some extent is always required otherwise corked wines would have their corks start to dry out. If the cork starts to dry out, then there is a possibility that oxygen can get into the wine bottle which can lead to wine spoilage or even oxidization.
Wine is known to be quite sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. Because of this, temperature control is one of the most important aspects of managing your wine fridge. If the wine is exposed to temperatures greater than 25°C for extended periods of time, this can also lead to wine spoilage and the development of tangy after tastes.
It is recommended that wine be kept at a consistent temperature – between 10°C and 15°C is the optimal range (in general).
While there is very little known about the direct correlation of vibration and its effect on wine, studies have shown that vibration can affect the chemistry of the wine – with the conclusion being that vibration can induce the ageing of the wine or, negatively impact the wines’ quality.
Orientation of the bottle
The majority of wine fridges intend for wine to be stored on its side. The reason that the wines are stored on their sides in the wine fridge is so that the liquid keeps the cork semi-moist and from drying out.
Wine bottle orientation is also argued from the point-of-view of the wines’ ullage. Wines kept at a slight angle can keep the cork moist but also keep the ullage at the top of the bottle, allowing for any gases to pass through the cork and not be expelled through the bottle and potentially disrupt the wine’s chemistry.
An exception to the above is champagne, which has been known to age better when kept upright.
There are generally two types of compressors for a wine fridge; one being what normal refrigerators would use, and the other being a thermoelectric compressor.
While the benefits of both could be argued, put simply, thermoelectric compressors are quieter than normal refrigeration compressors, but do not offer the same competence in cooling your wine – which is one of the most important aspects of your wine fridge.
The next thing to consider when buying your wine fridge is whether you want it to have single or dual zone temperature controls. The advantage of dual zone control in a wine fridge is that you have the ability to maintain two different temperatures – for example, to preserve your white wines and your red wines independently.
Single temperature zone wine fridges are more suitable for a long-term situation, whereas dual zone wine fridges are better for restaurants or other establishments that need their wine at temperature for busy peak periods such as the lunch and dinner rush.
Cabernet or Shiraz
17°C to 19°C
14°C to 16°C
12°C to 13°C
6°C to 8°C
8°C to 10°C
Ensuring your proposed wine fridge has the capacity to store your wine is a big issue. You can roughly calculate how many bottles your wine fridge will hold based on the amount of shelves provided and how many bottles each shelf can support.
Following on from the orientation point made earlier, you may decide to store some bottles upright, which will affect how many bottles your wine fridge will hold.
Have you thought about the location of your wine fridge? Are you looking to have something on display to the public? Will it be kept out of sight in the kitchen area? These are important questions you need to consider for the layout of your kitchen and also the ambient temperature where your wine fridge will be kept – the warmer the environment, the harder your wine fridges’ compressor will have to work to keep your wines at temperature.
Location should take into consider the following:
- The amount of light – sunlight or incandescent entering the room
- The ambient temperature of the proposed area
With shelving in your wine fridge, you can choose from metal shelving or timber shelving – metal however, has the propensity to be more difficult to slide out once the shelf is full and could even damage wine labels or bottles (if this is a concern to you).
Usually, better quality wine fridges contain timber shelving, have good quality sliding mechanisms which not only helps your staff access wine easily but also reduces the risk of wine vibration.
Design of your wine fridge is always in the eye of the beholder – some prefer a sleek, contemporary look while others prefer a vintage retro design and then some people just want the functionality and the exterior of the wine fridge is not a major concern for them.
You can choose from stainless steel exteriors or 100% pine wood exteriors like our Infrico wine fridges (EVV100 and EVV200MX).
Most wine fridges have glass doors to display the wine for the customer and even to assist staff in unnecessarily opening the door (temperature fluctuation). Infrico wine fridges use double-glazed glass for the doors.
In a commercial environment, optional door locks for your wine fridge can be great peace of mind.
Lighting in your wine fridge is also important, something that can highlight your offerings but not spoil your wine in the process. Infrico wine fridges all use LED lighting for this very reason.
About Infrico Wine Refrigerators
Infrico, our core Premium European refrigeration brand, has just released their latest addition to wine fridges with the Vintage Series.
The Infrico Vintage Wine Fridge Series offers the purchaser a unique, retro design with the added advantage of a modern wine fridge interior to ensure your wines are stored in the best possible conditions for your customers.
FAQ for Infrico Wine Refrigerators
- Where are the wine fridges manufactured?
All Infrico products are manufactured out of Lucena, Córdoba, Spain.
- How long has Infrico been operational?
Infrico has been established for over 30 years, operating not only in Spain, but with offices in over 12 countries around the world including the UK, Chile, the US and Australia.
- How many bottles can a Vintage Series cabinet hold?
The single door model (EVV23R1G) has 7 shelves with 6 slots per shelf for a total of 84 full-sized wine bottles. The double door model pictured (EEV49R2G) has 14 shelves in total, with 6 slots per shelf for a total of 168 full-sized wine bottles.
- Are shelves removable?
Adjustable in height and easy to remove.
- What type of lighting is used inside the Infrico wine fridges?
Infrico wine fridges use LED lighting. LED lighting is renowned for being a low wattage and low-heating emitting lighting solution for minimal impact on the wine itself.
- Is there a control panel present on the front of the wine fridge?
All Infrico wine fridges contain a digital display in the top corner of the fridge, and two door models (EVV200MX only) contain one digital display per door for maximum temperature control.
- Who will handle after-sales support for my Infrico wine fridge?
Your wine fridge will be supported by The Frost Group and its service representatives.
- How does the Infrico wine fridge address the issue of vibration?
Wooden shelves inside the wine fridge minimise vibration of the wine during removal from the wine fridge.
- What is the interior of the wine fridge made from?
The interior is made from AISI 304 18/10 stainless steel. The shelves are wooden.