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Choosing the Right Wine Cabinet or Wine Appliance (Refrigerator)

Table of Contents:


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Choosing a Wine Cabinet

Woods and Stains 
R Factor
Construction
Hinges
Racking
Glass Doors
Venting
Cooling
Warranty
Shipping

Choosing a Wine Refrigerator (Wine Cooler)

Aging Wine 
Wine Storage Basics
Can I Store My Wine in a Standard Refrigerator?
What Size Unit Should I Buy?
Difference Between Long Term and Short Term Storage?
Compressor vs. Thermoelectric
Free-standing vs. Built-in Wine Refrigerators
Which Series or Brand is Right for Me?

Wine Cabinets

A wine cabinet is an important investment and it is vital for the protection of your collection that you make a sound choice. Vinotemp has been building wine cabinets in Southern California for over 30 years. You’ll find that quality and experience shining through in every cabinet we sell.

Woods and Stains

As a factory, we offer an option of colors. Because finish seems to go with fashion, some stains are used more often than others. For economies of scale we have standard colors, as well as semi-custom and custom finishes per line.

E Line Series Wine Cabinets

The E Line wine cabinets are available in 3 different laminates:

  • Latitude West
  • Latitude East
  • Boardwalk

Our E-Line series of wine cabinets are made of technical veneer, a popular material that allows for greater creative flexibility of design. Technical veneer lends a whole new architectural feel to the cabinets we produce and can mimic the appearance of steel, wood or even textures such as cement.

Reserve Series Wine Cabinets

Reserve Series wine cabinets are available in a variety of stains:

  • Natural
  • Dark Cherry
  • Black Walnut
  • Dark Walnut
  • Natural
  • Jet Black
  • Rich Brown
  • Victorian Mahogany

The Reserve series is mostly white oak which allows for lighter colors/stains, whereas darker wood types have trouble achieving a lighter colored stain or finish.

Sonoma Series Wine Cabinets

Sonoma Series wine cabinets are available in the following stains:

  • Cherry
  • Rustic Cherry
  • Vintage Cherry

Sonoma Series cabinets feature a Cherry wood exterior with the 3 options of stain/paint. We chose Cherry for its natural warm red tint.

PLEASE NOTE: The stain colors noted are the stain colors not the type of wood but the color that is applied on top of the wood.

We changed our staining system to Low VOC and water based formula.
 

 
Click image to see full-size color options of some of the wood stains we make. (Please remember that colors may look different on your monitor or other wood types.)

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R Factor

The insulation used in building our wine cabinets is foil-covered polyisocyanurate foam with an R-Value of 7.2 – the best insulation on the market. Our wine cabinets have 1.5 inches of insulation, and the total R-Value of our cabinet walls is between an 11 and 12 R factor. All the seams are sealed to create an airtight environment inside our wine cabinets. For units that will be placed in the garage or basement, extra insulation is available. Remember to use the appropriate cooling unit if your cabinet will be placed in a non-interior environment.  

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Construction

The materials we use in building and finishing Vinotemp wine cabinets are the best in the industry in every category. Additionally, they are constructed to age gracefully over time. For example, we have had our Louis unit (Reserve Series) mistaken for an antique cabinet.

As mentioned above, the better your wine cabinet is insulated and sealed, the more years of trouble-free operation your cooling system will provide. It is also important to have proper ventilation and to clean out any dust build up on a regular basis. Routine cleaning will prolong the life of your cabinet and its cooling system.

Vinotemp’s E Line Series of cabinets is perfect if you’re placing the unit in a basement or garage, while the Reserve line is great for placement in very visible locations of the home. The Sonoma and Alder lines make a beautiful showpiece. Our glass door units include double-paned glass which can artistically display your wine while protecting it, with better insulation and UV protection. For increased insulation Argo filled gas can be provided.

Most Vinotemp wine cabinets are constructed from white oak wood, glass and insulation materials. Standard features include premium wood, hardwood door trims, double-pane tinted glass windows, the quality insulation, and sealed seams throughout the wine cabinet.

After more than 30 years in the business, we have distributed over a million units to happy customers, many repeat customers and referrals.



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Hinges

Vinotemp is the only company that offers a variety of hinges including continuous, hidden, frameless, cabinet, refrigerator, and concealed hinges. Depending on the design of your wine cabinet, we will recommend a specific hinge to ensure the doors of your cabinet are properly supported and sealed. While most units use continuous hinges, Vinotemp uses refrigerator hinges made of steel on our Sonoma Series of cabinets and varied hinges such as concealed hinges in the Reserve Series. Depending on the design of the cabinet, continuous hinges could be used to better support the doors.

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Racking

We offer a variety of choices of wine racking for our cabinets: all Redwood, cellar trellis (redwood and powder coated metal), or wood and aluminum racking. None of our racking is glued. Each cabinet series has its own standard racking; wood and aluminum racking for the E-Line Series, Redwood and aluminum for our Reserve Series, and all Redwood for our Sonoma Series. Over the past 30 years, our Cellar Trellis racks have prevented many bottles from breaking during California earthquakes. The bottles rest on the wood in these cellar trellis cubicles. It should also be noted that upgrading to all-Redwood racking reduces the capacity if bottle capacity is a concern. Any of our cabinets can be customized to the type of racking you desire.

If you prefer a modern/minimal aesthetic, Vinotemp offers all metal racking including peg, pin, pole, as well as Vinotemp's exclusive Zero-G Gravity Racks that utilize a stainless pole to support acrylic or wood posts.

Cubicle racking comes in a variety of sizes. Universal racking with 3 3/4-inch cubicles will hold most sizes of wine bottle; most Vinotemp cabinets come standard with universal racking. For maximum storage capacity, the traditional 3 3/8 size is also available. However, with new vineyards and odd bottle sizes we recommend the larger size (3 3/4) or even 4-inch racking for those with a lot of champagne storage needs. Unlike most of our competitors, Vinotemp racking will be customized specifically for your storage needs. If desired, we can design your cabinet with three different sections, each with its own cubicle size. Also, the very top of the cabinet can be useful for miscellaneous bottles, boxed champagne, fine chocolates, cigars or whatever else you can think of.

Our wood racks are constructed from unsealed wood which is preferred inside wine cabinets because wood sealing agents can damage the wine. The first choice in the type of wood that should be used inside a wine cabinet is Redwood. Redwood is rare and now very expensive to the manufacturer, so you will see it being used less and less by other wine cabinet manufacturers. Our E-Line Series racking uses wood that has similar properties to Redwood; it is a mildew resistant, unfinished soft wood.



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Glass Doors

Vinotemp uses high quality glass in our cabinet doors.  We also offer racking to cover the Wine-Mate cooling system to hide it from view.

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Venting

Unlike the competition, Vinotemp wine cabinets can be configured to your exact needs. Wine cabinets need clearance space in whatever direction the exhaust is venting. Our rear exhaust wine cabinets require at least six inches of space between the wall and the wine cabinet in order for the cooling system to operate properly. Top-vent cooling systems need 10-12 inches of clearance above the cabinet. Our front-venting wine cabinets can be completely built in with beautiful hand made wood louvers then the back of the cabinet can be placed right up against the wall. Any Vinotemp cabinet can easily be converted to vent from the rear, top, sides or front to best accommodate the environment you need it for. With Vinotemp, you have the choice!

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Cooling

Vinotemp wine cabinets feature custom Wine-Mate cooling systems that use electronic temperature control and have digital displays, thereby allowing you to precisely set the desired temperature inside your wine cabinet. Wine-Mate cooling systems are forced-air systems (as opposed to cold wall cooling systems). Forced air cooling units generally have lower temperature fluctuations and higher humidity levels than cold wall systems. They also tend to have less maintenance needs.

Made in the USA, Wine-Mate was the first UL-approved cooling unit for wine cabinets on the market. UL is the trusted source across the globe for product compliance. A UL symbol gives you reassurance, that the electrical inspectors approved the design of your unit.

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Warranty

We stand behind our wine cabinets with one of the best warranties in the industry. Each wine cabinet is backed by a five-year warranty on the compressor and a one-year warranty on parts and the cabinet.

Our standard cooling units plug into standard wall outlets, and draw 3 amps of power (4 amps for the 2500 cooling unit). Extension cords used should be 14-gauge and grounded.

Please refer to the owner’s manual available in the Owner's Manual section.

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Shipping

We generally ship our wine cabinets between 3 days to 6 weeks (depending on the unit) from the time we receive your order. Once shipped, it will take 7-10 working days for your cabinet to be delivered. When your wine cabinet arrives in your local market, the local delivery agent will call you at least 24 hours in advance to schedule your delivery. Vinotemp wine cabinets are delivered Preassembled, minimizing the setup effort and expertise necessary on your part. You are only responsible for ensuring that sufficient access exists for the cabinet to reach its final location.

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Choosing a Wine Cooler

Wine is delicate and needs to be stored properly to ensure its flavors and aromas can reach their full potential. Stored improperly, and a bottle may quickly spoil. 

A wine refrigerator can be the perfect home for your collection. Below you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about storing wine and why a wine refrigerator may be the perfect storage solution for you.

Aging Wine

Only about 1% of wine being sold on the modern market is meant to be cellared. One way to gauge whether or not your wine falls into the elite 1% is its price; if you paid $30 or less, your wine was made to be enjoyed in the near future (within a few months or up to 3 years). Do not fret, if you are not ready to uncork your bottle today, storing it properly in a wine refrigerator will preserve it until you are ready to enjoy a glass.

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Storage Basics

Cooler temperatures are key, but not too cool. Storing wine anywhere with a temperature above 70°F will age it rapidly. If the temperature rises higher, you may potentially cook your wine, causing it to lose its flavors and aromas. Conversely, if the temperature is too cold, wine may freeze, causing the liquid inside the bottle to form ice particles, pushing out the cork. A desirable temperature range is between 45°F and 65°F, the “perfect” temperature being 55°F.

Steady temperature is important. Temperature fluctuations are a big “no-no” when it comes to wine storage. Swinging from a cold location to hot causes wine to expand and contract, which means the wine may push out the cork or contract and cause seepage from a dried-out cork. The cork needs to stay moist to maintain a seal.

Light is wine’s enemy. UV rays can prematurely age wine. This is why most vintners opt for colored glass bottles that protect their wine from light. A lightbulb will not age wine, but could potentially fade wine labels if they are exposed for extended periods of time. Since fluorescent bulbs emit a small amount of ultraviolet light, an incandescent bulb or LED light is a safer option.

Humidity is important, but not mandatory. Dry air will dry out the cork of a wine bottle, causing air to sneak in and spoil the wine. If you are storing bottles for 10 years or more, then you do want to maintain an ideal humidity level of 70%. Safe range is between 50-80% humidity, which is achievable in most climates by simply placing a pan of water inside the storage area. Conversely, if there is too much humidity and the cellar becomes damp, mold can begin to form.

Store bottles on their side. Rest bottles on their side for the long term to ensure that the liquid inside the bottle keeps the cork moist. Storing bottles horizontally is also more space efficient. If a bottle is already open, you should store the bottle upright to prevent spillage as most wine stoppers are not perfectly air tight.

The less vibration, the better. In theory, vibrations in the storage area will damage the wine by causing unwanted chemical reactions, thus aging the wine more quickly. Significant vibrations could kick up sediment in older wines, causing them to have a dirty or gritty flavor. Vibration is not as important if you’re storing the wine short term, however, you still want to avoid moving the bottles too often.

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Can I Store My Wine in a Standard Refrigerator?

No. There are several reasons why you want to avoid storing your wine in a standard refrigerator:

In order to keep your food safe for consumption, a standard refrigerator is set between 32-40°F. While this will keep your juice and milk at the ideal temperature, it is far too cold for wine, which is best stored between 45-65°F.

Your refrigerator is too busy --- if you have an active household, your refrigerator door is more than likely opening and closing constantly. All this activity may cause unwanted vibrations that are harmful to wine.

Food has a distinctive odor that may penetrate the cork of your wine and cause it to have an unpleasant taste.

Standard refrigerators are designed to cool rapidly and decrease humidity, whereas a wine refrigerator maintains humidity and lowers temperature gradually.

One thing that standard refrigerators and wine refrigerators do have in common is they run on compressors. However, the compressors used in wine refrigerators have a unique design that absorbs any vibration caused by the compressor.

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What Size Unit Should I Buy?

First, ask yourself the following questions:

1. How much space do I have for the wine refrigerator?

2. Will I be placing the unit under a counter, on top of a counter, or free-standing?

3. How large is my current wine collection? How much wine do I plan to buy in the future?

We recommend that you select a wine refrigerator with the storage capacity for 20-55% more wine than what you have on hand. You’ll have sufficient room for your collection to grow and have enough wine on hand to entertain.

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Difference Between Long Term and Short Term Storage?

Some experts define long term wine storage as anything over 6 months and short term as anything less than 5 years. At Vinotemp, we define long term storage as anything over 1-3 years and short term as anything less than 3 years.

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Compressor vs. Thermoelectric

The chart below shows a comparison of the 2 different kinds of wine refrigerators. One kind is not necessarily better than the other. Your personal preference, budget, and the needs of your collection will be important factors that help you choose which kind of cooler is best for you.

  Compressor Thermoelectric
Cost* Higher purchase cost, lower operation cost. Lower purchase cost, higher operation cost.
Temperature Able to reach colder temperatures and adapt to changes in ambient temperature. Coldest temperature achievable is approx. 20 degrees cooler t han ambient temperature.
Capacity Able to cool a larger collection. Perfect for smaller collections.
Noise  Sound comparable to standard food refrigerator (compressor cycles on and off to cool, more moving parts).  Whisper quiet due to fewer moving parts.
Installation  Variety of installations. Units with front exhaust can be recessed into cabinetry. Units with rear exhaust are for free-standing installation only.  Units have rear exhaust and are for free-standing installations only.
Ecological Impact  Contains refrigerant. Must be disposed of using proper precautions.  Contains no harmful substances or emissions. Proper precautions must still be taken when disposing of a thermoelectric appliance.
*Operation cost is largely dependent on the size of the cooler and the number of bottles stored.

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Free-standing vs. Built-in Wine Refrigerators

Free-standing. If a unit is specified as free-standing, this means that it should not be recessed into cabinetry. Its exhaust is located at the rear of the unit and in order to operate properly, it requires ample space to “breathe”. You can learn more about the specific installation requirements of free-standing units by referring to the helpful guide linked below.

View the Free-Standing Installation Guide >>

Built-in. If a unit is built-in, this means that the refrigerator can be recessed into cabinetry while still following specific clearance guidelines to ensure it exhausts properly. Guidelines on how to install a built-in unit are provided here while unique installation instructions specific to your wine refrigerator can be found in its manual.

View the Built-In Installation Guide >>

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Which Series or Brand is Right for Me?

Element by Vinotemp

Element by Vinotemp offers stylish, economical, space-saving storage and serving solutions for both residential and commercial use.

 

Connoisseur Series

Mirrored Series

Butler Series

Eco Series

Portofino

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Description

Element by Vinotemp’s most distinctive line features sturdy wine racking with stainless lip, sleek curved handles, honeycomb front exhaust, seamless/stainless steel doors, and compressor cooling.

A unique series featuring mirrored trim doors, a variety of installations from free-standing to built-in, thermoelectric and compressor based cooling.

Element by Vinotemp’s largest series comes in a wide variety of styles, black or stainless, compressor based cooling, free-standing or built-in.

An eco-conscious series that does not use CFCs or HCFCs. Available in a variety of colors. Variety of installations --- counter top or floor. Single-zone or dual-zone.

Furniture style wine coolers that are perfect for the living or dining room.

Price Point

Starting at $1099

Starting at $179

Starting at $259

Starting at $139

Starting at $730

Storage Capacity

28-155 bottles

6-50+ bottles

15-165 bottles

2-48 bottles

18-300 bottles

 

Vinotemp

Maintaining a higher standard of aesthetics, wine refrigerators by Vinotemp are an effective collaboration between form and function.

 

Designer Series

Private Reserve

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Description

Vinotemp’s most exclusive series features high-end details that will elevate your wine collection. French key with lock, curved or pole handles, seamless/stainless door frame, charcoal filter (for humidity and odor control), Low E glass (UV protection), smooth gliding racks or tempered glass shelves are all included in this collection.

 

Unique storage solutions for smaller collections starting at 7 bottles. Includes the new Panel-Ready series that allows you to attach panels to the door that match surrounding cabinetry.

Price Point

Starting at $1499

Starting at $699

Storage Capacity

24-300 bottles

7-24 bottles

 

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Conclusion

Whether storing 6 bottles or 300, Vinotemp and Element by Vinotemp offer a variety of wine refrigerators that make it easy to store your wine stylishly and efficiently.

Please contact us if you have any further questions. Our wine storage experts are happy to help!

1-800-777-VINO or info@vinotemp.com

 

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