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I'm deciding whether to buy a wine chiller for my apartment, maybe this one. I could only realistically keep it on top of my refrigerator. The alternative would be to keep wine in my fridge (the temperature in my apartment often gets into the 80s which I understand to be unacceptable). People who take wine very seriously do not recommend keeping wine in the fridge for three reasons:

  1. A standard kitchen refrigerator is too cold (35-38°F vs 45-60°F)
  2. The motor in the refrigerator makes everything vibrate too much
  3. Refrigerators are dry (30% humidity), whereas wine likes 70-90% humidity.

I need to know which of these actually matter for a casual wine drinker like myself. A wine chiller will address #1 for me (though I might get one that offers only a single temperature rather than separate from reds and whites) but I could also see keeping my wine in my regular refrigerator or giving up entirely. Unfortunately a wine chiller doesn't fix #2 for me since the chiller would be on top of my fridge.

Which of these three concerns, if any, should I actually be worried about?

BTW, the wine may wait around for a period of months before it gets drunk.

  • This depends largely on how long do you store your wine, if you plan to make a collection and store it for 10+ years the vibration probably can render it worse than cellar-stored, but personally I didn't noticed anything bad in wine that was stored at +5°C for 2 years in the fridge. Though I eventually installed the wine chiller as it's more handy - you don't need to warm the bottle before drink and it doesn't occupy fridge space. – Eugene Petrov Jul 2 '15 at 7:43
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    By the way I've contacted Samsung to ask about max weight and load points of my fridge and they replied that the top of the fridge must be kept clear because of controller board cooling and it is not able to carry any load. So I had to install a shelf above the fridge. (wood blocks are just a safety measure, not loaded at all) – Eugene Petrov Jul 2 '15 at 9:56
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For a few months I would really not worry too much about your storage, half a year at 80F is not going to destroy your wine. If you have the space in your fridge then that is a better option, but I doubt even the most dedicated wine snob would be able to tell much of a difference.

Humidity only matters if you have wine with traditional corks as low humidity will dry them out and spoil the wine, if you are buying twist caps and synthetic corks then humidity is not a consideration. A few months in low humidity should not result in cork drying, but year will.

Vibration used to be a problem with older fridges, most newer fridges are pretty quiet and low vibration so I wouldn't worry there, especially for shorter term storage.

Colder temperatures for storage will not cause a noticeable effect on wine's flavor over a few months, you'll want to let it warm up some for the best flavor though. Storing an opened bottle of wine in the fridge is a good idea in fact, as it will keep it drinkable longer.

So unless you are buying expensive wine to keep for a long time you should be fine no matter which option you choose.

  • Little addition about humidity - it will affect cork much slower if bottles are stored horizontally, the 2 year bottle was showing no signs of cork drying in super dry no-frost fridge, also I have petraia 1999 which was about 4 years in the fridge and laying in the chiller now, I did not open the cap to check, but no leakage till now. – Eugene Petrov Jul 2 '15 at 9:18
  • Good point on storing it sideways. – GdD Jul 2 '15 at 9:25

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