Can I store cheese in a wine fridge?

When it comes to the world of culinary delights, few things evoke the senses as harmoniously as the combination of wine and cheese. Both revered for their intricate flavours and aging processes, wine and cheese share a deep connection that goes beyond the plate and glass. As any connoisseur would know, proper storage is paramount for preserving their individual and collective qualities. Enter the wine fridge – a versatile appliance designed primarily for wines, but increasingly recognised as an excellent option for storing cheese. In this exploration of the art and science behind storing cheese in a wine fridge, we delve into the optimal conditions, benefits, and considerations for this dynamic pairing.


The Science of Preservation: Optimal Conditions

Wine fridges, also known as wine coolers or wine cabinets, are designed to create an environment that mimics the ideal conditions for storing wine – a controlled temperature, humidity level, and absence of light and vibrations. These factors are equally essential when it comes to storing cheese. Unlike regular kitchen refrigerators, which are usually set to lower temperatures and drier environments, wine fridges offer a range of temperatures more suitable for both wine and cheese preservation. Wine and cheese have been stored together in cellars for centuries, wine fridges mimic these exact conditions.

1. Temperature: Cheese thrives at temperatures slightly higher than those commonly found in conventional refrigerators, usually around 7 to 13°C. A wine fridge's adjustable temperature settings allow you to find the sweet spot that caters to the specific cheeses you're storing. Soft and semi-soft cheeses prefer the higher end of this spectrum, while harder cheeses thrive at the lower end.

2. Humidity: The humidity levels in a wine fridge are generally higher than those in a regular refrigerator, but they can also be adjusted. Cheese requires a certain level of humidity to prevent it from drying out or becoming too moist. Ideally, you'd want to maintain humidity levels between 70% and 90% to ensure the cheeses retain their texture and flavour.

3. Light and Vibrations: Both wine and cheese are sensitive to light and vibrations. Wine fridges are designed to minimise these factors to ensure the delicate chemical reactions that occur during aging aren't disrupted. This aspect is especially crucial for artisanal cheeses, which undergo complex biochemical changes as they mature.


Benefits of Using a Wine Fridge for Cheese Storage

Temperature Control: As mentioned earlier, the ability to fine-tune the temperature settings of a wine fridge makes it an ideal candidate for cheese storage. Different types of cheeses require slightly varying temperature ranges, and wine fridges offer the flexibility to accommodate this diversity.

Optimal Humidity: Maintaining proper humidity levels is pivotal for preserving the texture and flavour of cheeses. Wine fridges excel in this area due to their humidity controls, ensuring that your cheese doesn't dry out or become overly moist.

Preserving Flavour Profiles: Cheese, like wine, develops its unique flavour profile over time. The controlled environment of a wine fridge helps prevent cross-contamination of flavours, allowing each cheese to mature and express its distinct characteristics fully.

Space Efficiency: Wine fridges come in various sizes, making them suitable for a range of spaces. If you're limited on kitchen or storage area, a wine fridge can provide a dedicated and organised space for your cheese collection.


Considerations for Storing Cheese in a Wine Fridge

While wine fridges are a remarkable option for cheese storage, a few considerations should be kept in mind:

Odour Management: Cheese has a strong aroma that can easily transfer to other items in the fridge. It's advisable to keep strongly scented cheeses in airtight containers or cheese paper to prevent odor diffusion.

Cheese Variety: While wine fridges are versatile, not all cheeses will thrive in the same temperature and humidity conditions. It's essential to research and group your cheeses according to their requirements.

Rotation and Monitoring: Just like with wine, regular monitoring and rotation are key to ensuring your cheeses mature evenly and optimally. Regularly check for mold growth or changes in texture.

Wine and Cheese Coexistence: If you're using the wine fridge for both wine and cheese, be mindful of their compatibility. Some cheeses might release odors that could affect the wine's taste, so consider designating separate compartments if possible.

In conclusion, the harmonious relationship between wine and cheese extends to their storage needs, and a wine fridge provides an excellent solution to meet these requirements. By offering precise temperature and humidity controls, wine fridges allow you to curate a cheese collection that matures gracefully, revealing a myriad of complex flavours and textures. Whether you're a casual enthusiast or an avid aficionado, the marriage of a wine fridge and cheese storage creates a symphony of tastes and aromas that truly elevates the culinary experience. So, as you explore the world of gastronomy, remember that the journey doesn't stop at the plate or the glass – it extends to the careful curation of the perfect pairing, encapsulated within the controlled embrace of a wine fridge.

Which wine fridges are good for storing cheese?

When it comes to cheese storage it's better to choose a freestanding wine fridge with 1) A solid door 2) a carbon filter for fresh aromas 3) internal fresh air circulation 4) wide gaps between shelving as many cheeses are taller than wine bottles are wide once laid down. A wine cabinet, like a Swisscave, Climadiff or Liebherr make the best cheese storage units that were made as wine cabinets. 

There are many extras that come with wine fridges that you do not need if you are storing cheese. Firstly, locks and connectivity apps are great for wine fridges but optional extras not needed when storing cheese. Secondly, adjustable LED lighting, whilst bottles can be attractive and wine fridges are often glass fronted, it is less common to want to display cheese as they are generally less expensive and sought after and lastly a dual zone wine fridge is not necessary if maturing or storing cheese.

If you'd like a recommendation of which wine fridge to choose for your particular cheese storage needs then please contact us at our London store or via live chat or phone.

Sarah newton

Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.