Which are the best wine fridges for wine bars and restaurants?
The features of a wine fridge necessary to work well in a wine bar or restaurant are quite different from the features customers look for from home wine fridges. Commercial wine fridges have different demands and are typically used for wine service meaning the temperatures have to be accurate for the service of red and white wine and Champagne as well as the wine fridge itself needing to be very durable with the door being opened and closed hundreds of times per day Vs a few times a week for home use.
Today we're going to look at which are the most important features for commercial wine fridges being used in bars and restaurants and recommend some brands that are ideal for commercial use.
What's important about a wine bar's wine fridge?
Optimal Temperature Control:
- Temperature is the keystone of wine storage. Commercial wine fridges must feature precise temperature control to accommodate the diverse range of wines typically found in such establishments. Dual or multiple temperature zones are essential to store reds and whites at their ideal serving temperatures.
Ample Capacity and Storage Flexibility:
- A commercial wine fridge should be spacious enough to house an extensive and varied wine selection. Adjustable and versatile shelving systems are crucial to accommodate bottles of different sizes and shapes, allowing for a curated and dynamic wine list.
- Maintaining the right humidity level is imperative for the long-term storage of wines. A commercial wine fridge should incorporate humidity control features to prevent corks from drying out and compromising the wine's integrity.
- Exposure to UV light can be detrimental to wine quality. Commercial wine fridges must be equipped with UV-protected glass doors or solid doors to shield the bottles from harmful light, preserving the wine's flavors and aromas.
Low Vibration Technology:
- Vibrations can disturb the sediment in wine and accelerate the aging process. For commercial settings, it's crucial to invest in wine fridges with low vibration technology, ensuring that wines age gracefully and maintain their intended characteristics.
- In a commercial environment, where appliances are in constant use, energy efficiency is paramount. Look for wine fridges with low energy use to bottle ratios to find the best deal.
Security and Access Control:
- Commercial establishments deal with a high volume of foot traffic. Therefore, wine fridges should feature security measures such as lockable doors and access controls to protect the valuable contents from unauthorised handling.
Durability and Build Quality:
- Commercial wine fridges are subjected to frequent use and demand a robust build. Choose models with high-quality materials, sturdy construction, and reliable compressors to withstand the rigors of a bustling commercial environment.
Easy Maintenance and Cleaning:
- Cleaning and maintaining a commercial wine fridge should be a straightforward process. Removable shelves, easily accessible filters, and minimal nooks and crannies facilitate regular upkeep and ensure a hygienic storage environment for wines.
Aesthetics and Brand Integration:
- The wine fridge should seamlessly integrate into the overall aesthetic of the commercial space. Some brands offer customisable options, allowing businesses to brand the fridge with their logo or choose a design that complements the establishment's interior.
What types of wine fridges are used commercially?
Undercounter wine fridges are frequently used for open bottles under a bar or behind a bar for wines by the glass and tall, freestanding wine fridges and wine cabinets are often used as centre pieces where wine by the bottle is kept. Many busy bars and restaurants will need both.
Single-Zone Wine Fridges:
- Characteristics: Single-zone wine fridges maintain a consistent temperature throughout the entire unit, making them ideal for establishments that primarily focus on one type of wine, either red or white.
- Suitability: Perfect for wine bars with a more specialized selection or those looking to emphasise either reds or whites in their offerings.
Dual-Zone Wine Fridges:
- Characteristics: Dual-zone wine fridges feature two separate compartments with distinct temperature controls. This allows for the simultaneous storage of both red and white wines at their respective ideal temperatures.
- Suitability: Ideal for wine bars with a diverse wine list, as it caters to the needs of different varietals and ensures each glass is served at the perfect temperature.
Built-In Wine Fridges:
- Characteristics: Built-in wine fridges are designed to seamlessly integrate into the existing cabinetry or layout of the wine bar. They often feature a front venting system for efficient installation.
- Suitability: Perfect for wine bars with a specific aesthetic vision, as built-in fridges can be customised to complement the overall design of the establishment.
Freestanding Wine Fridges:
- Characteristics: Freestanding wine fridges are standalone units that can be placed anywhere within the wine bar. They are versatile and easy to install, typically with a stylish exterior.
- Suitability: Ideal for wine bars that value flexibility in terms of layout and design, allowing for easy relocation and rearrangement of the wine storage area.
Under-Counter Wine Fridges:
- Characteristics: Under-counter wine fridges are designed to fit seamlessly beneath countertops or bars, maximising space efficiency while ensuring easy access to bottles.
- Suitability: Ideal for wine bars with limited floor space, under-counter fridges offer a sleek and organised solution for storing and serving wines.
- Characteristics: Wine cellars, or walk-in wine storage rooms, provide a comprehensive solution for large wine collections. They often feature specialized humidity and temperature control systems.
- Suitability: Perfect for high-end wine bars or those with an extensive and valuable wine collection, wine cellars create an immersive experience for patrons who appreciate rare and aged wines.
Countertop Wine Fridges:
- Characteristics: Countertop wine fridges are compact units that can be placed on countertops or bars. They are often chosen for their portability and ease of use.
- Suitability: Ideal for smaller wine bars or establishments with a limited wine-by-the-glass selection, countertop fridges offer convenience without sacrificing quality.
Which brand of wine fridge are the best for wine bars and restaurants?
For undercounter use then we recommend Vestfrost wine fridges as opened bottles can be stored here, the warranty is long and the temperatures are held at a consistent range. They are not as attractive as other brands perhaps but are energy efficient and reliable so great for wine bar the glass undercounter or behind the bar.
For a visually attractive and temperature accurate wine fridge then the EuroCave wine fridges or Swisscave brand are really stunning centerpieces and are trusted by Michelin star restaurants and fine wine bars throughout the UK from The Maine to Gordon Ramsay's wine bar to our own chain of wine bars and wine shops in London.
Key features to consider for a restaurant wine fridge
- Lock and key - depending on the value of your wines and their access by the public you may want to ensure your wine fridge has a lock and key.
- Winter system - if you're storing your wine fridges in a kitchen or basement you may want to ensure the wine fridge has the ability to gently warm as well as cool your wines. If the ambient temperature has the possibility of falling below the set temperature this could be a good idea.
- Display shelving and or/telescopic shelves - nothing slows down service more than pulling out bottle after bottle of wine from rows stacked on top of one another. A wine fridge with ample shelving and the ability to see the labels through the glass door will save many hours of staff time.
Need help choosing a commercial wine fridge?
We've helped hundreds of bars and restaurants throughout the UK find the ideal wine fridge for their circumstances. Contact us via live chat or visit us in store to talk through your commercial wine fridge needs.