Of all the new options in refrigeration, beverage centers or wine storage are popping up most frequently in kitchens.
Beverage centers feature racks and shelving designed for a variety of drinks and containers, from boxes of juices to cans of soda or beer to bottles of water or wine. They can be freestanding or built-in, and also come in outdoor models. Undercounter sizes are the most common. Prices range from $200 to nearly $3,000.
Beer lovers can choose a beverage dispenser or "kegerator" for their bar or kitchen. The outdoor versions are typically built-in stainless steel models, but indoor beverage dispensers often accept custom panels for an integrated look. Depending on their size, kegerators will hold either standard kegs (half barrels) or smaller "pony" kegs (quarter barrels). Twin or even triple taps are optional.
If you crave draft beer in smaller portions, try a smaller, countertop beverage dispenser. These typically hold 5-liter "mini" kegs.
Wine chillers-also known as wine cabinets, wine cellars, wine coolers, wine refrigerators, or wine reserves-are, as the names imply, designed specifically for wine. These appliances can be freestanding or built-in models, fit under the counter, sit on top of the counter, or stand as tall as the refrigerator.The most basic wine refrigerators hold just six to 12 bottles of wine, fit on the countertop, and cost from $60 to $200. A freestanding wine cooler that holds 16 to 24 bottles runs from $150 to $250.
More serious wine drinkers can choose an undercounter model that fits a standard base-cabinet depth of 24 inches. Especially popular for islands, peninsulas, butler's pantries and other gathering areas, these chillers range from 15 to 24 inches wide, hold from 28 to 58 bottles, and cost anywhere from $200 to more than $3,000. Connoisseurs in need of more storage can consider long and low or tall and narrow wine cellars. Storing from 68 to 166 bottles, these chillers are about the size of a regular refrigerator and cost from $600 to nearly $8,000.
Features Worth Having
- To show off your collection, choose a glass-front chiller with ultraviolet light protection and interior lighting.
- Stainless steel and black are the most common colors. More expensive models often have a variety of colors or accept custom panels for an integrated look.
- A cooling system with multiple zones can store different types of wine at the appropriate temperatures.
- Full-extension shelves allow you to store bottles securely on their sides and to remove individual bottles without disturbing the rest.