If you love wine (and love to keep a bunch in stock), you might have already invested in a wine refrigerator. These can range from small countertop models that store just a half-dozen bottles or so ($100-$350), to undercounter models that might manage a case or two ($220-$2,500), to a huge full-size fridge that might store more than 150 bottles ($1,000-$4,500).
But like that well-intentioned treadmill purchase, that of a wine fridge may feel a bit ill-considered if you aren’t really that into wine. But don’t despair: I’m here to tell you that there are actually 7 more great uses for a wine fridge—enough, in fact, that even if you aren’t into wine, you might want to buy one now. See below for 7 superhero roles a wine refrigerator can play in your household.
It’s a cheese fridge!
Let’s start with my favorite use, and the one I currently employ at my home, which is the conversion of a wine fridge to a cheese fridge. We took a 15-inch skinny undercounter wine fridge, put some plastic mesh over the shelves to create surfaces that are still breathable but cover the wide holes where wine bottles are supposed to go, and we use it exclusively for the storage of cheese and charcuterie. These items are actually much happier at a temperature of 46-55 degrees, and your regular fridge is 35-40. A wine fridge, especially one with a precise temp control, can keep your cheeses and cured meats both safe and at optimal temps. This is a great use for a countertop models.
It’s an all-around beverage center!
You can also easily convert a wine fridge to a more basic beverage center for storing bottled water in your home gym, soda and beer in your TV room, and all-around drinks for that she-shed or mancave. Usually you can just lay your cans and bottles in crosswise to keep them from falling through the holes. If you’re up for a little fridge-improvement project, get some heavy plastic sheeting and cut inserts for the shelves.
It’s a beauty box!
Did you know that face creams and skin care products will last up to three times as long and lose their potency more slowly if you refrigerate them? Yep. So, a small wine fridge in a corner of your bathroom could be a great thing for your skincare routine. Plus, it feels so good to smooth on chilled product, and it makes tightening and de-puffing products work better. Face masks, makeup remover wipes, and even damp washcloths all feel great when chilled. Talk about a way to turn daily routine into a daily spa treatment.
It’s a snack dispenser!
Nothing will make your regular fridge items go bad faster than if your fridge door is constantly opening and closing and not maintaining temperature. But if you have a houseful of kids who are always in search of snacks, you might want to consider a snack fridge just for them. Gather up some cut-up veggies, whole pieces of fruit, and Gogurt packs, and lay them in. Further, a kid fridge might just prevent you from walking in on a child endlessly perusing the shelves with the door wide open for half an hour while your milk goes off.
It’s a humidor!
Do you have a cigar smoker in your home? A wine fridge can make for a terrific humidor, with some simple DIY adjustments. Look for tutorials online to get it done.
It’s a dry-aging machine!
If the cook in your household has ever dreamed of wanting to dry-age meats (or likes to leave poultry uncovered in the fridge to dry out the skin for perfect crisping), a wine fridge with some of the shelves removed is ideal for this.
It’s a dedicated medicine cabinet!
Many medications (especially injectables) require cold storage. Rather than having to store these important things in your large fridge, where the whole family has to navigate around them to get the butter, a small wine fridge can keep meds at the right temp and right where you need them to be.
Tips for Buying a Wine Refrigerator
You don’t need to go to a specialty store, necessarily, to buy a wine fridge. They’re regularly available at good prices in big box stores like Costco and Walmart, for example, so start keeping an eye out for deals. Meanwhile those people who have not read this article might be looking to unload their fridges, so look for sale listings on sites like Craigslist and Facebook. Their loss is your gain!