Find that wine fridges can't fit all bottle shapes?

Wine fridge sizes – ask Decanter

Tim Clark, Hong Kong, asks ‘How can I find a wine fridge with sliding shelves that actually fits bottles that are larger than standard Bordeaux?

I have owned several wine fridges over the years, but not one of them properly accommodates 750ml bottles of Champagne, Burgundy, ambitious wines from the Americas etc.

These fatter bottles can be squeezed in, but once the fridge is full, any shelf with such a bottle becomes wedged and will no longer slide, and if it does, it either pulls other shelves with it or it rips the labels.’

Sebastian Riley-Smith replies: ‘Standard’ is such a problematic word! Wine bottle sizes are standard, shapes are not.

So establish what the supplier of a wine fridge means by a standard bottle. The chances are you will know a lot more than the fridge manufacturer.

To help you, Saint Gobain the glass maker, has an official dimensioned drawing across the regular range of bottle sizes, showing the benchmarks.

Some fridge companies, to enhance their product capacity, base the capacity on standard 750ml Bordeaux, but how many of us only drink Bordeaux?

So to the conundrum. As a maker of wine rooms, rather than wine cabinets, I thought that to be completely up to speed I would ring a selection of suppliers and pose the question.

Of those I spoke with, two gave us the answer we want.

Eurocave: ‘The standard clearance between each sliding shelf when the maximum number of shelves are in the cabinet is approximately 9.5cm; this will accommodate bottles up to standard Champagne shape. If you need more clearance for larger bottles, you can remove shelves and space the remaining shelves further apart.’

Gaggenau: ‘The 61cm wide RW464 wine cabinet with beech sliding shelves will take standard Bordeaux, Burgundy & Champagne 750ml bottles, also magnums, and most other shaped bottles but this will obviously reduce the capacity.’

And as far as the ‘ambitious wines from the Americas’ you mention, I think that might be just a standard too far!

Sebastian Riley-Smith is co-founder of Smith & Taylor Fine Wine Storage.

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