According to Gallup, wine popularity is at an all-time high, with everyone from Baby Boomers to Millennials choosing wine over both liquor and beer as their adult beverage of choice. These same oenophiles are discovering that case discounts – whether from the bazillion available local and online wine clubs or from their local big box store – are a fabulous way to significantly cut the cost of indulgence. But that savings can quickly be eaten up by the exorbitant prices of wine coolers in which to store it. In this article we compare wine fridges and explore the best wine coolers and wine chillers out there to protect your investment.
Purchasing wine two or three cases at a time has now become the norm of the average consumer, rather than just serious connoisseurs and collectors. Wine clubs have given the common wine enthusiast access to the best reds and whites available at reasonable prices.
Websites like Woot.com have have provided a way to get different wines to your door at a fraction of what you usually spend. So what do you do with all of this wine when it shows up at your door?
The challenge, is that wine – unlike the beer and liquor categories they’ve outpaced – is a living product. This means that what’s in your bottle evolves according to it’s environment. Aging certain wines in a carefully temperature controlled environment improves its flavor over time. This is also the reason exposing a bottle to too much heat, or even too much cold, can completely ruin it.
To mitigate deterioration, many wine enthusiasts are turning to Electric Wine Cellars and Wine Coolers, storing their luscious bounty at optimal aging or serving temperatures, as well as Wine Chillers, which are meant to keep wine at the proper temperature while it’s being served.
With so many products on the market, though, it can sometimes be difficult to wade through the vast cache of information.
We’re here to help break it down, giving our humble opinion – based on wine cooler ratings reviews – as to what we believe to be the best wine refrigerators on the market, to help you choose your best wine fridge based on your personal tastes, consumption and budget.
Before you even start shopping it’s important to define the differences between Wine Cellars, Wine Coolers and Wine Chillers.
Things to Consider:
-A ‘Wine Cellar’ is a high-end, high tech wine cabinet, intended for long-term storage, and is designed to keep wine at its optimum aging temperature – which is widely considered to be 55°F for all wines.
-A good one will minimize temperature fluctuations (to +/- one degree of where you set it), and maintain a relative humidity of about 70%.
–They should also protect against any vibrations, as well as ultraviolet light.
-Cellars like these are pretty spendy – all over the map from a mere $2,000 as a base price to well north of 5K for units that hold hundreds of bottles. Obviously these products, like VinoTemp and EuroCave, are meant for serious collectors who buy dozens of cases at a time, as they are designed to store bottles that will taste better in 5, 10 or 20 years.
More commonly purchased are Wine Coolers, which are at the more affordable end of wine storage and easily accessible.
Things to Consider:
–Wine coolers are designed to keep wines at optimal serving temperatures (49-55* for whites, 62-68* for reds).
–These are not generally intended for longer aging.
–Even though we’re featuring some of the best rated wine coolers on the market, the longest most professionals recommend you should keep wines in these is a year.
While wine chillers are more low-tech, we still consider them uniquely ‘smart’, these keep-it-cool chillers can be used at home or away (think picnics, tailgate parties, outdoor festivals).
Things to Consider:
–For the most part these chillers are intended to keep already cold wine chilled rather than making it cold.
–These make a great partner to any home wine cooler, to make sure the temperature of your wine is maintained throughout serving.
-Some wine chillers can “rapid chill” your wine, which is a great feature for any last minute wine buys before a meal or evening drink.
Take a look now, at our product recommendations. Up first is our list of the best wine coolers for your personal collection at home. They range in prices, but all provide a different level of quality to help fit your home and lifestyle.
After that you’ll find our best wine chillers. At prices maxing out at under $30 these are affordable, smart choices for your wine accessories collection. Compare the specs below to find the best wine chiller for your personal needs, and partner these gadgets with any of the best wine coolers for a perfect wine experience. In the end, the best wine cooler for you is the one that mirrors your needs and budget. Happy sipping!
Award for Best High-End Smart Wine Cooler
The Kings Bottle with Borderless Black Glass Door is at the top of our price spectrum for top rated wine coolers, but you do get a lot of bang for your buck.
The whole system is extremely effective and virtually silent. The gas charged tempered glass safety doors protect wine from both incandescent and fluorescent light sources, keeping the temps even and accurate. The front vent system also allows each cellar to be built-in to cabinetry with minimal clearance.
All of these features one might expect in a more expensive ‘cellar’ system, and the Kings Bottle certainly delivers all of this in fashion and at a reasonable price for what you get.
Added perks like load-bearing, non-warping hard wood designer shelves (wine bottles resting on wood are thought to be better protected from prolonged exposure to cold than metal bars), steel ball-bearing rollers to ensure effortless placement and extraction of bottles regardless of weight, and attractive stainless trim around the door cements this baby near the top of our dream list.
It even locks with a key to protect your stock from curious teenagers.
Please note that this is a single-zone system, meaning there is only one setting for temperature. If you choose this route you’ll want to buy 2 – one for reds and one for whites.
Award for Best Dual Zone Wine Coolers
Theromelectric cooling means this wine refrigerator runs silent with no vibration to disturb bottle sediment, while dual zone temperature controls allow for a range of 50°F – 66°F. Seven wooden shelves pull out to allow for easy access to your bottles.
A double paned glass door frame gives this wine cooler a sleek, stylish look. Adjustable legs allows placement on uneven or even inclined surfaces, helping to maintain a vibration free environment.
While freestanding, this unit is also one of the best under-counter models out there for home use. At just under $250 – with dual temperature zones to accommodate bottles both red and white, we also consider the AKDY to be a Best Buy. With over a hundred mostly 4 and 5 star reviews, this is certainly considered one of the best dual zone wine coolers on the market.
Award for Best Under Counter Wine Refrigerators
Ivation keeps your wine at a correct & consistent temperature and stable environment, while protecting the wine from exterior lights and elements, and is specially built to have zero vibration. A single-zone unit, but at $125 this may be the perfect choice for those who only drink Whites (or only Reds), and who only buy one case at a time.
Free standing, or counter top; it’s also one of the best under counter wine refrigerators we’ve seen. Again, based on hundreds of wine fridge reviews, we’d consider this unit to be an excellent buy.
Award for Best Wine Chiller
Attractive tabletop wine cooler with stainless-steel construction with ‘Rapid Ice’ cooling element chills wine in just 5 minutes, and keeps it cold for up to 4 hours.
One of the Top Rated wine chillers on Amazon.com, at just under $25 we consider this to be one of the best wine chillers on the market. No ice, no water, no soggy labels, and at just 8 x 6 x 6 inches it takes up less storage space than a vase.
Great for gifting, the Skybar Wine Chill Drop cools a single glass of wine to its ideal serving temperature up to twenty times faster than your refrigerator can chill a full bottle. You’ll be able to enjoy perfectly cooled red wines in ninety seconds or white wines in less than eight minutes.
The sleek shape and polished stainless steel of the Chill Drop will look posh on your table top, and they come adorably gift boxed with the nifty little drip-catcher cups pictured.
Serve your wine in style with this iceless wine bottle cooler from Prodyne. It features a durable transparent BPA free acrylic construction with polished chrome accents and a simple modern design that’s guaranteed to match well with existing barware.
This bottle cooler has double walled technology that keeps one chilled bottle of wine cold for hours, and requires no ice at all. Without the ice, there’s no condensation, so no mess. Under $15 makes this a lovely hostess gift as well.
Award for Best Rapid Wine Chiller
Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Coolers were developed to chill wine quickly and keep it chilled for an extended period of time, all without the need of a refrigerator or ice bucket.
The cooling sleeve contains 6 pockets of specifically formulated, non-toxic gel that expands when placed in a freezer for a period of 6 hours or more. Upon removal from the freezer, the Rapid Ice Wine Cooler easily slides over the outside of the wine bottle to chill the whole bottle within 5 minutes.
Once cooled, the wine will remain chilled for hours due to the multiple layers of insulated foil and foam within the sleeve. Kept in the freezer, it’ll always be ready when you need it, and at under $10, it’s affordable enough to have multiples – say, for a party?
This was just too cute to not include, and got some decent reviews, too, so why not? This little sweetie is made of FDA Food-Grade stainless steel and BPA Free acrylic, it’s actually 2 devices in one. Keep the wine chiller stick in the fridge; when it’s time to chill down a bottle (or glass!) of wine simply screw the Aerator on, insert the chill stick into the bottle and pour.
The aerator adds oxygen while the wine chiller stick maintains optimal temperature. At such a great price, many are buying these up as perfect stocking stuffers and gifts for our wine loving friends.
Susanne Robertson is a freelance writer living in Ashland, Oregon