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Shopping Guide for Best Wine Coolers

It’s extremely satisfying when you can be your own wine sommelier and present the perfectly chilled bottle to guests in the comfort of your own home.

Indeed, the right wine served at the right temperature can make the difference between a good dining experience and a great one.

Serving the perfect glass is a rewarding experience whether you’re sharing a simple romantic dinner for two or hosting a large holiday party for friends and family.

Put aside the old image of wine stewards winding their way through cavernous restaurant cellars to select the appropriate Bordeaux or cabernet sauvignon.

You can now easily store and serve your wine at its ideal temperature by taking advantage of a wide variety of affordable wine coolers that either fit under your kitchen counter or stand alone as the stylish focal point for your home bar set-up.

If you’re featuring your wine as part of a cocktail hour, the wine should be the star. If it’s part of a meal, the wine should stand on its own and provide the right notes to enhance – not overshadow – the food.

At BestReviews, we want to help demystify the shopping process and assist you in selecting the perfect wine cooler for your needs.

We performed deep research on the market’s top wine coolers in order to determine which are the best available.

If you’d like to know more about wine coolers, read on to learn about the criteria that can help you make your decision, as well as some expert advice for storing and serving your wine once you’re ready to host a party that guests will remember for years.

DID YOU KNOW?

It takes 2.5 pounds of grapes to make a single bottle of wine.

What to Look for in a Wine Cooler

When you’re ready to purchase a wine cooler, there are a number of factors to consider. Depending on your needs, these factors might include the following.

Features

Cooler Size

More than just dimensions, a wine cooler’s size determines the number of bottles it can hold. Coolers vary from small, four-bottle models in which wine is stored vertically to larger models that accommodate more than 100 bottles stored horizontally.

Keep in mind that the number of bottles a cooler can hold often depends on the size of the bottles you choose to store.

EXPERT TIP

If you’re storing expensive bottles of wine, you may wish to consider including their value in your homeowner’s insurance policy.


Staff  | BestReviews
Features

Freestanding vs. Under-Counter Design

The design of your wine cooler is another important factor to consider. Some wine coolers are freestanding, while others can be installed directly under your kitchen counter. Many newer homes offer wine coolers as a kitchen add-on.

Consider what works best for your needs and your available kitchen space. A typical 24-inch wide, under-counter wine cooler can usually hold as many as 48 bottles. These models tend to be wider than most freestanding models, which are generally taller.

DID YOU KNOW?

Setting your cooler to a stable temperature of 55°F will allow your wine to age naturally, depending on what wine varietals you choose to store.

Features

Types of Cooling

There are two kinds of cooling technologies used in most wine coolers: thermoelectric cooling and compressor cooling. Knowing a bit about each technology can help you decide which is best for you.

Compressor cooling:

  • Employs cooling technology similar to a traditional refrigerator, with refrigerant distributed via air pressure throughout the appliance

  • Is a more powerful mode of cooling

  • Is usually found in larger wine coolers
     

Thermoelectric cooling:

  • Employs a ceramic tile cooling node that takes on an electric current, heating one side of the tile while the other side, facing inward, cools

  • Is generally less noisy than most compressor-based models

  • Evenly distributes temperature throughout the unit

  • Is more energy-efficiencient for smaller coolers

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Whynter 24-Bottle Dual Zone Touch Control

Convenient Storage

The spacious Whynter 24 Bottle, Dual Zone Touch Control wine cooler holds up to 24 bottles of wine. It’s roomy, but potential buyers should note that certain bottles (pinot, champagne) may only fit on the top shelf. The Whynter’s dual temperature zones accommodate red and white wines quite nicely. This is highly convenient for the wine connoisseur who likes to keep a bit of everything on hand.

Features

Single vs. Dual-Zone Coolers

The wine varietals you plan to store can help determine which type of zone model would work best for you.

Many coolers are available in single- or dual-temperature zone models, both of which can have significant impact on the storage of your wine.

  • Single-zone coolers are ideal for storing a single wine varietal. This model keeps the entire appliance cooled at one temperature.

  • Dual-zone coolers are ideal for multiple varietals requiring different storage temperatures. This model contains two distinct zones that can be set to different temperatures.

Coolers are available in single- and dual-temperature zone models. The varieties of wine you plan to store can help determine which model would work best for your collection.

Staff
BestReviews

Caring for Your Wine Cooler

If you properly care for your wine cooler, there’s no reason why it won’t last for many years. The best way to ensure your appliance lasts a long time is to keep it clean and minimize its exposure to water.

In addition to that, you can do the following:

  • Avoid temperature extremes

Setting your wine cooler to a stable temperature of 55°F will allow your wine to age naturally, depending on the varietals you store.

  • Avoid placing your wine cooler in direct sunlight

Wine coolers with UV tints are a good choice.

  • Control humidity levels

In addition to stable temperatures, a unit with humidity control will help with the aging of your wines. Ideally, humidity levels should be between 50% and 70%.

EXPERT TIP

Consider storing your red wines on the top shelves of your cooler. There can be a five- to eight-degree difference between top and bottom shelves.


Staff  | BestReviews

Wine Cooler Prices

Price

Best Wine Coolers Under $100

In this budget-price range, most standard wine coolers hold about 12 bottles and are available as counter-top models.

Although usually single-zone wine coolers, they have the advantage of thermoelectric cooling technology — resulting in less energy use and less noise output than traditional compressor models.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

The best way to ensure your wine cooler lasts a long time is to keep it clean and minimize its exposure to water.

Price

Best Wine Coolers Under $200

Increasing your budget presents you with more options. Models in the under-$200 range hold up to about 18 bottles in most cases, with some units able to hold bottles both vertically and horizontally. Depending on the manufacturer, there are single-zone and dual-zone units that are available for under $200, with most units including sophisticated user controls via touchpad.

Price

Best Wine Coolers Under $300

Wine coolers in this category usually have dual-zone temperature control. Appliances under $300 generally have a capacity of 18 to 24 bottles, UV-tinted windows, and the option of either a thermoelectric or a compressor-based motor

DID YOU KNOW?

Beer can also be stored in your wine cooler. While certain beers require storage at specific temperatures, the overall range is usually 50°F to 55°F.

Tips for Storing and Serving Wine

Once you’ve figured out your budget and what you’re looking for, it’s time to get familiar with the right temperatures to store and serve your wine. This may seem daunting at first, but BestReviews is here to help.

Storing and serving wine

Tips for Storing Your Wine

While many wine connoisseurs say that only white wine should be served chilled, most experts agee that reds and whites should be stored at the same temperature: 55°F. This temperature prevents the wine from aging prematurely. Some winemakers opt to chill their reds for a short time just before serving to maximize flavor.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

AKDY 18-Bottle Single Zone

Space Saver

For those with limited space, the AKDY 18 Bottle, Single Zone Thermoelectric wine cooler is a great choice. Built with adjustable legs, the unit can be placed virtually anywhere, including uneven surfaces. The appliance gets high marks for its great energy efficiency and handsome double-paned glass front.

Storing and serving wine

Tips for Serving Your Wine

Assuming the cooler’s temperature is set to 46°F when a bottle is removed, most wine will reach 62°F in about two minutes – an ideal serving temperature for a pinot noir. At two-and-a-half minutes, the wine usually reaches 64°F, a temperature that works for most cabernets.

Here are some additional guidelines to follow when serving wine:

  • Whites

In general, whites should be served between 35°F and 40°F. After removing your bottle from the wine cooler, you can keep it on ice or decant it in a container specifically designed to keep white wine cold.

DID YOU KNOW?

Red wine gets its color as the grape skins are left intact and ferment with the juice. To make white wine, fermentation takes place after the skins have been removed.

  • Reds

Once removed from your wine cooler, reds should be allowed to reach their ideal temperature and balanced flavor by decanting – the process of pouring wine from the bottle into a separate container without disturbing the sediment.

Keep in mind that the ambient temperature of the room and the particular grape will impact and influence when a wine should be served after decanting.

Some winemakers opt to chill their reds for a short time just before serving to maximize flavor.
Storing and serving wine

Additional Guidelines for Specific Varietals

  • Lighter dry whites, rosés, and sparkling wines should be served between 40°F and 50°F to preserve freshness and fruitiness. At this temperature, sparkling wines keep their bubbles without becoming overly frothy.

  • Rich chardonnays, full-bodied whites, and light reds should be served between 50°F and 60°F to reveal their complexity and aroma.

  • Fuller, complex reds should be served between 60°F and 65°F, which is usually slightly cooler than room temperature. This same temperature is ideal for ports. The goal is to make the wine feel rich on the palate and to lessen the bitter taste of the wine’s tannins.

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