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We all love wine — but part of its magic is sipping it at the right temperature.
That’s where wine coolers come in.
Having the best wine cooler will ensure that you’ll never be forced to drink warm wine ever again.
If you live in a warm climate, or your town ever experiences a particularly ferocious summer season, you definitely need to order one of these in.
Let’s find out more…
What are Wine Coolers?
There are actually two different meanings to ‘wine cooler’ — one is a drink and the other is a product designed to enhance your wine experience.
We focus on the second one.
A wine cooler drink is a sort of wine cocktail, that’s usually lower in alcohol content and higher in sugar than you’d normally have with a glass of wine. It’s usually combined of wine, fruit juice and then topped up with fruit juice.
Some people with a fiendish sweet tooth like to add in a couple of teaspoons of added sugar as well. Just make sure you give your teeth a thorough brushing later!
But anyway — onto wine cooler products.
These are containers and fridges that do exactly what they say on the tin — cool your wine.
Not many of us are lucky to have a wine cellar in our homes and so a wine cooler is a great low-cost alternative.
The best wine coolers allow you to keep different bottles at different temperatures — ideal for people who like to have a ready supply of white, red and champagne on hand!
As well as having the practical use of wine storage, these coolers are also great display pieces, allowing you to keep your wine out on display instead of cluttering up your fridge or drinks cabinet.
Best Temperature to Store Wine
One thing is for sure: if there’s something that’s going to ruin the quality of your wine, it’s storing it at the wrong temperature.
Some people that keeping it cold is the best way to avoid degradation, but actually that’s just as bad as it getting too warm.
High temperatures will age a wine faster than an optimal temperature, resulting in a dulling of their flavors.
Too cool a temperature — for instance, if you keep your bottles for weeks in a normal food refrigerator — will result in oxygen penetrating your wine, altering and ultimately ruining the taste.
Most wine experts agree that temperatures in the region of 55°F (around 13°C) is the perfect spot for long-term storage. It can be difficult to create this climate without a wine cooler — especially if you live somewhere warm.
Best Temperature for Serving Wine
So now you know how cool you need to keep your wine cooler to ensure the preservation of your favorite bottles, but at what temperature should you be serving and drinking your beverages?
High quality wine fridges will allow you to set different temperatures for each rack. This means that you can keep the bottom two racks at 55°F for storage, while keeping the bottles you’re planning to drink at dinner at their optimal serving temperature.
Of course, a glass of full-bodied Malbec shouldn’t be served at the same temperature as a crisp Sancerre.
Here are the temperatures you should be serving different types of wine at:
Red Wine and Port: 60-65°F
Some people believe that red wines are most delicious when served at room temperature, but most experts agree that keeping your vin rouges on the cooler side will result in a better drinking experience, minimizing any potential bitterness.
Most White Wine and Rosé: 50-60°F
We all know that white wines are best served cool and somewhere between 50-60° is the perfect temperature. Fruity red wines also fall into this category.
Champagne, Dry and Dessert White Wines: 40-50°F
Crisp and fruity white wines should be served as cold as your champagne and sparkling wine for the ultimate in delicious flavors and smooth textures. The colder you can keep your champagne, the finer the fizz.
Wine Cooler Buying Guide
Of course, there are a few things to consider before investing in a wine cooler.
Here are the questions we think you should answer before you make your purchase.
What Size Do I Need?
Firstly, you need to consider exactly how large you want your wine fridge to be.
This will encompass how much physical space you have for the object in your home and how many bottles you’re planning to store in here.
You’ll be able to find something regardless of whether you’ve got 5 bottles or over 200 — there are different size coolers to suit every collection and budget.
A general rule of thumb is that the larger the wine fridge, the more expensive it is — although particularly high tech coolers will likely be more costly regardless of size.
If you’re looking for a cheap wine cooler and perhaps a portable one, we’d recommend opting for a simple cooling sleeve.
These sleeves keep one bottle warm and are lightweight enough to be carried around. Perfect for picnics!
What Type Do I Want?
It’s not as simple as just picking out the right size for you and bringing your wine cooler home.
You should also consider what type of cooler you want. This is often a space or aesthetic consideration.
There are three main types of wine fridges:
- Under counter
- Built-in furniture
As you’d expect, commissioning a built-in wine fridge will usually entail a furniture artisan creating something custom-made for your circumstances.
This allows you to have complete control over the design of your wine cooler, both in size and appearance, although will usually be quite expensive.
If you like the sound of a custom-made wine cooler, we’d recommend Googling for a local kitchen design store or furniture designer to work with on this.
Both freestanding and under counter wine coolers are much more common and generally less expensive as they don’t need to be custom made.
You can find these readily online.
Freestanding wine coolers are the most common and popular in this product category.
People with larger wine collections and the space to have an additional refrigerator will be the people most likely to consider a freestanding wine fridge.
These can vary in size from anything from just ten bottles to over 200.
Remember to carefully measure your space before you buy a freestanding cooler — they always look smaller in online photos than they will in your home!
Best Freestanding Wine Coolers
Under Counter and Counter Top
Under counter wine coolers are also very popular — particularly with people who are looking for a unit they can store in their kitchens, under their counters.
Hence the name…
Another alternative to the under counter products, are those that are designed to sit on top of your counters. These are even smaller still — but ideal for people with small collections and a lot of counter room.
Under counter coolers are generally a bit smaller than most freestanding coolers as they certainly won’t be as tall.
Talk with a kitchen designer if you’d like to built in your under counter cooler. And always remember to take careful measurements if you’re planning on slotting your wine cooler in under your counters!
Best Counter Top and Under Counter Wine Coolers
Another thing to consider with your wine cooler is the type of temperature control you want with your product.
You have two options:
- Single zone cooling
- Double zone cooling
As you can probably glean from the names, a single zone cooling wine fridge allows you to set just one temperature, while a double zone cooling one allows you to set two different temperatures.
Let’s discuss which is best for you.
Single Zone Cooling
Here are the benefits of a single zone cooling fridge:
- Ideal for people who drink either red or white
- Keeps things simple
- Cheaper than double zone cooling
Double, or dual, zone cooling is a little more sophisticated. Here are the benefits:
- Allows you to set different temperatures for reds and whites, or storage and serving
- Better for experienced wine collectors
- More expensive but allows for more sophisticated and specialist storage systems
If you’re spending a lot of money on wine and want the most sophisticated system available to you, double zone cooling will be the best option for you.
For everyone else, single zone cooling will more than suffice.
How Much Do You Want to Spend?
The final thing to consider before buying wine coolers is the size of your budget.
If you already spend a lot of money on wine, then it’s worth splashing out for a sophisticated freestanding double zone cooling wine fridge.
But if you’re just starting out with your wine collection, or are simply looking for a better way to store a small collection, then a smaller — perhaps under counter — wine cooler that offers single zone cooling.
Formulate a budget before you start browsing — otherwise you’ll only end up buying something bigger and more expensive than you need. It’s very easy to think that you need more space and technology than you actually need.
The Best Wine Coolers
Wine Cooler Brands
Not every high quality wine cooler is manufactured by a recognizable brand name, but there are a few companies that are well known for creating exceptional quality products.
Here are a few brands to look out for:
Where to Buy Wine Coolers Online
You can go to any of the above company’s own websites to buy direct from them, or alternatively check out the following websites:
And, of course, you can find a variety of products and deals for wine coolers on Amazon.