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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Small Wine Cellars Reviewed In 2018Last Updated January 1, 2019
№1 – NutriChef 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler / Chiller | Counter Top Red And White Wine Cellar | FreeStanding Refrigerator, Quiet Operation Fridge | Stainless Steel
№2 – Ivation 8 Bottle Red And White WineThermoelectric Wine Cooler/Chiller Counter Top Wine Cellar with Digital Temperature Display, Freestanding Refrigerator Smoked Glass Door Quiet Operation Fridge
№3 – Avanti 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Counter Top Wine Cooler – Model EWC1201
Need a dedicated wine store? Whether you buy the odd few bottles for a dinner party or are a serious collector, there’s a wine fridge to suit.
How many times have you struggled to squeeze a few bottles of Chardonnay into the fridge when friends are popping round? Too many to count? Then invest in one of our pick of the best wine fridges.
Wine coolers aren’t just brilliant for freeing up prime real estate in a busy family fridge. Slightly warmer and more humid inside, they’ll keep every bottle of Chardonnay and Sauvignon in cellar-like conditions, and without you having to excavate the basement.
Treat yourself this summer: Ice cream makers – our pick of the best
If you’re under the illusion that a wine fridge is one of life’s luxuries that you either can’t afford or don’t have the room for, think again. There’s a growing range of countertop styles, freestanding units and even slimline built-in versions out there, and they don’t always cost as much as you might think.
Coming next is a round up of our favourite wine fridges. Scroll down, you’ll also find a handy buyer’s guide to help you find your perfect match. Bottoms up!
Caple Sense Wi15wine cabinet
Caple has a range of more than 20 wine coolers, and you’ll find one to fill almost any size gap. Make good use of that tricky space at the end of a run of cabinets – or plug a gap between units – with this super-slim model. It may be small, but it still offers all the latest features such as LED lighting and UV protection. It’s a flexible pick, too, as you can install it built-in or freestanding. If you’re renting or planning to move, that could be crucial.
Capacity bottles Dimensions H86x W14x D475mm Number of temperature zones 1 Features Anti-vibration technology, UV-protected glass door, reversible door, 44dB noise level
Haier WS50GDBI under counter wine cooler
Digital Editor – and wannabe wine buff – Amy has this model at home and has been super-impressed with its performance. It’s designed to hold 50 bottles on its sturdy oak shelves, and has two temperature zones and humidity controls to prevent corks from drying out. The low-vibration compressor is good for both your wine and your ears – it’s a must-have feature if you’re planning to install your fridge in an open-plan kitchen.
Capacity 50 bottles Capacity 127 Dimensions H820cm x W595cm x D625cm Number of temperature zones 2 Features Anti-vibration technology, UV-protected glass door, carbon filter, humidity control, 39dB noise level
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CDA FWC303ss wine cooler
Not sure if you’re cut out to be a collector? This holds 20 bottles or red, white or sparking wine at any temperature between 5°C and 27°C – we think it’s a great size and price for beginners. It may be at the affordable end of the sale but you still get some top features, including a UV-protected smoked glass door to keep ageing sunlight at bay, and a humidifier that stops your corks from drying out.
Capacity 20 bottles Dimensions H820-88x W29x D570mm Number of temperature zones 1 Features UV-protected glass door, humidity control, reversible door, 39dB noise level
Need more cool storage? American-style fridge freezers – our pick of the best
Swisscave WLB-450FLD Black Edition wine cooler
Swisscave offers Champagne-standard storage at – well, not quite lemonade, but certainly Prosecco prices. Its coolers mimic cellar conditions, with features like charcoal features and humidity controls helping to age your wine consistently. This model can hold up to 220 bottles over seven levels, if you choose to have horizontal shelves only.
Alternatively, you can show off your most prized vintages on tilted racks that hold six bottles each. Behind each of these is space for 10-1more bottles. Like the idea of displaying your wine but worried party guests might help themselves to you best bottles? Don’t, as a lockable door will keep them from snaffling your Dom Perignon.
Capacity Up to 220 bottles Dimensions H1800 x W600 x D700mm Number of temperature zones Features Anti-vibration technology, UV-protected glass door, carbon filter, telescopic shelves, reversible door, 35dB noise level
Miele KWT 683SGS wine conditioner
This really is the Cristal of coolers. Bottles of all shapes and sizes are gently cradled by its FlexiFrame shelving system, and there are magnetic strips coated in blackboard paint that you can use to label each shelf. Three separate temperature zones ensure your champagne, red and white wines can all be served at just the right temperature, and of course, there’s a UV-resistant door keeps your vintages safe from the sun.
One quirky feature is the SommelierSet box of accessories. You’ll find a knife, corkscrews and chalk inside, as well a glass holder and two decanting racks. The idea behind this is that you can decant your red wine inside the conditioner, or chill your white wine glasses to the perfect temperature for serving. Fancy! And if you only enjoy a glass or two in one sitting, the ConvinoBox will keep any open bottles in perfect conditions until you’re ready to finish them off.
Capacity 17bottles Dimensions H1920 x W700 x D746mm Number of temperature zones 3 Features Anti-vibration technology, UV-protected glass door, carbon filter, telescopic shelves, 37dB noise level
WHAT WE KNOW
Have Questions? We Have The Answers! – There are so many fun, exciting and useful wine lifestyle products on our website that sometimes it can seem overwhelming.
Our Wine Enthusiast experts are here to help our customers fully understand how our products work and help decide what is the best fit for every person’s
Location and Storage Needs
Wine refrigerators can be large or small, built-in or freestanding. Some have noisy compressors, while others are whisper quiet. To ensure that you choose the wine refrigerator that best fits your needs, you first need to decide where you will be placing your unit and what your storage needs will be.
An important design feature to consider when purchasing a wine refrigerator is the type of door you want it to have. Some wine refrigerators have a solid stainless steel or wood finish door that offers total protection again harmful light and UV rays, while tempered glass doors still offer protection while allowing you to easily view and show off your collection.
Where to Start
One of the first considerations is the size of your wine collection. How many bottles do you need to store? Allowing enough room for the addition of new “finds” and special purchases, you should consider a cooler sized for +75% to double the size of your current collection.
Do you favor sparkling, white, or red wine or enjoy wines of every kind? This will determine how many cooling zones you will want to consider as well as temperature control, cooling technology, and special options.
Different wines are best served at differing temperatures. Dry whites and sparkling wines usually about 20 to 2degrees colder than full-bodied reds, with fruity reds & full-bodied whites in between. Cooling zones are spaces in the cooler which can be set at specific temperatures so that your wines are kept at optimal serving conditions.
If you prefer a few specific whites or reds, a single zone cooler is perfect. For those who like more variety, most wine coolers offer at least zones, some with multiple zones for more specialized wine collections, offering a temperature range of 40-6degrees Fahrenheit. Digital temperature controls offer more precise regulation and most wine coolers use this type.
Although you may not think too much about this at first, the kind of technology used to operate the wine cooler is fairly important. You will want to take into consideration noise and energy efficiency, as well as the amount of vibration generated, since too much can adversely affect your wine. The following list provides a short explanation of each.
Compressor: This is the most common type and uses a refrigerant similar to that in refrigerators. They provide very stable temperatures in a wider range, handling ambient temperature well, while some high-end models will also regulate humidity. The downside–they tend to be heavier and produce vibration and some noise due to running of the compressor, which is not great for your wine or environment. Some of these may also include an auto-defrost option.
Thermoelectric: This cooling technology utilizes the Peltier effect which removes heat from the air instead of adding cool air. With no moving parts, these coolers offer virtually silent operation with almost no vibration and are extremely energy efficient.However, they require some clearance for air circulation and will not function as well if ambient temperatures are too high or too low. They do not get as cold as compressor models and smaller capacity coolers work the best.
Hybrid: These wine coolers use a combination of both compressor and thermoelectric technologies which provides a wider, more stable temperature range with low noise and vibration, while being very energy efficient. However, these units are considerably more expensive to purchase.
Absorption: This is a newer cooling technology which uses a physiochemical process with no motor or compressor, providing silent, vibration-free operation. These are more difficult to find and can be costly.
Cost of a Cooler
And speaking of cost, before trying to decide on all the optional features of a cooler, you will want to take a look at your budget. Wine coolers vary widely in price, even within the same size or capacity and cooling technology. Take into consideration the average price per bottle in your collection and compare it with the price per bottle for storing it (cost of the cooler divided by the bottle capacity.)
Obviously, the more you have invested in your wine, the more you will want to preserve and protect it and, generally speaking, the cheaper the appliance, the less dependable it will be. That being said, good, reasonably priced wine coolers with the options you need can be found. If you simply must have that over-budget cooler, look for discounted units such as floor models that may have slight exterior imperfections but are fully functional. Keep these price ranges in mind when shopping for your wine cooler.
If you’ve been thinking about a wine cellar, but don’t want the bother of construction, you may consider purchasing a wine cabinet or credenza or even a walk-in wine room which you can assemble inside your home and then disassemble to move with you to a new location. Needless to say these carry a hefty price tag but can be a great option for the serious collector.
There are many features to choose from with wine coolers and your decision will, of course, be based on your particular wine choices, lifestyle, and budget. Everything from blue LED lights to child locks to racking options can be cause for deliberation.
Doors are available with their own set of options, to name a few:
Leveling Legs are an important feature since you want your cooler (and bottles of wine) to be resting on a level plane.
Lighting of any kind may well be questioned since UV light is harmful to wine, hence dark bottles. But LED lighting, especially blue tones which are much less intense, should not affect it. You can usually choose to have the light come on only when the door is open, or remain off at all times (“black-out” mode) during Sabbath and religious occasions.
Decor: Coolers generally have exteriors and doors that blend with many different decors, such as stainless, black, or various wood finishes. Some manufacturers offer customized doors or finishes to match cabinetry so be sure to check that out if you are looking for a specific style.
When deciding on how to store your wine, whether it’s a modest novice collection, a large and varied collection or somewhere in between, you will want to consider protection from the classic enemies of wine: Heat, Humidity, Light, and Vibration. The right wine cooler will offer precise temperature settings, with some level of humidity control, while protecting the wine from UV light and operating at minimal vibration. With the wide variety available and depending on budget and space limitations, you’re sure to discover your perfect wine cooler.
Entry-level models tend to have fixed shelving. Higher-spec models have shelves you can roll out, making it easier to retrieve and inspect your bottles. Shelves can also be adjustable – useful if you want to store extra bubbly for a party – and be made from wood or high-quality chrome.
Glass doors may let you show off your Chablis but they don’t insulate as well as solid doors – as with conventional refrigerators. If you want a glass door, then check whether it’s UV-protected. This means the wine won’t be affected by sunlight. Also, check if the doors are reversible.
Where to store it
As with most fridges, you should try and keep them where the ambient temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much – so avoid the garage if you can. Wine fridges can cope with temperature changes but big fluctuations put extra pressure on the unit.Check also if the fridge is lockable, to avoid anyone unknowingly helping themselves to your prized Pouilly-Fuissé!
Environment and costs
All of our wine cabinets are ‘A’ rated for energy consumption, since they are for longer term wine storage, but most models are ‘B’ rated because of their large glass doors. Drinks fridges and wine coolers are currently exempt from classification.
If you’re putting your fridge underneath a worktop, you must normally allow a gap of 25mm at the top, back and sides of the appliance so that the warm air produced by the condenser can be properly ventilated.
Lack of ventilation will cause the compressor to work harder, resulting in faster frost build-up. (This does not apply to built-in appliances.)
Single or dual-zone
The first factor to consider is whether you will need two separate temperature zones to store your reds at a higher temperature and your whites and sparkling wines at a lower setting. If you primarily drink a mix of both red and whites, or if you plan on having a few special bottles of red that you will keep on hand for over six months, then a dual zone is probably the right fit for you.
Thermoelectric or compressor
Most small coolers will be thermoelectric, though not all. There are various tradeoffs to consider when choosing between the two. Thermoelectrics are usually quieter and produce less vibration, though they all must have a fan that comes on and off regularly to spread the cold around. They tend to consume less energy as well. Compressor-based coolers will have a similar humming sound to a refrigerator.
Another issue with thermoelectrics is that they are dependent on the ambient room temperature. This is to say, they can only cool to a certain amount below their outside temperature.
A typical model will be capable of 20-2degrees below room temperature, so on a 90 degree summer day in an un-air conditioned home, your wines could be as warm as 70 degrees. In climate-controlled spaces this is generally not an issue, except in making it slightly difficult to achieve an exact temperature.
Wine Spectator Staff
So you bought some wine that you’re not planning on drinking right away. Now what do you do with it?
First off, it’s useful to remember that only a small percentage of fine wines on the market benefit from long-term aging. Most wines are best enjoyed within a few years of release. If you’re looking to buy wines to mature, you should really consider investing in professional-grade storage—a totally different ballgame
For everyone else, however, following a few simple guidelines should keep your wines safe until you’re ready to drink them.
Keep It Cool
Heat is enemy number one for wine. Temperatures higher than 70° F will age a wine more quickly than is usually desirable. And if it gets too much hotter, your wine may get “cooked,” resulting in flat aromas and flavors. The ideal temperature range is between 45° F and 65° F (and 55° F is often cited as close to perfect), though this isn’t an exact science. Don’t fret too much if your storage runs a couple degrees warmer, as long as you’re opening the bottles within a few years from their release.
But Not Too Cool
Keeping wines in your household refrigerator is fine for up to a couple months, but it’s not a good bet for the longer term. The average fridge temp falls well below 45° F to safely store perishable foods, and the lack of moisture could eventually dry out corks, which might allow air to seep into the bottles and damage the wine. Also, don’t keep your wine somewhere it could freeze (an unheated garage in winter, forgotten for hours in the freezer). If the liquid starts turning to ice, it could expand enough to push the cork out.
Steady as She Goes
More important than worrying about achieving a perfect 55°F is avoiding the landmines of rapid, extreme or frequent temperature swings. On top of cooked flavors, the expansion and contraction of the liquid inside the bottle might push the cork out or cause seepage. Aim for consistency, but don’t get paranoid about minor temperature fluctuations; wines may see worse in transit from the winery to the store. (Even if heat has caused wine to seep out past the cork, that doesn’t always mean the wine is ruined. There’s no way to know until you open it—it could still be delicious.)
Turn the Lights Off
Light, especially sunlight, can pose a potential problem for long-term storage. The sun’s UV rays can degrade and prematurely age wine. One of the reasons why vintners use colored glass bottles? They’re like sunglasses for wine. Light from household bulbs probably won’t damage the wine itself, but can fade your labels in the long run. Incandescent bulbs may be a bit safer than fluorescent bulbs, which do emit very small amounts of ultraviolet light.
On the seventh day he rested? In the case of wine, the good Lord must have needed the seventh year off, because rarely has he so significantly failed to deliver as in so many of the post-war vintages ending in seven. Yes, of course 194was the exception that proves the rule, but good luck to you if you can make a 70-year-old’s day by finding a bottle from this great vintage.
So in the absence of a ready-made case of Port or claret, here are my picks: Isole e Olena’s Cepparello 199is ageing beautifully; the Flaccianello 199from Fontodi is perfectly balanced and one of the best ever made; and Il Greppo, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 199from Biondi Santi is living up to its billing as one of the longest-lived Brunellos.
The vintage was super-ripe in
California, lauded to the skies by US critic Robert Parker, thereby setting the tone for the opulent style that prevails today. Harlan Estate is one such Napa Cabernet, while Ridge Monte Bello, at only 12.9% alcohol from cooler Santa Cruz, is altogether more elegant with years still ahead of it. From Australia, Jasper Hill’s Emily’s Paddock was an excellent red for its time, and Grosset’s Polish Hill Riesling 199is still drinking well if kept in good condition.
Similar considerations apply to Austria’s Dürnsteiner Kellerberg Riesling Smaragd 199from Weingut FX Pichler. Over in Germany, low yields in the Mosel and Nahe created excellent wines at Riesling spätlese and auslese level, and drinking well now – among others, – are the Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Spätlese 199from Von Schubert and the Rausch Auslese 199from Forstmeister Zilliken. Let’s not forget Tokaji Aszú: the recent release of Disznóko’s tangy, dried apricot-rich Puttonyos 199and stellar Aszú Escencia, respectively £50 and £76.9a bottle at
The Vintage House are an obvious answer to sweet-toothed prayers.
Wine Gift packages from merchants
While vintage and age-designated wines are a useful hook on which to hang a birthday or anniversary, it’s also worth considering the many gift packages that wine merchants put together.
Merchants such as Berry Bros & Rudd have a dedicated gifting page with packages including Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Port as well as a budget gifts under £50 category.
Laithwaites, Majestic, Marks & Spencer, The Wine Society, Virgin Wines and Waitrose, among others, also offer wine gift services.
High on my list of welcome gifts? Life membership of The Wine Society for a one-off payment of £40, the remarkable Coravin wine preservation device, Zalto stemware and the Le Nez du Vin tasting kits for the budding Master of Wine in your life.
Single and Dual-Zone Wine Refrigerators
The review team did conclude that it makes sense to include both single and dual-zone wine refrigerators. It may be for different reasons, but both beginners and experts often prefer dual-zone models for their cellar. If you’re in the beginner category but aren’t sure what we’re talking about, a dual-zone refrigerator has two separate compartments in which different temperatures are maintained, the perfect setup for storing both reds and whites.
I want to begin by discussing some of the functional features built into this cooler, because they are, after all, the most important features it has. With a temperature range from 4to 6degrees Fahrenheit, this cooler is perfect for those of you who enjoy anything from white to red, including Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Shiraz, among others. It is not, however, the best option for those who enjoy dessert wines, sparkling wines, or champagne on a regular basis, since those beverages require a lower temperature setting.
A tiny dial inside the cellar allows you to adjust the temperature according to your preferences and the wines you have placed inside. Remember that you will only be able to choose one temperature setting for all of the bottles inside this unit. Unlike dual zone coolers, this one will not allow you to set different temperatures for different bottles.
Making your life much easier than some other options, this cooler features pull-out shelves. Simply slide a shelf toward your to read the labels and select the right wine for your occasion.
The ultra-quiet thermal electric cooling unit built into this cellar means it will run virtually undetected, even to the trained ear. I have faith that I could even meditate in the same room as this thing without being disturbed by it, the way I would by one with a typical, traditional cooling system.
Visual Design Features
In our overall buying guide and other informative articles I often talk about how style isn’t as important as function. That being said, I know that style matters to many of you. After all, this wine cooler is going to take considerable space in your home and will be seen by your guests. It’s okay to think about what it looks like and how that affects the overall appearance of your room.
The tinted glass door on this cooler allows you to see inside while also adding to its subtle design. I could easily envision this cooler in any kitchen which already has dark or stainless steel appliances. It would blend in nicely while also adding a cool, contemporary feel. The height of the unit is also perfect for those of you who intend to fit this into your kitchen – it will slide nicely under your countertop without leaving an unsightly gap.
The sleek black exterior means that this will function well as a standalone unit, as well. You won’t need to hide it beneath the countertop of your kitchen if you don’t want to. In fact, it will make the perfect addition to any bar or dining room area. Adjustable feet allow you to make it perfectly level on uneven surfaces.
Adding further to its beautiful appearance, the glass door looks virtually frameless, because the company has chosen to hide the hinges from view. Personally, I find that this gives the cooler a very elegant design – one I would expect to find in an upscale restaurant.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Small Wine Cellars wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Small Wine Cellars
- №1 — NutriChef 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler / Chiller | Counter Top Red And White Wine Cellar | FreeStanding Refrigerator, Quiet Operation Fridge | Stainless Steel
- №2 — Ivation 8 Bottle Red And White WineThermoelectric Wine Cooler/Chiller Counter Top Wine Cellar with Digital Temperature Display, Freestanding Refrigerator Smoked Glass Door Quiet Operation Fridge
- №3 — Avanti 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Counter Top Wine Cooler – Model EWC1201