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If you have even a passing interest in music, you’re bound to notice that musicians tend to like their drinks. From the poetic imagery and cool tenor of “Norwegian Wood” to the uproarious, high-society “drinking song” from La Traviata, everyone from opera composers to the Beatles have made more than a passing reference to fine wine.
Wine is quickly becoming the drink of choice for millions of Americans.
In May of this year, the near-unthinkable was announced—we Yankees have become, statistically speaking, bigger wine drinkers and consumers than the longtime King of the Vines, France.
That shift is being reflected in a variety of ways.
Want grapes grown in the South of France? Perhaps, but there’s just as good a chance that the illustrious Napa Valley in Northern California is cultivating a wine that can compete in terms of everything from taste to prestige.
What about cost?
Prices have gone down for wine in the last decade thanks to a variety of factors, including the aforementioned rise of America-born vineyards that can boast a high-quality vintage.
Whether you enjoy a glass of red or white, the fact of the matter is—in an age where trending is an absolute must, wine drinking is the latest trend among alcohol connoisseurs, casual drinkers, and those just looking to enjoy a drink at home after work or at night on the town.
But no matter what vintage or taste you choose, you’re going to need somewhere to store your new purchases.
From fine merlots to a bottle of bubbly, you want a nice, cool, and classy fixture to store your bottles for special occasions, and that’s where the subject of wine coolers come in.
Wine coolers are, by the nature of their name, relatively self-explanatory, at least on the surface—they’re combo racks and storage units that allow one to chill or preserve their bottles in just the right condition for later use.
Thankfully, the search for great wine coolers has become easier than ever with the advent of online review sites and Amazon.com.
Foodal’s Top Picks
Here are five of the top wine coolers on the market, and how they can help ensure a crisp bottle of bubbly every time.
Haier 12-Bottle Dual Zone Curved Door with Smoked Glass Wine Cellar
Made by Haier, this wine cooler makes use of a standalone design to offer one of the best examples on the market.
This unit is vibration-free, meaning that you’ll be able to cool different bottles without either upsetting them or your guests with loud and disruptive vibrations, the result of “Ultra Quiet Thermal Electric Cooling” design.
This is a cooler that serves whites and reds equally well, and the elegant curved door and smoked glass front make this a highly stylish option.
That’s an element that’s all too often overlooked in the construction of coolers, and one you’re going to want to take into account.
Form and function are of course both important when it comes to finding wine racks and coolers, but too often modern coolers eschew the former in favor of an amped-up approach to the latter.
As any great wine lover will tell you, both form and function are absolutely essential when it comes to its cultivation and consumption—a good vintage has to be “technically” perfect, with everything from the vines and grapes to the cork and bottle carefully processed, but without that elegance in form, that artistic, aesthetically-pleasing quality is lost.
Thankfully, this model from Haier is nicely proportioned, sturdy without being massive, and featuring an elegantly-shaped curved door with exquisite smoked glass, a black cabinet design and an overall sleek black trim.
On the function side of things, this unit boasts dual touch controls and 2 LED displays, both nice (if relatively standard) features for higher end domestic coolers of this size.
With 6 fill-width chrome storage racks, this model not only keeps your bottles secure and in place, but likewise ensures that they’re spaced out. With only two bottles per row, each bottle has more space.
You can also independently adjust different areas within the unit; the upper compartments are capable of a temperature range of 46-66F while the lower compartment can reach temperatures of 54-66F.
All in all, this is an excellent option for those looking for a top of the line domestic wine cooler. Read real customer reviews at Amazon now.
Haier 8-Bottle Bottle Wine Cellar with Electronic Controls
Another unit by Haier, this, in one sense, may be seen as a slightly smaller version of the above 12-bottle wine cellar.
As the name might suggest, this model also utilizes electronic controls, which really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
This is a relatively standard feature for most cellars and coolers, but that doesn’t take anything away from the actual performance of this option from Haier.
An option may be “standard,” but if it’s executed or implemented in a sub-par fashion, then the unit (and those purchasing it) are likely to suffer for it.
Thankfully, that’s not the case here, as this, like the model above, represents a nice fusion of form and function—just in a slightly more miniature scale, both in terms of size and price.
So if you’re happy keeping just 8 bottles or less in a cellar instead of 12, or feel that a smaller design is a better choice for your overall home décor, this is another great option from Haier.
In fact, it’s so compact, that it might even be ideal for countertop use in some kitchen or interior design arrangements, and that sleek black finish can really go a long way to adding a touch of class to any dining or living room area. Read real customer reviews at Amazon.
NewAir AW-181E Space Saver 18 Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler Review
This massive stainless steel beauty is truly a wine lover’s dream.
If you’re truly a connoisseur and want to store multiple vintages, or just want to really stock up on your favorite red or white, this cooler offers wine storage for up to 18 bottles, offering you more storage options than a lot of the other domestic cooling options on the market.
In terms of aesthetics, this unit is give and take, and like that age-old question of red of white, it’s going to largely come down to a matter of taste.
On the one hand, this model, made by NewAir, boasts a nice stainless steel finish that looks clean and can really shine with the right lighting.
On the other hand, as opposed to the models listed above, this unit is a bit boxier and not quite as elegant.
That’s not too much of a criticism, however, as this is still a very fine unit, and one that clearly puts function ahead of form—and in that respect, it succeeds, pulling out all the stops a good wine cooler has to in order to get ahead in this oh-so-competitive market.
For starters, this model from NewAir boasts thermoelectric cooling technology, which is always a plus.
Even better, the door is insulated, locking in that cool, crisp temperature and ensuring maximum preservation and protection for your precious merlots and cabernet sauvignons inside.
Another plus is that this door reduces UV penetration, meaning that you can store this cooler in an open, sun-kissed part of your home and not have to worry about the damaging effects the sunlight or heat might have on the bottles inside.
This unit is also relatively silent, and vibration-free.
While it’s certainly a larger unit than those above—as you might expect from its extra holding capacity—it’s still relatively compact, and its freestanding design allows you to more easily move and store this model.
A particularly nice feature is the ability to custom chill your different vintages. This can especially come in handy if you want to store reds and whites alike, or are storing whites that require different temperatures for optimal taste. If you take a look a the reviews at Amazon, you’ll find that this is truly a great product.
Danby 36 Bottle Freestanding Wine Cooler Review
For the true collector out there that simply needs a cooler worthy of being considered a small wine cellar unto itself, this outing from Danby is a must.
Boasting an impressive carrying capacity of 6 shelves, each of which can hold 5 bottles, in addition to secondary shelves beneath those near the bottom, this Danby model will allow you to store 36 of your best pinot noirs and zinfandels, all while keeping this large, sturdy unity freestanding and moveable.
The exterior of this cooler is relatively simple, taking a “less is more” approach, one certainly not matched by its truly impressive carrying capacity.
Danby’s cooler has a cool, simple silver, stainless steel finish, one not too dissimilar to one you might expect to see for a refrigerator.
In terms of aesthetics, however, this one really is more beautiful on the inside.
The Blue LED interior lighting is a particularly nice touch, bathing your beverages in complimentary light that not only makes viewing and selection easy, but also adds a little bit of flair and even sophistication to the unit.
Add to that black wire shelving, a recessed-style pocket handle for easy opening, and a window that, like the above model, provides ample protection for UV rays, and you have a model that, while potentially unwieldy for those looking to just chill a handful of bottles, is a definite option for those looking to maintain a fully-stocked cellar’s worth of wine. Available at Amazon and other fine retailers.
HOMEIMAGE DUAL-ZONE Thermo Electric Wine Cooler Review
Finally, we conclude with this offering from HomeImage. In one respect, this outing is somewhat similar to the 18 bottle NewAir offering described above—for one thing, they both share the same carrying capacity, and boast good, solid electronic LED controls and easy-to-control chilling.
In addition to dual pane glass, HomeImage’s wine cooler offers an adjustable range from 44 to 64F on top and 51 to 64 on the bottom.
While perhaps not having as many as the internal bells and whistles as the NewAir system, HomeImage’s offering sports an extremely sleek black trim that favors comparably with the NewAir model, and is perfect for anyone looking to add that little extra dash of style and panache to their dining room or cellar area décor.
Add to that dual zones for reds and whites, and you have an extremely solid outing by HomeImage.
Its high marks on Amazon are also a much higher than average rating for this product category.
So, what have we learned at the end of our examination of some of the finest wine coolers on the market?
For starters, you’re going to want to be clear about what kind of storage size or capacity you’re interested in, and to do that you’re going to have to ask yourself—how, and for what reasons, do you want to drink wine?
After all, if you’re interested in just keeping a few properly stored and chilled for use when friends come over for a casual drink, chances are one of the two countertop options will be more suited for you than the larger, more complete cellar-like units that can hold 18 or 36 bottles all told.
On the flip side of that, if you’re looking to collect, or are a real wine aficionado and plan to not just store numerous bottles from numerous years, but do so over a series of years as part of an ongoing collection, then chances are investing in one of those larger units is going to be more your taste.
Speaking of taste, you’re also going to want to consider what kind of wine you prefer—if you just want to chill a few whites, the smaller units may be your thing.
Whereas if you’re looking to keep both reds and whites and do so in carefully controlled and independently-chilled or maintained chambers, then you’re going to want to look into the NewAir offering as well as the larger coolers.
No matter what you choose, these five fantastic wine coolers give you an exceptional range of options so you can chill and maintain your fine wines with style!
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!