If you like wine, but not so much that you're ready to invest in a walk-in wine cellar, a wine chiller is a good way to go. Sales of these appliances, which are also known as wine refrigerators or wine coolers, have been growing as Americans drink more reds, whites, and roses. We tested several under-counter and freestanding wine chillers with capacities ranging from 32 to 54 standard bottles.
Despite their small size—under-counter wine chillers are generally 34 inches high by 24 inches wide; freestanding models are narrower—some cost about as much as a full-sized refrigerator. Most excelled at maintaining uniform temperatures, which is essential for keeping your favorite tipples in tip-top condition. More companies are producing two-zone wine chillers, which offer greater flexibility in storing sparkling, white, rosé, and red wines at different temperatures. (Single-compartment models count on colder air settling to the bottom of the unit to provide various temperature zones.) "You wouldn't buy an antique car and leave it out in the driveway," Gary Vaynerchuk of the Wine Library, one of the biggest online wine retailers in the country, said. "People are investing more and more money in wine and having the ability to store that wine properly is massively important."
How to Choose
- Pay Attention to Uniformity
- Take a Close Look at Shelving
- Factor in the Noise
- Don't Disregard Energy Use
- Consider These Other Features