Most refrigerators have a wine rack, and for many people that will suffice - it will keep bottles chilled at a good temperature until they’re ready to be drunk. However good wine actually needs to be carefully looked after. Different varieties and colours require different temperatures for optimal storage. This is not just a split between red and white: for instance light-bodied white wine should be stored at 7-10C, while more fuller-bodied whites should be stored at 10-13C. You can find more information in this article by Decanter on proper wine temperature.
So if you have a collection of top-shelf bottles of wine - or are looking to start - you’ll want a wine cooler. These specialist fridges are designed specifically to store wine in an optimal condition - they can have numerous important advantages over standard refrigerators. These can include precise thermostats, multiple zones with different temperatures, UV-filtering glass, or humidity sensors. So today we’re looking at the best wine coolers you’ll want to buy if you planning on building a wine collection that Bernard Black would want to drink his way through!
Let’s start with a good starter model - Currys’ ‘Essentials’ range has a reasonable wine cooler that costs only a fraction of the other models reviewed here. The CWC8B15 has several racks to allow bottles to be laid down, and has digital controls to let you set the precise temperature you want the wine to be kept at.
This is quite a small wine cooler - it only has space for 8-10 bottles, but that should be enough for small families. However the CWC8B15 is lacking many of the features that are found in the other models reviewed here today - it doesn’t contain a humidifier or anti-vibration mechanism, and isn’t fitted with UV-filtering glass.
So it’s fairly barebones, but it’s also extremely cheap - a functional wine fridge for a fraction of the cost. It also has a very sleek design to it - the pure black has a clean design that would look excellent in a modern kitchen. While it isn’t fit for a proper wine collection, the CWC8B15 is a good small cheap cooler for transferring bottles out from your fridge into their own cooler to display them, or for easy drinking.
Maybe you still don’t have too many bottles in your collection, but you want them handled properly - the FWC153 is the wine cooler for you. Much like the CWC8B15 it is a small-capacity cooler - it only holds 7 bottles, but it holds them well.
Not only does it look snazzy, but the FWC153 is loaded with all the extras that the Essentials cooler didn’t have - it has both UV protection and anti-vibration technology to keep the wine in perfect condition and undisturbed. It also has several alarms to warn you if the door is ajar, or if the temperature moves outside of the set region. It’s not an exhaustive list of extras, but such technology goes a long way to helping keep expensive bottles of wine in the best condition for as long as you want. However it’s important to note there is no humidifier in the cooler, so you’ll have to monitor the humidity of the surroundings yourself.
As you’d expect though, the upgrade comes with an increased cost - the FWC153 costs significantly more than the CWC8B15, even though they have similar capacity. However you are getting far more tech for the money - this cooler will keep your wine in better condition for longer, making it a good choice for wine collectors with a small but valuable collection.
If your collection is growing, and you need a bigger solution to keep and display your wines, Haier have you covered. The WS30GA has a capacity of 30 bottles - significantly more than the CWC8B15 or FWC153, so all your bottles should fit with space to spare!
While the WS30GA is understandable more expensive than the smaller models, it comes with several helpful extras - anti-vibration tech and a UV-filtering door help keep the wine in pristine condition. There is also a useful LED light inside the cooler to help spotlight the bottles: all the better for showing off your collection!
The major problem with the WS30GA is that it only has a single temperature ‘zone’ - i.e the cooler has the same temperature throughout. For the smaller 8-10 capacity fridges it isn’t as much of a problem since they hold such few bottles, but for the WS30GA you would have space enough for your entire collection. However a single zone limits the wine that can be kept in the cooler - you wouldn’t want to keep both red and white wines effectively in the same temperature. For the price it’s a pity it doesn’t have 2 zones, but the rest of the model is excellent, and worth consideration.
Lastly, let’s look at the professional option. The CDA FWC604 is the by far the most expensive option on our list today, but it’s also the largest and most fully-featured. It has a massive capacity of 46 bottles: if you need to store more, you should probably look into getting an actual wine cellar installed!
As well as a hefty capacity for bottles, the FWC604 is also twin-zone - meaning it can support two different temperatures at once. This means that you can use this wine cooler to store multiple different varieties of wine - the top zone can be set to the optimum temperature for reds, while the bottom is set for champagne temperatures.
This alone makes the FWC064 a top-notch wine fridge, but it is also stuffed with numerous other features to help keep your wine in perfect condition. It has both UV-filtering glass on the doors and an anti-vibration system, and also contains a humidifier function. This allows you to monitor the humidity inside the wine cooler, keeping the bottles inside at the perfect humidity to prevent any long-term damage.
However as you probably guessed, all that space and technology is expensive. The FWC604 is easily the most expensive wine cooler we’ve looked at today, as so definitely won’t be on everybody’s shopping list. However if you are serious about building a large wine collection, it’s worth the investment to make sure your bottle are kept in the best condition they can be!