Nothing seems to confuse consumers more than the wine cooler category in home appliances. With prices ranging from the few hundred dollars to the few thousands, many people are left wondering why such a huge swing in pricing for something that is essentially keeping bottles cold.
Oh, but there’s so much more too it than that.
Proper Storage of Fine Wine
If you want to chill a bottle of white wine, a refrigerator will work just fine. You don’t need a fancy wine chiller to get your bottle chardonnay ice cold before you serve it. (Not that you should ever serve white wine ice cold, but this is what many people do.)
Wine preservation is a different beast entirely.
Holding and/or aging fine wine requires a specialized environment, as the goal is to slow down the chemical reactions in the wine to allow it to develop slowly into more complex aromas and taste notes. The colder the storage temperature, the slower the wine develops.
The storage condition has huge implications on the development of a wine.
Essential Storage Factors:
- Vibrations and movement want to be kept to a minimum
- Temperature choice and consistency is key
- UV rays must be neutralized
So if your wine collection is important to you, these storage factors are everything and your machine must work to take each of them into account.
Here we chosen three of the best tall wine coolers on the market today. They represent the varying levels of price vs. quality, and no matter your budget, we believe you can’t go wrong with one of these units.
In this article of tall wine cooler ratings, we see that they can come in many different sizes, but in developing our list we’ve tried to keep the sizes as close as possible across the board.
The Top Dog
Sub-Zero Wine Cooler, Integrated Dual Zone IW-30
You can search, but you will find no other brand whose name commands such attention. Sub-Zero is without a doubt the flagship refrigeration and wine preservation manufacturer. Nothing reflects “attention to detail” quite like the new Sub-Zero IW-30 Wine Cooler.
While Sub-Zero does offer many different model sizes and applications, today we will be looking at the Integrated model which comes panel-ready out of the box or you can purchase a matching stainless steel door front. This model can only be installed within custom cabinetry. It does not have the option to install as a freestanding appliance.
Two separate, independently controlled temperature zones feature their own evaporators for optimal humidity levels to keep the corks from drying out. The advanced microprocessor system holds the temperature within 1 degree F, a big plus for those wine connoisseurs who aim to age their wine for a decade or more within this machine.
Temperature variation is always a concern.
All the Sub-Zero wine coolers now have the ability to be wired up directly to a persons home alarm system. And yet… door locks are still an optional extra?
Beautiful rod iron racking system is laid out in a way that accepts many different size bottles comfortably. And a new labeling system is included which uses these beautiful metal squares which can be placed on various racks to label different sections of variatals.
- Soft-on LED-lit, dark interior cavity.
- Dual Evaporators
- UV Resistant Copper Tinted Glass
- Home Security System connection
- 146 bottle storage capacity
- Lit Display rack for featuring prized bottles
- Digital temperature control, from 38F to 68F
- Unique tile labeling system for inventory control
- Rigorously tested at factory to last decades of use
- Warranty: 2 Year Full Warranty, 5 Year Sealed System, 12 Year Limited Sealed System
- Price: $7,000. +/-
Sub-Zero continues to build one of the finest wine coolers on the market, if not the finest. When you factor in not only their impeccable build-quality, but also Sub-Zero’s impressive 24/7 customer service network its no wonder it continues to be the most sought after wine cooler for new Kitchens everywhere.
Best Bang for Your Buck
Liebherr Wine Cooler, Freestanding WS17800
This unit by Liebherr in Germany stands out for many reasons.
Price, performance, all around versatility – all in one single model.
There are no variants. No options. It is refreshing in its simplicity and longevity. The Liebherr WS17800 has been in service now for over a decade, and is still one of the best sellers of the entire Liebherr line-up. It is so well received, Miele continues to use it as the basis of their fancier and more expensive KWT 6832 SGS Wine Cooler.
The Liebherr Freestanding Wine Cooler comes in 27″ wide by 75″ tall, and is wrapped in stainless steel on all sides. It has the ability to function as a freestanding machine in a room, or be built into cabinetry. It’s integrated hinging system keeps its door swing from extending outside of its space.
For less than $6,000. this machine not only manages to offer two different installation applications but also gives you 3 different temperature zones, an integrated lock (which most companies only offer as a up-charge) and moderate UV protection.
- LED-lit, dark interior cavity.
- Compressor sits on a vibration reduction system
- 178 Bottle Capacity
- 10 roll-out wooden shelves
- Integrated childproof lock in door
- Reversible Door hinge
- Activated Charcoal Air Filter
- Digital temperature control, from 41F to 68F
- Soft door closing mechanism
- Warranty: 2 year Bumper to Bumper, 5 Year Comprehensive, and 12 year Limited
- Price: $5,719.
Price vs. Performance are what gets this machine the high score it deserves, but it’s not all rosy. A few things you should consider before buying: In our experience the temperature holds within a range close to the desired setting, but it will not hold it exactly within 1 degree. The storage racks are made entirely of wood, and while we appreciate the natural elements it leaves the interior quality feeling slightly cheap compared to the rest of the lineup.
For a typical home or residence with a large wine collection, or for the amateur wine collector, this machine provides a powerful feature-set that blows away many other Chinese-made machines (see Summit).
For a smaller option, see their innovative new model: Liebherr Drop Door Wine Cooler Review
For the Budget-Minded Wine Enthusiast
Vinotemp Wine Cooler, Dual Zone, VT-DS300SS-2Z
The Vinotemp units offer by far the most economical choice for those looking for a tall wine tall wine cooler without having to buy a unit made entirely in China.
Their Dual-Zone, 300 bottle (!) wine cooler is not perfect, but it hits all the right notes and for just the right price. Their much touted 300 bottle capacity is suspect, and while we believe it is “feasible” to fit 300 bottles of wine in this unit, it is very unlikely you go to the trouble to figure out how to fill it that tight.
The Vinotemp VT-DS300SS-2Z is the only one out of the three units featured in this article with dual-pane of glass with argon gas in-between to negate the effects of UV light on the wine.
This is a feature Sub-Zero wine coolers had for many years, but they’ve since gone the way of coating their glass for UV protection. Both solutions take care of the problem, however it does sound far more sophisticated when you tell your wine friends you have argon gas shielding your wine.
The wine racks on this unit are a little different than the others, there are wooden grooves in the racks to hold the wines in place, and bright blue LED lighting to keep the interior illuminated.
The Vinotemp Wine Cooler also has the ability to be installed both as a freestanding wine cooler or as a built-in model. Temperature range on this model is not as good as on the Wolf or the Liebherr. Currently, Vinotemp lists the temperature range between 54° F – 65° F.
- 300 (claimed) Bottle Capacity
- Wood lipped shelving
- VinotempBlu LED lighting, inhibits bacteria and mold growth
- Built-In or Freestanding Application
- Argon insulated glass for UV protection
- 8 roll-out racks
- Security Lock included
- Warranty: 1 Year Parts and Labor, 5 Years on the Sealed System
- Price: $3,999.
An excellent choice for the budget minded wine enthusiast, this model is impressive in the amount of wine it can store. The price is really a steal when you compare it to the equivalently featured options.
The blue LED lights do look cheap, and the racking system pales in comparison with the Sub-Zero and Liebherr – but the unit shines at its price point.