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.
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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!
Best for small spaces
Caple Sense Wi154 wine 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 7 bottles Dimensions H865 x W145 x D475mm Number of temperature zones 1 Features Anti-vibration technology, UV-protected glass door, reversible door, 44dB noise level
Best for under the counter
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
Best for a bit of both
John Lewis JLWF608 under counter wine cooler
Capacity 38 bottles Dimensions H865 x W595 x 573mm Number of temperature zones 2 Features TBC, 42dB noise level
Best for easy access
Smeg CVI618NX Dolce Stil Novo wine-cooler
This 45cm-high fridge can be slotted in at eye-level, so you don’t have to stoop to inspect and select your vintages. It’s a good option if you don’t have room for a standard 60cm-wide fridge but you still need space for a decent collection. It’s a beauty, too. Designed in Italy, the black glass can be complemented by your choice of steel or copper trim.
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Capacity 18 bottles Dimensions H451 x W588 x D554mm Number of temperature zones 1 Features UV-protected glass door, charcoal filter, telescopic shelves, 43dB noise level
Best for starting out
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 H820-888 x W295 x D570mm Number of temperature zones 1 Features UV-protected glass door, humidity control, reversible door, 39dB noise level
Best for long-term storage
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 10-12 more 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 1 Features Anti-vibration technology, UV-protected glass door, carbon filter, telescopic shelves, reversible door, 35dB noise level
Best for sommeliers
Miele KWT 6834 SGS 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 178 bottles 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
Best for style
Fisher & Paykel RF306RDWX1 wine cabinet
Budding buffs can store just over 10 cases of wine inside this dual-zone cooler. There’s a presentation shelf up top that tilts to show off your favourite five bottles, while UV glass and anti-vibration technology protect your plonk. There’s also a fan that ventilates the cabinet, keeping musty smells at bay.
Capacity 127 bottles Dimensions H1660 x W600 x D640mm Number of temperature zones 2 Features Anti-vibration technology, UV-protected glass door, 42dB noise level
A buyer’s guide to wine fridges
What size wine fridge do I need?
Wine fridges are available in anything from slimline, six-bottle 300mm wine fridges that can slot into an awkward gap between kitchen units to those capable of holding 200-plus reds or whites. You can also buy models that combine a regular fridge and freezer with dedicated wine storage.
Anyone new to the world of wine will probably only be buying a few bottles at a time, so a 6 to 18-bottle capacity will be just fine. If you’re more serious and buying by the case, we recommend a wine fridge with space for at least 40 bottles.
Just remember that the capacity of any fridge is given by the number of Bordeaux bottles it will hold, so you’ll fit less in if you’re storing Champagne or Burgundy. However, some models will come with wider racks or a tall shelf to store these larger bottles.
Wine temperatures – a quick guide
Unlike a standard fridge, a wine cooler gives the precision chill needed to keep your bottles at their best. A proper wine cabinet has one or more temperature-controlled zones that allow you to store your white, red and/or rose at exactly the right temperature to keep it in tip-top condition. Otherwise, if it’s too hot it will age faster and if it’s too cool, sediment will build up in the bottle.
If you only drink white, you can stick to a single-zone cooler, but if you love red and fizz, too, look for a model with two or three compartment that can be set to independent temperatures. Ideally, red should be stored at around 12-16˚C, and white at 10-12˚C.
Top Tip: To enjoy a strong red wine at its best, decant it into a carafe before serving.
What features will help preserve my wine better?
Any wine fridge worth its salt should have:
- UV-protected glass doors that keep out the sun’s rays. Exposure to sunlight will speed up the ageing process and potentially ruin your wine.
- Humidity controls, so that there’s enough moisture in the air to stop corks from drying out, but not so much that mould will grow. ‘Wines should ideally be stored at 60 to 70% humidity, which it’s possible to control in a wine cooler,’ says Twarita Arya, product manager for white goods at Haier. ‘Standard refrigerators are usually dry, with an average humidity level of 30 per cent.’
- Anti-vibration technology that stops the compressor in the cabinet from vibrating as it cools, so that bottle sediment is undisturbed and the wine tastes better.
- Charcoal filters remove any odours from the air that might taint your vino.
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Is shelving important?
According to Liebherr’s Mark Bristow, all wine should be stored horizontally to keep the cork from shrinking or cracking and allowing air to enter. Less expensive models will have fixed shelving, but top-range models boast telescopic shelves – these sit on rollers so they can be pulled right out of the fridge while remaining supported, so you can inspect your vintages more easily.
Look out, too, for a tilting presentation shelf where you can show off your prized vintages.