Which wine chillers are best?
To really enjoy your favorite wine, it’s not just about finding the right glass or aerating it for the right amount of time — you also have to get it to the right temperature. With a wine chiller, it’s easy to chill your wine and keep it cool for hours.
Wine chillers are available in several different styles, from sleeves to buckets. Depending on the model, these can keep wine cold from just a few hours up to six. If you’re looking for a wine chiller that cools a bottle quickly, the Vacu Vin Prestige Tabletop Wine Cooler is the top model.
What to know before you buy a wine chiller
Nearly all wine chillers can hold a standard 750 ml bottle. They typically cover the body of the bottle but leave the neck exposed for easy access. The chiller is slightly wider than the wine bottle, though, so it easily fits inside. Some even have enough room to add ice around the wine.
You can also find some higher-end, insulated chillers that are composed of two pieces. Their top and bottom screw together, so generally the user puts the wine bottle inside the bottom and places the top over the bottle’s neck. Some of these chillers have handles or a lip around the rim to make them easier to carry, but the majority feature a simple cylinder design.
Stainless steel is the most common material for a wine chiller. It’s incredibly durable and can help the wine maintain a cool temperature. Other chillers feature marble or glass, though, because those materials also have highly insulative properties. Marble and glass chillers typically are more expensive, though.
The majority of wine chillers use ice to cool the wine inside them. You place a bottle of already chilled wine inside the chiller and then surround it with ice. Smaller pieces of ice like crushed or chipped ice are more effective than cubes for chilling because they fit better between the bottle and the inside of the chiller.
You can find some chillers that don’t require ice, which is usually more convenient to use and creates less mess. Some of these chillers are cooled themselves in the fridge or freezer before use, while others utilize a freezer insert that sits around the bottle inside the chiller.
It can take up to six hours for these types of wine chillers to fully chill, though, so you have to plan ahead to use them. Many are better suited for keeping an already chilled bottle of wine cool than for chilling a bottle of wine from room temperature.
Ice buckets aren’t exactly wine chillers, but they can also help chill a bottle of wine. A bucket has a wide body and rim, so it can fit plenty of ice and a bottle at the same time. Buckets usually have a more ornate appearance too.
It’s essential to understand the ideal temperature for different types of wine, so you know how long to leave them in the chiller.
- Sparkling wine. Wine with bubbles, like Champagne and prosecco, tastes best when served between 38 and 45 degrees. Some high-end sparkling wines should be served at the higher end of the range.
- White wine. These usually taste best when served between 44 and 55 degrees. Acidic varieties should be kept at the lower end of the temperature range.
- Light or fruity red wine. Varietals like pinot noir and zinfandel are best served between 53 and 63 degrees, so they usually take 15 minutes in a chiller.
- Full-bodied reds. Most of these wines should be served between 60 and 68 degrees. Don’t leave the bottle in the chiller while you’re drinking the wine, or it may get too cold.
What to look for in a quality wine chiller
Most wine chillers are made of stainless steel, but there’s still some variation in their appearance. Marble wine chillers have an elegant look, but are extremely heavy and can be pricey. Some insulated models feature glass, which allows you to see the bottle through the chiller. You can also find insulated chillers with engravings or other ornamentations that give a more attractive appearance.
For the most striking wine chiller, you may want to consider a model that includes a stand. They’re similar to the chillers or ice buckets used at restaurants, but can be used at home for dinner parties or other festive occasions.
A chiller with a stand allows easy access to your wine and frees up space on your table. You can also use a chiller and stand in the bedroom or bathroom for more intimate occasions.
How much you can expect to spend on a wine chiller
Wine chillers usually cost between $10 and $50. Those that sell for less than $20 are typically simple stainless-steel models, but higher-quality models will go for $20-$30. If you want a marble or glass wine chiller or a model with a stand, though, expect to pay more than $30.
Wine chiller FAQ
How long should wine be chilled?
A. It usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes in a wine chiller to chill a room-temperature bottle of white wine. A bottle of sparkling wine typically takes a little less time. In a fridge, it generally takes an hour or two to chill the wine.
For the best results, though, store white wine in your fridge until you’re ready to drink it. Red wine should be kept in a cool, dry spot like a closet.
What should I do with wine that’s too cold?
A. Wine that’s too cold can have muted flavors and aromas. The best way to warm it up is to leave it out at room temperature and wait for it to return to the optimal drinking temperature. If you don’t have time to wait, a warm water bath can help quickly bring up the temperature.
What are the best wine chillers to buy?
Top wine chiller
What you need to know: This sleek-looking model works quickly and can keep a bottle chilled for up to four hours.
What you’ll love: It’s extremely easy to use. Its sharp appearance makes it look much more expensive than it actually is. It has a compact design, so it can fit easily on most bar carts. It doesn’t require ice, which limits the mess from condensation.
What you should consider: It has a gel insert that must be frozen before use. Not all wine bottles will fit this cooler.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top wine chiller for the money
What you need to know: This elegant glass wine chiller is stunning on any tabletop and makes an excellent gift for wine enthusiasts.
What you’ll love: The glass construction allows you to see the wine bottles through the chiller, so it’s easy to tell when a wine bottle is almost empty. Its dual-layer glass prevents condensation. It boasts an attractive price tag.
What you should consider: It doesn’t accommodate large Champagne bottles. It works best to keep already-chilled wine cool.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This simple chiller has a sleek look and can keep your wine cool for hours.
What you’ll love: The stainless-steel construction is durable and effective. It comes with four inserts to help you get the perfect temperature for your wine. The inserts can be chilled in the fridge or freezer. It can keep wine chilled for up to six hours.
What you should consider: The inserts can freeze unevenly, so they may be difficult to reinsert in the chiller.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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