Even if you don’t do a lot of entertaining, this is a good item to have or to give as a gift because it does a bottle good. It keeps the wine at the proper temperature and allows for the perfect serving temperature.
Most wine cellars have adjustable thermostats and shelves to make them versatile. And they come in so many colors they will fit almost anywhere in your home and look wonderful.
Vinotemp Wine Cooler
You know good wine storage is essential for both drinking everyday and for the long-term aging of the vintage. And the people at Vinotemp, I believe, have put great effort into caressing those bottles at the perfect temperature in a 12 bottle wine cooler that is tough to beat.
In fact, wine drinkers who know their vintage rave about the Vinotemp, not because of the great price and durability, but because the unit actually does what it supposed to do, with no worrying.
Cuisinart Wine Cellar
This is a masterpiece in wine storage. Cuisinart studied how you keep your wine and how that affects how it develops in the bottle.
So with that in mind their 12 bottle wine cooler has preset temperature settings and something I loved when I saw it because I know how the vibration of the chiller on a lot of these refrigerators can affect the wine; they have a dampening mechanism to keep the vibration to a minimum.
12 Bottle Wine Cellar
You probably already know that if you’re going to store your wine for any length of time that the wine should come in contact with the cork. With a 12 bottle wine cellar, they do.
Bottles lay flat keeping the cork moist and preventing oxidation that can make what would be awesome wine taste bitter. I often wondered why wine at Costco is stored upright for the most part, but I suppose that it doesn’t stay on the shelf very long, so it’s not an issue.
Most portable wine cellars such as this one have room for a couple of bottles to stand upright so you can chill and use them. All of the racks are removable to clean and adjust to the height you need them.
Wine Cooler Reviews – Best Wine Cooler 2017
Wine stores best in a wine cellar around 55 degrees and so what wine refrigeration does, like the 12 bottle wine cooler, is to imitate that environment as closely as possible.
A kitchen refrigerator isn’t good for this because the temperatures fluctuate wildly every time someone opens the door. Wine wants a constant temperature and when things aren’t just right, it can spoil.
Ever have that bitter taste with a wine you swore was awesome? So investing in wine refrigeration is not only smart, but protecting your investment.
1. Wine Refrigeration
A little history on wine storage. Through trial and error, like most things, people began finding that storing wine in a cool place let it age so much better than at room temperature, or fluctuating temperatures. Storing wine started in underground caves in Europe.
Caves were found to have consistent temperature. It would be totally cool to find some old bottles of wine is some long forgotten cave in Europe. Who knows? Today all wine is stored this way; in modern wine cellars. And the ideal temperature you want to store your wine at is 55-58 degrees and around 55-75 percent relative humidity. That is your target. Let’s look at some wine refrigeration points.
Did you know that wine actually breathes through the cork? It’s true. That’s how it ages, by breathing and sitting. And nothing is worse that highly fluctuating temperatures.
This ages the wine quickly. And not in a good way. Just like when you leave a glass of wine out overnight, it becomes bitter when it oxidizes. Yes, wine needs to breathe, or to oxidize to mature, but it has to be done just right. Too high temperature and the wine oxidizes too quickly. Too cold and it takes forever to mature.
Next, in wine refrigeration, humidity plays a big role. As I said, 55 to 75 percent is the ideal range to age wine at. Anything over that, say 80 and higher, will cause mold to form.
And lower than 55 causes the wine to leave the bottle and air to get in the mix. Not good. What you want to look for in a system is one that keeps the wine at 55 to 75 percent humidity and around 55 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit.
What I recommend at this point is to search for wine refrigeration units and to make sure they fall into the ranges that I mentioned above. To do this, it’s as simple as searching some websites that offer wine coolers or wine refrigerators.
I try to find the ones offering a discount or offering free shipping. That always helps as these units are heavy. Read some of the other entries on this site to get a handle on what unit to buy. Most of the wine cooler units are plagued with problems.
Establish a relationship with one of the vendors online so you can ask about warranties and exchanges if your unit dies. Finding a unit that will fill your needs can be done with a little search. There are a few websites that sales or are big distributors of wine refrigeration units here in the United States.
Experts abound so do your homework so you’ll know exactly what you want when it comes time to choose. And don’t forget the free shipping offer I mentioned. Ask, if it is not prominently posted on their website. You never know and you might save yourself some money.
2. Vinotemp Wine Cooler
The Vinotemp 12 Bottle Wine Cooler is a wonderful product for the price. If you’ve ever owned a wine cellar or cooler, and keep up with the trade, you know Vinotemp is top shelf. There are two zones in the Vinotemp Wine Cooler which can be varied between 44 and 66 degrees.
The cabinet is done smartly and will fit into any decor. One of the nicest features I found while reviewing this product is that there is no obtrusive panel that would get soiled through use. The LED touch pad is on the inside, so you can clean the outside of the unit without fear of changing the temperatures or humidity.
One of my favorite features of the Vinotemp Wine Cooler is that there is practically no vibration. As you may know, wine must be stored where it will encounter little to no vibration because movement can have a detrimental affect on wine.
This particular unit uses a thermoelectric cooling device that simply doesn’t vibrate and has no noise because there isn’t a compressor. You’ll find other models are noisier and do vibrate the wine on the racks.
The fact is, if you spend thousands of dollars a year on your wine, you need to invest in something that will protect your investment. Keeping wine close to where you entertain is possible with the Vinotemp Wine Cooler.
You can place the unit where you will need it the most because empty it really isn’t that heavy. Please do your due diligence when researching wine cellars.
I did find that compared to a few of the other 12 bottle wine coolers on the market that the wire racks on the Vinotemp Wine Cooler are thinner, more flimsy, but still plenty strong to hold the wine in place.
In checking the two zone temperatures, I found they stuck pretty close, within a degree or two, of the number indicated on the LED panel. That is great and you will probably note that the Vinotemp doesn’t run as much as the other 12 bottle units out there.
There have been a few problems with units, especially Vinotemp’s VT-12TEDS, with users reporting the cooling unit stopping after a about 12 months. When this happens, the thermoelectric unit simply heats up and can definitely spoil your wine.
Vinotemp can sell a new cooling module for around $50. So make sure the retailer you buy this from will stand behind at least a year-long warranty on the product. You certainly don’t want your wine spoiling and it appears this has been an ongoing problem with the VT-12TEDS unit.
The Vinotemp Wine Cooler is made for normal sized wine bottles. If you have Pinot Noir, it may not fit into the unit. In addition, champagne bottles will not fit because of their length. If you pull the Vinotemp racks out, they will not stop and do come all the way out. Use care here so you don’t have the rack on your feet.
Find a vendor that will honor a 12 month warranty on the product and will offer you free shipping on the Vinotemp Wine Cooler.
3. Cuisinart Wine Cellar
Here’s the deal – you want to keep your wine at the optimum temperature and have it perfect for when you want to drink it. Because not everyone is blessed with a wine cellar with perfect conditions, i.e. not only temperature but humidity as well, in comes a handful of manufacturers of the portable, cute, 12 bottle or more, wine cellars.
And Cuisinart normally does a decent job on creating the right equipment for the right job in the kitchen, with everything from mixers to portable dicer’s. However, not everyone is happy with their entry into the 12 bottle Cuisinart Wine Cellar.
The unit comes with eight presets that are calculated, and well documented for proper wine serving and well, storage of the drink for your red wines and your white wines. I am happy to write that you can also make this adjustment manually, should you not like the presets.
One advantage of the Cuisinart Wine Cellar is that you can have bottles of wine chilling, and available where you set up the wine cellar, instead of having to trot off to the larger wine cellar, should you have one of those. This cellar measures 16 inches high and deep, so it should do well with all sizes of bottles.
There are four sliding shelves in the unit which are changeable. I think Cuisinart did this simply so you could get the unit clean if you wanted to. A trusty electronic thermostat displays the temperature in centigrade or Fahrenheit and I easily saw if the cellar actually did get down to the setting I selected. It was within a few degrees.
There is a three year warranty on the unit I saw and felt this was much better than most of the cellars out there because most quit just after a year in service.
Problems with the Cuisinart Wine Cellar include condensation problems with the plastic tray that sits in the bottom of the unit filling up with water every few days. This happens when the chilling unit on the cellar malfunctions. Unfortunately, this can ruin good wine by overheating it as well.
It seems whatever plagues most of the 12 bottle wine coolers is what plagues this one, as well. The chiller works for a few months and then simply dies. It then acts like it is working but instead doesn’t do anything, and sometimes heats the interior of the cellar.
It all boils down to the thermoelectric cooling device that some of these units employ. I really feel they come from the same manufacturer because they all fail the same way and at the same time – 8 to 12 months out. Problems with the Cuisinart CWC 1200 12 bottle wine cooler are well documented and it’s my advice to stay away from this unit.
4. 12 Bottle Wine Cellar
If you’ve been shopping for a 12 bottle wine cellar you already know that no ordinary cooler will do. The reason why they are given the name cellar is because the market wanted to distinguish these coolers from the one you drink.
You know wine storage is critical, and that’s why you’re here to check out recommendations on the popular units. These are great devices when they are working, but they are plagued with problems because of a single issue.
In order to chill wine to the proper temperature, and to have it sit at the proper humidity, like a wine cellar, so it tastes like we’re used to – come to think of it – the moment wine leaves the wine cellar for consumption, i.e. from the darkness of some cellar in California, France or Italy, it takes quite a journey.
The big deal with wine, or so they tell us, is that it stores better when it is totally still, not shaken. I am not sure what the pros would say about when wine is transported to various countries. Surely it must take a toll on the vintage.
But that is just the reason 12 bottle wine cellar manufacturers claim they must put in a thermoelectric (no moving parts) chiller rather than the normal compressor and gas unit. You see, the thermoelectric does not vibrate, so the wine does not get moved.
It’s easy to make a small cabinet for a refrigerator for these 12 bottle wine cellars. Small refrigerator manufacturers have been doing this for quite some time. A little modification and they are ready to be fitted with the chiller unit.
The major problem in all of these units has been that the thermoelectric unit does not hold up under continuous use. It breaks down around the 8 month mark and you either have to replace it with another one or junk the cellar. If you find this to be untrue, drop me a line here using the contact us link above right.
Searching, but I’ve yet to find a wine cellar that uses any other technology for the 12 bottle size. However, some of the larger wine cellars have a better track record and would be my recommendation. There is no best of the best, but there are many 12 bottle wine cellars on the market.
What I would do if you must have one of these is to find an online retailer that will honor a 12 month warranty, has an 800 number, and has been selling these for a while. Try to get free shipping if you can and just know that you may have to be sending the unit back or replacing the chiller parts in about eight months.