The Best Wine Refrigerators Are Sleek and Keep Your Precious Bottles Safe From Spoilage
They make you feel a bit fancy, too.
Updated Sep 12, 2022 5:47 PM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.“ That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’ve been storing your wine at room temperature or higher, you might be spoiling your bottles in the long term (read: you definitely are). Not just for sommeliers and oenophiles, the best wine refrigerators are household appliances for wine drinkers from all walks of life, regardless if you’re sipping a budget-friendly Vinho Verde or an aged Burgundy. “When bottles get too hot, the wine can spoil and turn to vinegar,” says Parcelle cofounder Grant Reynolds. “Think of it like leaving ice cream out of the freezer—it won’t kill you, but it’s just not the same experience.”
And aside from making sure your wine doesn’t taste like vinegar, the best wine coolers make the delicate process of storage and organization a simple feat. If you’re feeling convinced that it’s time to reroute your collection from the kitchen counter to a temperature-controlled environment, read on to find out which ones topped our list, with advice from industry experts on the ins and outs of incorporating this beverage staple into a well-designed space.
- Best overall: Hisense Wine Cooler
- Best value: Wine Enthusiast Wine Cooler
- Best dual zone: Zephyr Presrv Dual Zone Wine Cooler
- Best compact: Smith & Hanks Wine Refrigerator
- Best shelving: Eurocave Pure S Wine Cellar
- Best under-counter: KitchenAid Wine Cellar
- Best splurge: LG Wine Cellar Refrigerator
Best Overall: Hisense Wine Cooler
Zone type: Single | Bottle capacity: 54 | Installation: Built-in or freestanding
What we like:
- Shelves close gently
- Competitively priced considering design and storage capacity
- Energy-efficient glass
- Single zone
Why we chose it: Store more than 50 bottles in this sleek fridge that’s quiet as a church mouse.
We tested one of Hisense’s wine refrigerators for a previous review of dual-zone wine fridges and have continued to be impressed with the brand’s strong performance. This 54-bottle stainless steel model gets our best overall vote and comes in a built-in or freestanding version. It’s designed with six sliding shelves that are smooth, quiet, and don’t disrupt the bottles, while a reversible door offers flexibility and energy-efficient glass filters out unwanted light, like UV rays. The temperature range is 41 to 68 degrees and can be controlled via a LED digital panel. Despite being a high-performing wine fridge, it’s supremely quiet—so there’s no distracting buzzing or humming to worry about. Our only caveat? The dual-zone fridge is currently out of stock, so if you have your heart set on that functionality, this single-zone might not cut it.
Best Value: Wine Enthusiast Wine Cooler
Zone type: Dual | Bottle capacity: 32 | Installation: Freestanding
What we like:
- Under $500
- Dual zone
- Smaller capacity is great for new collectors
- Designed with scalloped chrome shelving
- Freestanding only
Why we chose it: Enjoy the flexibility of two temperature zones with this easy-on-the-wallet wine fridge.
Wine Enthusiast has been a trusted name in the beverage industry for more than 40 years and, as such, is one of the best wine fridge brands out there. Its diverse collection of wine coolers also happens to include this modestly priced model at just under $500. It might be the best value on our list, but it’s not without pro features: It can store 32 bottles and the dual-zone functionality means you can set the zones to different temperatures, which comes in handy for keeping certain bottles colder and ready to serve on the fly. It also uses a compressor cooling technology, as opposed to a thermoelectric system, which is better for maintaining stable temperatures. A couple of things to keep in mind: It’s designed to be freestanding only, so you won’t have the option to build it into your existing cabinetry. Also the shelves are a scalloped chrome design rather than wood-front paneling, which make for an industrial aesthetic that might not be everyone’s favorite.
Best Dual Zone: Zephyr Presrv Dual Zone Wine Cooler
Zone type: Dual | Bottle capacity: 45 | Installation: Freestanding or built-in
What we like:
- Reversible door
- Whisper quiet
- Shelves at different heights to accommodate different size bottles
- ADA-compliant option
- Sizable for a freestanding fridge
- Bottom shelf doesn’t slide out
Why we chose it: A roomy dual-zone wine fridge that looks just as good freestanding as it does customized to your cabinetry.
If you, like Domino’s deputy commerce editor, Samantha Weiss-Hills, regularly host with wine or love to stock up on bottles from your travels, Zephyr’s wine coolers should be on your radar. Its dual-zone fridge comes in several variations: original, French door, full size, panel ready, pro, and ADA compliant. The original’s sleek stainless steel reversible door is finished with dual-pane glass that stays superclear when closed, allowing you to easily peek inside at your inventory. It fits up to 45 bottles, but that number probably depends on what you tend to drink—Pinot Noir bottles are bulkier than those of Riesling. (To note: The bottom shelf that stores six bottles is stationary.)
Chic stainless steel–fronted, wood-slat shelves glide in and out smoothly so you don’t have to worry about anything wiggling around, and each zone has two different shelf heights. The temperature panel is easy to control but not sensitive—it requires a bit of intention. And the lighting has three different colors (we prefer the amber for its restaurant wine-cave vibes) and two different settings (automatic, which fades off when the door is closed, and active, which illuminates your collection continuously). This model, while it can be used freestanding, is just right for under a counter—even the ADA-compliant version, which can be adjusted below 32 inches.
Best Compact: Smith & Hanks Wine Refrigerator
Zone type: Dual | Bottle capacity: 32 | Installation: Built-in or freestanding
What we like:
- Great for small spaces
- Dual zone despite slim shape
- Pricey for smaller storage capacity
Why we chose it: Got a small apartment? Not a problem thanks to this narrow wine fridge.
We’ve tapped freelance wine and spirits writer Céline Bossart before to find out which fridge she leans on the most, and this slim-shaped unit was her favorite. “As a wine professional in a New York City apartment, I always appreciate a wine fridge that’s both multi-zone and compact,” she previously told Domino. She points to this 15-inch-wide Smith & Hanks fridge as the best compact model. It comes in a stainless steel finish with six wood-accented shelves, and despite its narrow footprint, it can still fit up to 32 bottles. The glass is double paneled and designed with a UV shield, and this adaptable unit can be installed as a freestanding model or a built-in. “In general, I think it’s a good idea to invest in a built-in wine fridge as opposed to just freestanding, as it’s always nice to have the option to incorporate it into cabinetry somewhere down the line, even if you’re not planning to right away,” Bossart recommended.
Best Shelving: Eurocave Pure S Wine Cellar
Zone type: Single | Bottle capacity: 74 | Installation: Freestanding
What we like:
- Shelving that cradles shape of bottle
- Energy efficient
- Good humidity control
- Large bottle capacity
- Will cost you thousands
Why we chose it: A high-capacity, sommelier-approved wine fridge with snazzy shelving and strong energy efficiency.
Hailing from France (kind of a leader in fine wine, you might say), the EuroCave is a name that comes up a lot among wine industry experts. There are several chic design features to ooh and aah over here, including the unique shelving design. The company calls this best shelving pick Main du Sommelier (“hand of the sommelier”), referring to the 12 adjustable, rubber-lined “hands” that cradle each bottle and prevent them from rolling around while you slide the shelf in and out. This pick from its Pure collection can store up to 74 bottles and comes with touch-screen controls to help set and maintain temperature and humidity levels. The brand also notes that this current iteration is 55 percent more efficient than older models, a testament to the wine cellar’s individually handcrafted 30-step manufacturing process. The one downside? It’s going to cost you a pretty penny, which is why we only suggest this model if you’ve got a pricey wine collection you want to continue building.
Best Under-Counter: KitchenAid Wine Cellar
Zone type: Dual | Bottle capacity: 46 | Installation: Built-in or freestanding
What we like:
- Sleek and modern design
- Flush installation for built-in look
- Motion-activated LED lighting
- Door alarm if left open
- Currently on back order
Why we chose it: Easy on the eyes and friendly to your bottles, this stylish fridge will blend in seamlessly under your counter.
When we previously asked La Cura founder Olivia Muniak about her favorite wine fridges, she nodded toward KitchenAid. “It is the trusted powerhouse for appliances in my home,” she said at the time. For this best under-counter model, she suggests you “opt for the sleek stainless steel design or choose to customize to match the cabinetry in your kitchen.” The 46-bottle fridge offers a built-in, flush installation with hidden hinges and a standard 24-inch base to keep it from poking out from a row of cabinetry. The dual-zone temperatures can range from 42 to 64 degrees and there’s a monitoring system that sets off an alarm if temperatures go above 70 degrees for more than four hours. A few more fun features: motion-activated LED lighting so you can peek inside without opening the door (good for monitoring temperature and humidity); UV-protected glass door; and an automatic defrost cycle. Aside from the expensive price tag, there’s nothing bad to be said about this wine fridge.
Best Splurge: LG Wine Cellar Refrigerator
Zone type: Dual | Bottle capacity: 65 | Installation: Freestanding
What we like:
- Wi-Fi enabled and voice control
- Fingerprint resistant
- Fridge and freezer compartments
- Luxury splurge
Why we chose it: A collaboration with John Legend, this luxury fridge and freezer is replete with fancy features.
We don’t make it a habit to recommend $7,000 wine fridges too often, but Domino recently caught up with John Legend at a dinner in Napa, California, celebrating the musician’s partnership with LG Signature, and we couldn’t resist making their newly launched (and highly impressive) wine cellar our list’s best splurge pick. It has all the perks you’d expect from a luxury wine refrigerator, like dual-zone temperature systems, humidity control, UV-resistant glass—those are a given. But this model takes the concept of a wine fridge to new heights with features such as voice activation (Wi-Fi enabled so it works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa), an auto-open door, and fingerprint-resistant textured steel. It’s designed with two compartments below the five beechwood gliding wine shelves, both of which can be used as a fridge or freezer (pretty ideal if you want to serve your wine with, say, a cheese and charcuterie board). It’s a wish-list fridge, sure, but a host can dream, right?
How We Chose These Products
Even the more affordable wine refrigerators are still on the pricier side, so we tapped industry experts for insight on reliable brands and features to look out for to ensure it’s an investment well made. We also leaned on previous research and interviews with those who have some serious wine know-how. From there, we curated a list of fridges that check the boxes when it comes to performance and design, with some familiar picks that Domino editors have tested in the past for stylish wine storage.
Our Shopping Checklist
The difference between a sleek, stylish wine fridge and one that feels so-so comes down to the materials used. On the exterior, stainless steel is a safe bet for a polished look, and streak-free glass also keeps things looking sharp. Once you open the refrigerator, shelving will be the first thing to grab your attention (Reynolds notes he’d “opt for the Eurocave shaped firm plastic shelves”). You’ll also be deciding between a built-in or freestanding fridge. “Freestanding is the best because it can be easily removed if you decide you’d like to convert the area to [other storage] down the road,” notes California Closets New York design consultant Debra Russo. Beyond these details, the overall size and shape of your wine fridge will determine how it looks in your space, so choose something that won’t overwhelm the composition of the room.
Size and Capacity
If you’re investing in a wine fridge, you’ll want to make sure you can store enough of your bottles to make the price tag worth it. While capacity can run the gamut, Reynolds suggests aiming for at least a 24-bottle unit “to have a nice mix.” Additionally, if you live in a compact apartment with limited space, look for taller, slimmer models that can fit nicely in small corners.
You want to keep your bottles at a cool and constant temperature when storing them for an extended period of time—somewhere between 50 and 55 degrees (“My preference for reds is 52 degrees,” Reynolds says). While he also notes that a dual-zone wine fridge isn’t “necessary” per se, if you decide you’d like the flexibility of keeping whites and sparkling at a colder, ready-to-drink temperature, look for dual-zone fridges that offer a range of around 40 to 65 degrees.
As highlighted earlier, Reynolds points to Eurocave’s Main du Sommelier shelving as his favorite, which features adjustable “hands” that cradle the bottles individually. But the Eurocave fridges are admittedly a bit spendy, so if you’re not going that route, we suggest looking for stainless steel or wood-front shelving with an easily accessible slide-out design.
Q: How much should I expect to spend on a wine fridge?
There’s no way around it—good wine refrigerators aren’t cheap. “I always recommend spending more out of the gate,” Reynolds says. “When a wine fridge breaks, you’re not only at a loss for the fridge, but potentially the wine can spoil.” Price points can range dramatically, from a couple hundred dollars well into the thousands, but $500 and above seems to be the sweet spot for standard-size fridges with strong performance records and stylish design.
Q: Does my wine fridge have to be in the kitchen?
Nope. While a built-in wine refrigerator might make the most sense in your kitchen design, freestanding models can be adapted to different areas of your home like a study or dining room. Or in some cases, a closet. “More clients have been including wine fridges and coffee machines in their closets so they don’t need to go down to the kitchen,” Russo says. If you dabble in the “dressing drinks” trend, “other than the fridge, you would need storage for wineglasses and corkscrews; adjustable shelving and a drawer would be the best solution for this,” he adds.
Q: Okay, but why can’t I just use my regular fridge for storing wine?
Simply put, your refrigerator is too cold (around 40 degrees or below) and the humidity levels are too low (which can cause your corks to dry out). It certainly works to chill a bottle of bubbly before serving, but it’s not ideal for long-term storage. Wine should also be stored on its side and with as little vibration as possible. Even if you’ve got one of the best French door refrigerators with multiple temperature zones, if you’re constantly moving items in and out, your wine will pay the price.
The Last Word
Curating a wine collection that you’re excited about is best accomplished with a wine fridge that keeps your bottles at a cool, consistent temperature with little disruption from light or movement. Though a pricey investment, the best models will last you well over a decade and ensure your favorite pours won’t be spoiled. Hisense’s Wine Cooler looks polished, works exceptionally well, and offers good value. We’ll cheers to that.