Updated: November 2017

Wine Cellar Reviews:

Once your wine collection gets beyond about 10 bottles it's time to consider where to store it all. I generally keep about 5 to 10 bottles in my home in a regular wine rack in the dining room. I'm not concerned with storing the wine in a temperature controlled wine celler or wine cooler since most of it gets drank long before that is necessary. However, some of our friends have become wine enthusiasts of late and are starting to build up larger collections. When you have 20, 30, or even 50 bottles of wine, it's best to consider a refrigeration system to keep them at the proper temperature before you pull them out to drink at a dinner party or special occasion. Many wines get better with age and so having a wine storage system is a must if you plan on buying those types. They will keep better over time if stored in a temperature controlled wine cellar. "Wine cellar" can be a confusing term to wine newbies only because many of us think of that term when referring to underground storage rooms in homes or chateaus in France and Italy. For purposes of this article, a wine cellar will mean wine refrigerator or wine cooler/chiller.
wine cellars

Buying Guide - When considering a new wine cellar from a top manufacturer like EuroCave you have to look at a few features of their wine refrigerators. Firstly, the temperature is key to wine storage and most experts agree that wine should be kept at a temperature between 52 and 58 degrees fahrenheit. The proper temperature will allow the wine to age correctly. A well built wine cellar lets you keep the unit in your garage where temperatues can fluctuate from hot to cold but the cellar will keep the contents at a constant temperature inside. You want a wine cellar that will keep light exposure to a minimum. Many come with opaque doors or doors that have been treated so they can filter out the UV light that is harmful to the wine over time. Exposure to too much light will age and damage the wine. Ventilation is another important factor to consider when buying a wine cellar. You want to prevent mold from accumulating in the wine cellar so having a self-regulating ventilation system will help. Keeping the wine still in the cellar is also very important. Vibrations are not good for quality wine while it ages so you want a wine cellar designed to hold all bottle types and keep them in place so they don't slide and move around. Look for shelves that are not only adjustable in height, but that are capable of sliding in and out. The better mounted system on the shelves, the less likely vibrations will happen when you are taking out or putting in wine bottles. Lastly, storing wine bottles require the right level of humidity. If you want to prevent oxidation and keep the corks sealed properly, humidity levels of above 50% are necessary. Size of the unit is also important to your wine collection. Most stores we talked with recommended getting a wine storage cooler that is at least 10-20% larger than you think will do. The hobby of collecting fine wines often leads to buying more bottles than you imagined so having some extra storage space is crucial. Who sells wine cellars - Kenmore, Marvel, GE, Electrolux, Sub-Zero, Silent, EuroCave, LeCache, Danby, Haier, Avanti, and Vinotemp. We found an excellent article on "worthy wine cellars" done by Consumer Reports (November 2008) and websites like Wineenthusiasts.com carry a huge inventory with many reviews on each model that consumers posted online. Amazon.com carries some wine cellars but we found most of the reviews on their website were less than positive. Only a few models like the Haier HVFO42ABL 42-Bottle Wine Cellar received high praise from customers who bought it. We found several models on sites like Target.com and Amazon that only hold about 6 to 12 bottles which seems almost pointless - you would probably have that wine refrigerator full within a month and be out of space. Most reviews we found are from owners of wine cellars but the one done by Consumer Reports was thorough and technically sound. They tested 13 undercounter models and 7 freestanding units. The capacity ranged from 28 to 58 bottles. A good wine cellar will hold a uniform temperature, be energy efficient, run quietly, and have 2 zones whenever possible to keep both red and white wines in their own storage space with different temperatures. How mch should you spend on a wine cellar? The Kenmore 9913 ($500) is sold at Sears and rates well in several reviews but it's not the most energy efficient model although it is capable of holding up to 40 wine bottles. The Kenmore wine cellar is freestanding but you can buy built in or undercounter models like the top rated Marvel 6SWC ($1500) which holds up to 54 wine bottles. Browse the best selling wine refrigerators here

Undercounter Wine Cellar:

If you want to keep your wine bottles out of sight and under your counters, you can get the built in models like the GE Profile PCR06WAT ($1200) in stainless steel or the pricier Sub-Zero 424G/0 ($2000). One of the highest rated undercounter wine cellars is the Marvel 6SWC which is expensive at $1500 but scores high for keeping a uniform temperature throughout the single storage zone. It's not the quietest unit available, but it's more energy efficient than the freestanding models and it has a good capacity of 54 bottles so you can grow into the storage unit. The GE wine cellar listed (just above) is definitely worth a look since it's reasonably priced at $1200 and holds up to 52 bottles. The full extension wine racks have beautiful beechwood fronts and they will slide in or out effortlessly.

Freestanding Wine Refrigerator:

Freestanding wine cellars are cheaper than their undercounter counterparts and you should be able to get a quality model for $500 or so. EuroCave is a luxury brand name that sells their products for $2000 and up for even the smallest wine storage refrigerators. They have an excellent name in the industry but are probably only for those that have high priced bottles to store. The Kenmore 9913 was good at temperature control which is a huge factor but the storage racks on this unit allow the bottles to slide around which is not good for the "vibration" control that wine experts want in a storage unit. The Kenmore unit is sold in Sears stores along with VinoTemp, Kitchen Aid, and Jenn-Air. We still like the Haier freestanding wine cellars like the Haier HVTB40DPABS ($300) which features a solid 40 bottle capacity with an adjustable dual electronic zone for red wine and white wines. You get 7 chrome storage racks which are slightly curved to hold the bottles in place so they don't roll and slide around.

Dual Zone Wine Cooler:

If you are a serious wine collector, then the Marvel Dual Zone Wine Cellar from the Chateau Collection (Model 6SDZE) is a top end 2 zone wine cellar. The Marvel wine cooler gives you control over the temperature, consistency with Sentry System refrigeration monitor, and ample storage with a 44 bottle capacity. The digital touch controls are easy to operate and the glide out wine racks will hold bottles with different shapes. The glass doors are dual paned, UV-resistant, tinted, and protect the wine from light. This undercounter unit sells for about $1950. The Avanti WCR5104DZD 46 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler ($829) is a mid-range wine cooler with 2 cooling zones. It holds up to 46 bottles which should be plenty for most wine lovers and the digital displays let you control the temperatures for reds, white, or sparkling wines. The slide out wood finish shelves cut down on vibration and make it easy to add or take out from the collection. We found this model on Beveragefactory.com. A cheaper product is the Haier 35-Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cellar available in Wal-Mart stores and it costs only $399. For under $400 you can get a quality dual zone wine cellar that holds up to 35 bottles. The glass doors have a blue-gray tint to them and the adjustable dual electronic flex zone has automatic settings so you can easily keep all your red and white wines at the right temperatures. One other model we just had to list was the Wine Enthusiast Silent 48 Bottle Double Door Wine Refrigerator ($599) which is advertised in the Wall Street journal. The unit sells on their website (Wineenthuasiast.com) and gets decent reviews for the price listed. The Silent is energy efficient and runs quiet per reviews.

12 Bottle Wine Cellar:

For those of you that don't expect to keep much wine around before drinking it, consider the cheaper Haier HVW12ABB ($100) that holds up to 12 bottles of wine. It's double paned insulated glass doors and adjustable thermostat control will keep your red or white wine at the proper temperature. There is an interior light and the 5 shelves are full width and made of chrome. The ultra-quiet electric wine tower storage unit from Haier is elegant and gets good reviews in this price range of wine cellars. Haier wine cellars are made as both freestanding and undercounter models so you can pick from their high end products as well like the Haier HVCE15BBH ($410) which holds up to 26 bottles and features nice wooden racks so the bottles don't move around.