8 best wine coolers for keeping your bottles chilled in style
Up your dinner party game with one of these ice cold carriers
Whether you’re entertaining, or simply enjoying a midweek bottle of wine at home, serving wine at its optimum temperature really makes a difference to the overall taste. Too cold and the more nuanced flavours can be lost altogether, however too warm and you’ll obviously not enjoy it either.
While we’ve seen a rise in the number of people installing wine fridges into their kitchens, not everyone has the money or space for such an investment. Thankfully there’s a much cheaper alternative – the humble wine cooler.
For lighter whites such as pinot grigio, it’s recommended you serve it anywhere between 7-10C, while your more full-bodied styles (perhaps an oaky chardonnay for example) only need a light chill between 10-13C. Champagne and other sparkling wines are best enjoyed a little cooler, 6-10C will bring them out at their best.
When considering which wine cooler is best for you, think about whether you’re prepared to add ice or if you’d rather the device work without. Those with more space might want to consider one of the larger coolers which can hold more than one bottle, or perhaps a free-standing style would be better if you’re looking to maximise countertop space.
We’ve also included options for taking out with you when on the move (think picnics or barbecues) as well as electric options if you’d like to get really scientific. Finally, we considered style, searching for coolers that you’ll be proud to have out on display.
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KitchenCraft barcraft hammered copper-finished large champagne/wine cooler bucket: £19.99, Amazon
If you’re looking to make a homeware statement and chill your wine at the same time, look no further than this hammered copper, antique-style drinks tub. The style of this cooler means it can hold irregular shaped wine and champagne bottles, as well as bottles or cans of beer – perfect for larger gatherings. Light enough to move easily before it’s filled with ice, we like to take this outside with us when we’re having a barbecue. But it also sits pretty on the kitchen counter during dinner parties too and is easy enough for guests to help themselves from. As with all Bar Craft products, it comes with a reassuring five-year guarantee.
Audley Silver wine cooler & stand, large: £290, Soho Home
Whether you’re a member or just aspire to be one, there’s no harm in stealing some of the club’s styling tips for your own home. This large, free-standing wine bucket is used in the Soho House restaurants and can hold up to four bottles of wine or champagne at a time, while keeping your tabletop free. You’ll need to fill it with ice to keep your bottles chilled but the top bucket section is easily removed for filling or emptying at the end of the night. Made from silver-plated brass, it’s a handsome style which we found to be perfectly sturdy, even when loaded up to maximum capacity. It’s obviously not cheap, but a steal when compared to house membership.
Fortnum's eau de nil six bottle wine cooler: £35, Fortnum & Mason
Who’s to say you can’t expect chilled vino on the move? Whether you’re taking your plonk to a dinner party or kicking back and relaxing in the park, this useful wine cooler in the brand’s eau de nil blue can carry up to six bottles at a time. Featuring the Fortnum & Mason branding, the carrier is insulated so once zipped up, it will keep pre-chilled wine cooler for longer. Sturdy straps make this easy to carry, even when fully loaded.
Intempo Bluetooth ice bucket speaker with colour changing lights: £29.99, Amazon
If there are two things that go together – like fish and chips or Ant and Dec – it’s booze and parties. Thankfully Intempo have created this frosted plastic ice bucket which doubles up as a speaker – complete with flashing disco lights. Ok, so it’s a little gimmicky but undeniably fun and we were impressed with the sound quality. Simply fill with ice, pop in a bottle and sync your Spotify playlist with the Bluetooth function and you’ve got six hours of play time to look forward to – although your wine might need replenishing in that time.
Crosslee Hostess double wine chiller HW02MA: £79.99, Lakeland
Be the hostess with the mostess with this clever gadget. Not only will it keep bottles of white wine chilled, it can also bring red wine up to its optimal temperature – with a choice of pre-settings or freestyle from five to 19C. No idea what temperature your wine should be drunk at? There’s a very helpful guide which recommends your beaujolais is served at 12C and your sauvignon blanc at a mere 9C. It can also hold standard-sized champagne bottles so should come in quite useful.
Eva Solo staycool wine cooler: £27, Eva Solo
Not everyone has room for a bulky wine cooler – when not in use they can take up much-needed cupboard space. A good solution instead is this ice pack which folds up flat for easy storage. Capable of keeping bottles chilled for up to two hours, the lining contains a cooling gel – we keep ours in the freezer so that it’s always ready when we need it. It might look small but thanks to the elasticated side it can handle champagne bottles too. A good option for picnic baskets and use at home.
Lene Bjerre merle wine cooler: £119, Harvey Nichols
Danish design still reigns supreme when it comes to minimal living, and this stunning wine bucket from Lene Bjerre has Scandi style in spades. Modern and streamlined with sturdy handles for moving easily, the design features a partly hammered effect – a homeware trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Simply add ice and pop in your wine or champagne. If you’re interested in a matching set, there’s also an ice bucket available in the same design. If you’re feeling particularly generous, we think this cooler would make a very thoughtful wedding present for a lucky couple.
Robert Welch drift double wall wine cooler: £76, John Lewis & Partners
Part sculpture, part wine cooler, this design-led piece will make a homeware statement, even when not in use. Highly functional, there’s no style over substance here thanks to the double-walled insulated stainless steel which kept our bottle cool throughout the night. It’s definitely a safe bet if you’re looking for a stylish yet practical gift for a special birthday. Part of the drift range, which includes candle holders, bowls and barware, you can go all out with matching homeware, but this cooler is only capable of holding a single bottle.
The verdict: Wine coolers
Proving you needn’t spend a fortune to get a wine cooler that’s both functional and stylish, we think KitchenCraft’s solution is a steal. Leaving you plenty of money left over for ice.
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