You love your wine, but you don’t have the budget to set up and maintain your own legit, full-operation wine cellar. Does that mean you should curb your passion for wine? Of course not. However, a true wine lover will know that keeping wine in your ordinary fridge just won’t cut it. As a matter of fact, the flavor of the wine can be greatly affected by how it is stored, including what temperature it is stored at. And if we are talking of aesthetics, wouldn’t you want to see your wine bottles stored well, looking all organized and even showcased elegantly in one convenient place?
Why Wine Coolers Are a Must
Your precious wine deserves pride of place, so do yourself (and your wine!) a favor and consider getting a dual zone wine cooler.
Storage under a condition of controlled temperature and humidity is essential to preserve the flavor, integrity, and quality of wine; that is a fact. While many may argue that a normal refrigerator would do, experts would disagree. If you know your wine, you’re probably going to agree with them.
Making the decision to purchase a wine cooler to store your wine collection is a good idea if you want good quality without having to spend too much. What if you have quite a collection of both red and white wines and a basic wine cooler doesn’t seem enough? A dual zone wine cooler is what you need.
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Enter the Dual Zone Wine Cooler
A dual zone wine cooler or refrigerator features two temperature compartments, with each zone’s temperature capable of being set at different levels.
Why is there a need for two temperature zones, you ask?
There is a longstanding theory that said red and white wine should be stored at different temperatures, which is why a dual zone wine cooler is very convenient. You will get the best of both worlds since you can put the reds in one compartment and the whites in the other, and set their respective temperature levels accordingly.
This theory has been debunked by many wine experts, saying that reds and whites can be stored under the same storage temperature, which is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference, however, would be in the service temperature. Whites have a service temperature ranging from 45 and 52 degrees F, while reds generally taste best when served at 58 to 65 degrees F.
So we are talking about two temperatures here: storage temperature and service temperature. You can store both reds and whites in the same compartment if you are planning to store them. Having a second compartment gives you the option of keeping your wine – either the reds or the whites, or both – at their service temperature. You can set the first compartment at storage temperature, then set the other zone at service temperature, depending on which wine you plan on serving soon.
Dual vs. Single Zone vs. Multiple Zone Wine Coolers
There are two persuasive reasons why many wine enthusiasts would choose a dual zone wine cooler over a single zone model: versatility and more space. A single zone wine cooler also offers these advantages, but only to a limited extent.
A single zone wine cooler is, obviously, a unit with only one compartment, so only one temperature can be set throughout the entire unit. Having only one compartment means it is smaller and more compact, and much easier to maintain and operate.
This is ideal only for users who are just starting to get into wine, and wine enthusiasts that have a clear preference for only one type of wine. This means that they’d have to worry only about keeping this collection of white or red wine under one storage temperature.
Dual zone wine coolers are also deemed to be just the right size and functionalities for those who think that a multiple zone wine refrigerator is just too much. Multiple zone wine coolers are more ideal for people with a wide range in their wine collections, with varietals that are highly sensitive to specific temperatures. They are much bigger, offer a lot more space, have more advanced features, and, predictably, several times pricier than the dual zone wine coolers.
The Top 5 Dual Zone Wine Coolers
Competition among wine cooler manufacturers is getting stiffer, which means that wine lovers are given more options for high-quality and high-performance models to choose from. For 2018, we reviewed the leading brands and came up with a list of five of the best dual zone wine coolers so far.
5. NewAir AW-320ED 32-Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler Review
The thermoelectric cooling system of this NewAir unit lets you set the temperature from 46 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit, which definitely covers both the storage and service temperature ranges for both red and white wines.
It has none of that whirring or humming noises many have come to associate with coolers and refrigeration units, and you won’t have to be bothered by vibration coming from it. Its 14 adjustable chrome-plated shelves can hold up to 32 bottles; all showcased to perfection by the interior cool blue LED lighting. Temperature control is made easy by the user-friendly digital display placed on the frame of the tempered glass doors.
4. Ivation 18 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler Review
The black and stainless steel combo of the design of this freestanding wine cooler from Ivation is enough to grab anyone’s eye, and once you look at its additional features, you’ll definitely find yourself reaching for it to bring home with you. The top compartment has a temperature range of 54 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit, while you can set the temperature at the lower compartment anywhere between 46 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
The door, made from durable and protective tempered glass, can be swung 180 degrees to facilitate removal of the shelves when you need to take something out or just want to clean it. The thermoelectric cooling system is easy to configure just by using the control panel, and since it comes with a safety lock, you won’t have to worry about accidentally leaving it ajar, damaging the wine inside.
3. Koldfront TWR187ESS 18 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler Review
If you are looking for a freestanding unit and have no plans of getting it built into your home, this Koldfront wine cooler is a good choice. It is made of stainless steel, with a tempered glass door that has a 180-degree swing, so you can easily remove the shelves when you have to. It is divided into two zones, with the top zone ideal for serving temperature ranging from 54 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want to store your reds and whites in lower temperature, the lower zone is ideal, since you can set it to as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit. For easy temperature monitoring, the control panel with LCD works very well.
2. Aobosi Wine Cooler Refrigerator Review
This Aobosi Wine Cooler pulls no punches when it comes to wine cooling and storage. Just by pushing buttons on the control panel with its built-in LED display, you can easily set and customize the temperature for each of the two compartments. On average, it can store up to 30 bottles – less, if you have bigger bottles of wine.
Even the construction is not something to trifle with. The seamless stainless steel frame, combined with the double-tempered glass door, make for an exquisite look that makes this wine cooler and refrigerator a worthy centerpiece in your home. Since its vibration level is low and its noise levels barely breach the 42-decibel level, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to discomfort.
1. NutriChef PKTEWCDS1802 18 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler Review
This NutriChef wine cooler is probably all you’ll ever need for storing your favorite reds and whites. Precise temperature settings are achieved in both compartments, and you can choose between using Celsius or Fahrenheit in the controls and display.
The upper compartment can be set anywhere between 46 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit while the lower compartment is ideal for service temperature range of 54 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Another thing that sets this wine cooler’s system apart from most of its counterparts is its vertical shelves, which will let you store bottles that have already been opened, without fear of your precious wine leaking out.
A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Dual Zone Wine Cooler
Shopping for a dual zone wine cooler may actually turn out to be more difficult than going out and choosing the bottles of wine that you should store in it, to be enjoyed in the future. At least, when it comes to wine, there are already certain standards in place, making it easier for you to pick which one you like.
Incidentally, it is the same way when it comes to choosing a dual zone wine cooler. Although there are no set rules or guidelines, you can make your own, depending on your personal preferences. Here, we are giving some useful tips that you should keep in mind when you start hunting for the right dual zone wine cooler for your needs.
Wine Cooler Size
We’re talking about its overall size since you have to consider the floor area that it will occupy in your home. Obviously, dual zone wine coolers are much bigger than their single zone counterparts, but you can still get a wine cooler that can hold your growing collection of reds and whites and still keep things space-efficient. This is often considered alongside the location or placement of the unit in your home.
Location or Placement
This consideration is closely associated with the overall size of the wine cooler. Where will you install or set up the wine cooler? If you do not have enough free space, common sense will dictate that you choose a more compact wine cooler. On the flip side, you can go for a bigger dual zone wine cooler if you have enough floor area to spare in your kitchen or living room.
This will also answer the question of whether you should look for a freestanding wine cooler or one with built-in usage. Freestanding wine coolers also take up more space. In the case of built-in wine coolers, you’d have to consider where they will have to be built into.
Temperature Settings and Control
The reason you are buying a wine cooler is so that you can store and preserve your wine at the right temperature, so if the unit you are considering won’t let you control the temperature levels easily, then you are wasting your time and money.
Check the temperature range of the wine cooler. The two compartments should have different temperature ranges, with each range corresponding to either storage temperature range or service temperature range. Ideally, you should be able to store your wines in temperatures as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit to an average of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It is all right for the temperature range to be higher, but it should ideally be able to reach a temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should be able to easily configure the temperature settings and monitor it at the same time. Fortunately, most control panels are digital, with LCD displays that offer a clear read-out.
Wine Bottle Capacity
Your choice will depend on your collection. Dual zone wine coolers are ideal for those with mid-sized collections, or those with less than a dozen bottles but plan to make their wine collection grow. Wine coolers have clear indicators on how many bottles they can accommodate, but for greater flexibility, it would be a good idea to find one that can also accommodate larger-sized bottles.
Design and Build
Stainless steel is a favorite among wine experts since they are more durable and more practical in aiding temperature maintenance, and they also lend a classy and polished look to the unit. Stainless steel exteriors also make the wine cooler fairly easier to clean and maintain.
To keep the temperature inside undisturbed, many units have doors made of tempered glass. More expensive models even have double-tempered glass doors. For more convenience, many of these doors have doors swings that can be opened 180 degrees so you can easily remove the shelving.
Speaking of shelves, look for a unit with shelves that are durable and can hold the weight of filled wine bottles. You don’t want the shelves to give way under the weight, leaving you with broken wine bottles and wasted wine, do you? Most models these days now have metal racks, while there are a few units with wood racks. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as they can hold up against very low temperature and can easily hold your wine bottles.
Vibration and Humming
A common complaint against most cooling and refrigerating units is the vibration, compounded by a whirring or humming noise that can be quite irritating if it goes on endlessly. It’s a good thing, then, that many models are now built with low vibration and equally low noise or decibel levels. They say that too much vibration and noise are indicators that the machine is working hard, but that is not necessarily correct. You can still get high performance from a quiet unit, and we all want a silent hard worker, don’t we?
Your Price Ceiling
How much are you willing to spend on a dual zone wine cooler? If you look at the wide range of choices of dual zone wine refrigerators in the market, you will find that there is something that fits all types of budgets. If you are operating within a tight budget, have no fear, you are still bound to find a dual zone wine cooler that is functional while fitting your budget.