What is a Wine Cooler? Appliance or Beverage?

    What Is A Wine Cooler

    When someone asks "what is a wine cooler?" - there's actually THREE clear answers that are ALL correct - but it all depends on the context as to what wine cooler actually means?!

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    What Is A Wine Cooler? 

    So, the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of wine cooler is as follows:

    1. a vessel or container in which wine is cooled
    2. a usually carbonated beverage that contains a mixture of wine and fruit juice

    You'll notice there's only two "definitions", but in our opinion there should be 3 and here's what they are:

    1. A wine cooler is a drink
    2. A wine cooler is a refrigeration appliance
    3. A wine cooler is a bucket filled with ice

    Now we've got the dictionary definition AND our interpretation, lets take a look at all three wine cooler definitions in more details: 

    Wine Cooler - Refrigeration appliance use in the kitchen

    1. Wine Cooler - Refrigeration Appliance

    A wine cooler refrigeration appliance or wine fridge (which is a lot easier to say) is essentially perfectly designed fridge to keep your wine collection perfectly stored for maximum enjoyment.

    In comparison to a regular kitchen fridge, a kitchen wine fridge has precise temperature controls and maintains a very consistent temperature.

    Wine coolers fridges are usually equipped with sliding shelves so wine bottles can be laid flat. And have UV protected glass doors (find glass door wine coolers here), vibrationless compressors and charcoal filters installed as standard. 

    The cost of wine coolers can vary greatly and come in a few types. A freestanding wine cooler come in a range of sizes and stand alone and are not suitable to be built in to cabinetry. We stock small,medium and larger wine coolers to suit any size of wine collection as well as a range of beer fridges and drinks refrigerators.

    Unlike integrated wine fridges which are perfect for slotting seamlessly into your kitchen cabinetry. These type of coolers are ideal for smaller collections.  

    Wine Cooler - Beverage with fruit juice, sugar and carbonated water

    2. Wine Cooler - Beverage

    A wine cooler beverage is usually defined as a cheap combination of the following ingredients:

    • Wine
    • Fruit juice
    • Carbonated water

    The wine cooler drink was incredibly popular in the 80's and is very similar to a spritzer - both ideal and refreshing drinks during the summer time. Spritzers have seemingly won the popularity contest (for now) and likely due to the confusing name of the wine cooler too.

    Some believe that the wine cooler drink has a few variations but all based on a bubbly wine, on ice and with citrus flavour. 

    A few tips to improved the wine cooler drink from famed New York restaurateur and wine cooler (drink) champion, Ariel Arce who once said:

    "You want to think of wine coolers as a way of expressing the best quality of the wine"

    “Look for wines from warmer regions, wines with more ripeness to it; anything with more fruit, or more residual sugar would be fun.” 

    She suggests to the following steps for the perfect wine cooler...

    • Use sparkling wine on ice instead of still wine with fizzy water
    • Look for rich wines with naturally fruity taste
    • Avoid artificial sugar or fruit
    • Specific suggestions to use chilled Rieslings, ripe California wines, French wines with woody flavours or a western-American wine variety
    • Don't use a wine which is too light or complex
    Wine Cooler - Bucket of Ice Filled with Wine

    3. Wine Cooler - Ice Bucket

    A wine cooler is a bucket made from plastic, metal or another robust, hard material - filled to the brim with ice cold water, ice and usually wine bottles (if it's a good party!). 

    Wine cooler buckets come in a variety of sizes and are ideal for show pieces at parties or events where large magnums can be shown off in all their glory to guests.


    So there you have it, a wine cooler is one of the following three things - depending on the context:

    • a refrigerator appliance to store and cool wine 
    • a bucket of ice to cool wine or champagne
    • a wine drink made of fruit juice, sugar and carbonated water

    If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email us at info@expertwinestorage.co.uk

    You can browse more posts on Wine storage here


    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin

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