A dual zone, or dual temperature, wine fridge, is one that features two temperature compartments, and provides storage for both red and white wines at the respective proper temperatures. They come in a variety of bottle sizes and price points, depending on capacity and features.
Things to Know Before Shopping
Before you set out to buy a dual-temperature wine fridge, it is important to understand a few key elements.
Thermoelectric Versus Compressor Cooler
Most wine fridges use either thermoelectric cooling or compressor. Compressor wine fridges use a refrigerant to cool the air inside the refrigerator, the same way as in a standard kitchen refrigerator. These may be heavier and louder, but more powerful. Thermoelectric models are popular as they are quieter and more energy efficient. They are also popular because they produce less vibration. However, they don't produce any cold air, so they are more susceptible to temperature fluctuations.
Freestanding Versus Built-In
There are different types of wine fridges, depending on your needs. Some are designed as built-in coolers, meaning they easily slide in under counters or alongside cabinets, depending on your configuration. Freestanding units are ones that are designed to be just that, free standing. They may have more details, and not be flush on the side, since they aren't meant to slide in next to cabinets.
Popular Options for Dual Zone Wine Fridges
If you're in the market for a dual-temperature wine fridge, there are a variety of models available depending on size and space.
Kalamera 46-Bottle Dual-Zone Wine Fridge
This wine fridge gets 4.1 out of 5 stars from Home Depot users and it's the number one choice on WineWoo's list of best dual zone wine coolers. It can hold 46 bottles and its small size makes it a good choice for homes with less space. It measures 24" wide with 4.9 cubic feet of storage space. It's virtually silent and the minimal vibration will also provide less disturbance for the wine. The unit looks stylish as well with a black trim and stainless steel door and interior blue LED lighting. There's also a digital temperature memory function in case you lose power.
The unit can be found for about $800 at Home Depot.
Hybrid Wine and Beverage Fridge
Made by N'FINITY PRO, the S Beverage Station is a combination wine fridge and beverage center. It would be ideal as a built-in, under-the-counter option, or it is pretty enough to be a freestanding unit. Situated side by side, this is more like two separate wine fridges, but it provides a sleek alternative to smaller-capacity dual-temperature wine fridges.
The N'FINITY PRO includes a variety of features, such as
- Each wine fridge has a 46-bottle capacity
- Blue LED lights inside the unit
- Front-venting allows for built-in or freestanding use
- Charcoal filter maintains proper humidity and helps keep fresh air circulating through the cabinet
- Digital climate controls
- UV-protected and can be either stainless steel trim or smoked full-glass doors
- 3-year warranty
The coolest feature that sets this wine fridge apart from others on the market is its innovative shelving design. The fridge offers smooth gliding shelves on ball-bearing tracks that provide easy access to your bottles, but can store a variety of sizes and styles. The low-profile scallops help minimize vibration and movement, and the circular air vents ensure plenty of airflow.
Buy it directly from Wine Enthusiast for $1,699.
Vinotemp Wine Storage Credenza
If you're not sold on the idea of having a freestanding wine fridge in your home, and you don't have room to do a built-in, why not one that fits in with your decor? Vinotemp makes a 38-bottle wine storage credenza that has two independently controlled fridge sections. Aside from being a cool piece of furniture, it holds 18 wine glasses in the central stemware racks and includes three storage draws to place all your wine accessories in.
It has three pull-out service shelves, dual compressor cooling systems, and a beautiful wood exterior with a mahogany finish. Dual-paned glass doors and soft interior lights help protect and display your wine collection.
Available directly from Vinotemp for $1,995 plus $439 in shipping costs.
Wine Enthusiast Silent 32 Bottle Dual Zone Touchscreen Wine Refrigerator
Epicurious chose this wine fridge as their choice for the most affordable dual-zone cellar and a good choice for beginners. Although it is said to be almost as good as silent, you'll lose that feature if you place it under a counter as the unit does require venting. The unit is split into two 16 bottle zones to keep red and white wines separate. The fridge is energy-efficient and CFC-free, although it cannot be sold to homes in California due to that state's energy efficiency standards. The unit is attractive with smoked-glass doors and a stainless steel finish and LED lighting.
You can purchase the unit from Wine Enthusiast's website for about $369. Shipping is free.
Koldfront 18 Bottle Dual-Zone Wine Cooler
The Koldfront (TWR181ES) 18-bottle dual-zone thermoelectric wine cooler is a free-standing fridge only and cannot be used as a built-in.
- The lower zone is 54F-64F for 12 bottles.
- Six bottles fit on top at 45F-54F.
This is a great deal for a dual-zone wine fridge when compared to Amazon's number one best-selling wine fridge overall. The Ivation 18-bottle single temperature wine fridge retails for just a little less than this dual zone option.
One downside to this fridge is that it may not hold larger format bottles, so keep this in mind if you plan to cellar a lot of sparkling wines or other non-standard bottle sizes. Another potential negative is that white-wine drinkers will find the larger section is devoted to favorable red wine temperatures.
The Amazon price is $199, including free shipping.
EdgeStar Built-In Dual Zone Wine Cooler
If you're looking for a large capacity wine fridge, but don't have the room to do a side-by-side, Wine Cooler Direct recommends the 24-inch-wide 141-bottle wine cooler from EdgeStar. The lower zone is 54F-64F which is ideal for reds and the upper zone has a 41F-54F range which is perfect for whites.
The shelves and bottle capacity are designed for "typical Bordeaux" bottle sizes. It has 14 shelves, 13 of which are full-size and able to hold 11 bottles and there is one half-size lower shelf that can hold up to 12 bottles. The layout allows you to maximize your bottle storage unless you are storing large format or unusual bottle sizes.
The door can be reversed, which means you can choose to have it open left or right. It also has digital controls and tinted glass. When compared to the 332-bottle capacity fridge, this one doesn't have a security lock built in.
However, at only 23 inches wide, it's much more convenient for those who don't have a lot of room for such a large fridge.
It's available on Wine Cooler Direct for under $1,900. You can also find it on Amazon.
Decide Whether Dual Temp Is for You
The obvious benefit to a dual-temperature wine fridge is the ability to store both reds and whites at the same time. If you just want to store inexpensive wines in a cooler versus in the fridge itself, then perhaps a single-temperature fridge is the way to go. And, if you're looking for a very small countertop model, you're pretty much limited to single-temperature options anyway.
Storage and Aging Considerations
Those just getting into wine aren't necessarily in need of an expensive, dual-temperature fridge, unless you are starting to purchase wines that are meant to be aged. If you are spending upwards of $100 or more on a bottle of wine, having them stored at the proper temperature is essential. Wines are delicate, and exposure to warm air can ruin a wine rather quickly. Also, storing wines at the wrong temperature can speed up the aging process, making for an unbalanced wine. Storing your whites at a lower temperature may help extend their lifespan, which is another bonus for dual temperature wine coolers.
Like all appliances, wine fridges won't last forever. Some models may last for a long time while others may die early on. Consider available warranties as they may make a difference if a wine fridge starts acting up in a year or two.
Caveat on Shipping to California
If you live in the state of California, getting a wine fridge shipped to your home may be a bit of a challenge. The California Energy Commission (CEC) passed a law regarding energy efficiency standards, which regulates the maximum annual energy consumption (kWh), so some wine fridges cannot be shipped to the state. Make sure when you are shopping online that you see a notation on whether it's certified for CEC standards, or it may have a warning that this particular model can't be shipped to California.
Is a Dual Temperature Wine Fridge Worth It?
Not all wine enthusiasts will need a dual-zone wine fridge, unless you're into higher-end wines or drink both white and red varietals on a regular basis. White wines and red wines should be kept at slightly different storage temperatures, so if you only have a single-temperature wine fridge, it means one of your favorite wine styles might be slightly off from how you normally enjoy it. Depending on how many bottles you plan to store, you may find the price difference is not that significant, and the higher price may be worth it as you expand both your wine knowledge and your wine collection.