Home > Gadgets, wine accessories > Wine Gadgets: Wine Chillers

Wine Gadgets: Wine Chillers

This post is a part of the Wine Gadgets Series, where we are discussing different tools enhancing wine appreciation. These posts are usually published on Thursdays, however, it doesn’t mean “every Thursday”. In case you missed some of the prior posts, here are the links: Series Intro, Wine Pourers, Wine Preservers, Wine Travel Tools.

It is hot outside! I want to drink that bottle of Riesling which I just brought from the store – but it should be coooooold (yes, that cold, please). Okay, no problems, let’s put in the fridge, and while I put few veggies and the cheese on the table, it will be ready to drink, let’s say, in  about 20 minutes, right?

Nope. Wrong. You see, air is a terrible conductor of cold (and heat too for that matter). Assuming your wine was at 68°F (20°C), and you want to drink it at 50°F (10°C), it will only take you about…3 hours! Yep, so much for the great plans (dropping the wine in the freezer is no help either – the  bottle is not going to chill any faster). So, you think I’m destined to drink warm white wine on the hot day? Not really – please keep reading, will talk now about few solutions we actually have.

When it comes to chilling the wines, you generally have two issues to solve.

  1. Make the wine cold
  2. Keep the wine cold for as long as you need it.

There are a number of tools which can help you with solving those two issues. In no particular order, here is the list of some of them – note, however, that I will go as far as including cellar as your tool for chilling the wine – but I really don’t plan to discuss it at any depth…

Here we go:

  • Cellar – I’m happy for you if you got one – we will not be discussing this here, but I will talk about wine storage solutions at some point.
  • Wine Fridge – nice to have, we will talk about them as part of wine storage discussion
  • Rapid Ice Chiller – simple, easy to use, easy to store, inexpensive and cool looking
  • Chiller/Holder – available as stainless steel, marble, ceramic, double-glass wall and may other types. This is a “keep cold” tool
  • Electronic wine chiller – conversational piece and… waste of money?
  • Ice Bucket – best of the breed, the most efficient and the least expensive tool out of all!

As usual, here are some pictures:

Now, let’s talk about these gadgets. As I said, we will discuss cellars and wine fridges at a later time, so let’s focus on the rest.

Rapid Ice Chiller: The idea is simple. You store it in the freezer. When you want to drink the bottle of wine which needs to be chilled, you pull this chiller out of the freezer, put it on the bottle, and it does the job in under 10 minutes (personally tested many many times – this is not a marketing claim). The advantages – it is inexpensive, doesn’t take much space, easy to use, very efficient. Drawback – not all rapid wine chillers will fit bottles of sparkling wine, so you might need to have multiples. Also – you really should have one in the freezer, it doesn’t help to store it elsewhere. Overall – this is a useful device, and can be also a conversational piece. Ahh – and the added benefit – these can double as an ice pack, especially if you need to put it on child’s arm or even leg. Not that I’m suggesting this as a reason to get it, but kind of good to know. Here is the link for Amazon in case you would want to get one: Rapid Wine Chillers.

Chiller/Holder: They come in various shapes and forms and can be made out ceramics, metal, plastic, marble, etc. These gadgets typically will not chill the bottle of wine (never mind the claims) – but they might be able to keep it cold for a while. Some of them require to be pre-chilled to be efficient. I think these are more conversational pieces than useful devices -but it is almost inevitable for a known wine lover to get one as a gift. I have multiples and use them truly once in the blue moon… In case you need one, again, here is Amazon selection for you: Wine Bucket Coolers.

Electronic wine chillers: Yes, there are tons of them, but – I honestly don’t believe they have any use. They look fancy, sure, and promise a lot – but I have seen some in operation – lots of noise and very little efficiency (if you disagree – please, use comment section, pin me to the wall…). The one you see in the picture above I got as a gift – the box still stands unopened, collecting the dust (if you want it – make me an offer : ) ).

Ice bucket: simply the best! When it comes to rapid chilling the wine bottle, nothing works better! Two little tricks will make it work best for you. First, you need to add water so the bottle is resting in the mixture of ice and water. Second – add salt to the water, this will slow down melting of the ice. What makes it the best? Remember the beginning of the post? To chill the bottle of wine in 20 minutes? The ice bucket will actually do it – in the mixture of water and ice, the temperature of the wine will be dropping at one degree per minute(!), so it will take less than 20 minutes to chill the bottle from 68°F to 50°F. Most likely you already own an ice bucket of some sort, so this is free, simple, and very efficient. Well – you have to have the ice though. Oh yes – and the ice bucket will keep your wine cold like nothing else, so this is actually the most universal out of all the chillers we discussed here. And if you need a fancy wine bucket – here is what you can find on Amazon: Wine ice buckets.

Of course we need to run our traditional poll:

[polldaddy poll=7211185]

And we are done! Stay cool, and drink nice cold and refreshing wine. Until the next time – cheers!

  1. June 28, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I absolutely adore all these gadgets and love that you do this topic every week!

    • talkavino
      June 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! I definitely plan to continue the series for a while – the subject of wine gadgets is pretty much endless : )

  2. June 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    essential for summer picnics. I saw one that attaches to the front bars of a bicycle. Perfect for not drinking and driving. Just some tipsy drinking and riding!

    • talkavino
      June 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Yep, very appropriate for summer : )

  3. June 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    We use the trusty ice bucket, though some friends gave us a “corksicle”, which looks like an icicle you stick into the bottle of wine to cool from the inside. I still like the ice bucket the best!

    • talkavino
      June 28, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      you are absolutely right! I’ve seen those “corksicle” devices. I can use those with water, but somehow the idea of inserting something into the bottle of wine is totally foreign to me, I guess this is why I didn’t even mentioned those. Might do another post or update this one late on.

  4. June 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Just got a wine chilling topper which cools the wine through a coil. It’s good in emergencies. Electric wine chillers I’ve used only solve your second problem: keep wine cool (once it already is). Agreed that few things get wine cold aside from fridges or buckets. I love my laser thermometer.

    • talkavino
      June 29, 2013 at 12:36 am

      I love my laser thermometer too! It will be a subject of a separate gadgets post, and it is super-geeky…

  5. June 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

    We have always had and used the rapid ice chillers. Work great for our Rieslings (by the way, nice touch that Karthäuserhof Riesling in the chiller. Which one was it?). What I don’t like about the bucket method is that you need a towel or something because inevitably the bottle gets very wet…but definitely the fastest method and the longest lasting.

    • talkavino
      June 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      This was Kabinett 2007 – somehow I thought having Riesling there would be appropriate, but also I was curious if anyone would take a notice : ) The label on this one is pretty unique and interestingly enough, makes it a very tough seller… The wine actually was good…

      • June 29, 2013 at 11:38 pm

        It is a stellar winery, seriously. These guys know what they are doing, and have known for a long time. The wines are actually not from the Mosel valley but from the Ruwer, a small tributary to the Mosel. It is the only label of that form and type I know of…probably for historical reasons…

        • talkavino
          June 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

          No questions – the wine was very good. Thank you for the info – I didn’t know where do the harvest the grapes from…

  6. June 30, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I bought an electronic chiller for my son a couple years ago and was very disappointed in the performance! Would never buy one for myself. For the wine bar, I will have separate wine refrigerators for reds and whites so that I can load them up at night before I leave and the wine should be good for the next day.

    • talkavino
      June 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      well, the wine bar of course is different. But for many other cases, I think that ice bucket is great.

  1. June 28, 2013 at 9:21 am
  2. August 16, 2013 at 9:10 am

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