Summer days are, for so many of us, all about enjoying cold white wine or rosé in the sun.
Obviously lukewarm versions are nothing short of an anti-climax and cannot be abided, which is why, sooner or later, you will want to invest in a wine cooler – or else you’ll spend your life grinning and bearing warm wine or marching to and from the fridge.
Wine coolers are very grown up – the apparatus of those who have got their houses in order. And they come in a variety of styles and price points.
There are the grander and rather more ostentatious buckets where wine or champagne can nestle in among the ice.
Or there are single bottle tubes which act to keep the booze cool without the aid of actual ice. Some are practical – for picnics or festivals – and others are for show.
A wine cooler should, above all else, keep wine cool.
But we wanted coolers that would keep wine cool for a considerable amount of time. We also tested to see if any gadgets could speed up the cooling process, and of course, we were suckers for anything that would make our table décor look even better.
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Kalinko rattan ice bucket
This rattan bucket is an absolute beauty – be ready for a steady stream of compliments on its looks, particularly if you plump for a brighter shade (there are six other colourways available). However, this is more than just easy on the eye. It keeps wine and ice cool for hours thanks to the insides, which includes an internal lid fortified by a sturdy plastic. While this is primarily an ice bucket, it is equally accomplished as a wine cooler.
Buy now £68.00, Kalinko
Moxon hat wine cooler
This is the answer for modernists who aren’t looking for wicker or metal. It’s feather light – weighing almost nothing – with smooth lines and a little handle which is especially useful when it comes to pouring. It is made of a special expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam material which is not only lightweight, but means the wine is kept cooler for longer. Although this comes in pure black, we love the speckled version – it adds a fresh, fun and contemporary feel.
Buy now £23.99, Moxon
Dibor champagne wicker cooler basket
This is very small but very cute – a properly whimsical piece with wicker and linen detailing. However, it does has a thermal lining to keep wine cool, but it’s not that deep. It’s perfect for country picnics or evening drinks in a sunny garden.
Buy now £10.20, Dibor
Robert Welch drift double-walled wine cooler
This is well designed and ideal for those who take entertaining seriously. It’s not cheap but you are getting what you pay for here. It is double walled, meaning wine is kept cooler for longer. It felt sturdy and substantial without being too heavy and looked super dramatic as table centrepiece. Lovely, smart and practical to boot.
Buy now £95.00, Robert Welch
BarCraft hammered stainless steel champagne bowl
If you want something show stopping, call off the search. This vast vessel is perfect for parties, especially on hot days when cool drinks are absolutely essential. Not only does this add a sense of propriety and occasion to any gathering – check out the round handles and the hammered texture on the steel – it is also really functional. We managed to fit seven bottles of wine in here along with ice and water, and they remained chilled for hours. Beware of the condensation on the underside of the bowl.
Buy now £54.99, Lakeland
CaddyO bottle chiller
We absolutely love this – it's essentially luggage for cold wine. THe chiller is smart, sleek and keeps the temperature of wine dipped. You’ll need to put the cooler tube in the freezer for at least four hours before using, but once it’s frozen the cooling gel inside will force a wine’s temperature to plummet. This is definitely one for picnics, boozy hikes or camping.
Buy now £29.99, Cellardine
ChillCore 3 in 1
This is basically the exact reverse of a traditional wine cooler in that this cools wine from the inside out. You’ll need to pop the cooler in the freezer for four hours before using. We found this to be pretty effective – warm white wine cooled down in five minutes flat and the pouring element is a nice touch, too.
Buy now £19.99, Cellardine
Terracotta wine cooler
Serving some major retro vibes, the terracotta cooler has been a firm favourite for chilling wine in earthy, understated, and dare we say it, bohemian homes for decades. Aesthetically, we love its rustic charm – perfect for kitchen suppers, garden picnics or trips to the beach. But functionally it’s a cracker too. The clay really does promote coldness, keeping wine at a drinkable icy temperature for a good couple of hours.
Buy now £13.99, Amazon
Vacu Vin active wine cooler
This cooler has a inner sheath which requires freezing prior to use, which is then cased in a hard plastic shell. The wine bottle is put in the middle of all of this through an opening in the bottom. While this is a brilliant option for anyone on a budget, we can’t say this will be the most beautiful addition to any table, but it does the job and it does it well. Our wine remained totally chilled throughout the meal and beyond, and we’d totally recommend this for picnics as it’s light to carry. We found that it worked best on slimmer bottles, anything with a more rotund body was a struggle to squeeze.
Buy now £14.99, Lakeland
Getting Personal personalise copper wine cooler
This makes for a thoughtful wedding or anniversary gift thanks to being personalised. We love the brushed finish of the copper and the contrasting steel centre. It keeps wine cool effectively and feels light. This cooler feels contemporary and modern – but it's built to last.
Buy now £29.99, Getting Personal
The verdict: Wine coolers
We’re totally in love the Kalinko rattan ice bucket which is much more than just a pretty face. But if you have a lower budget and can’t say no to a gadget – try the Cellardine core cooler for a bit of practical magic.