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Electric Wine Chillers
Want to cool down that Chablis, quick? Three new electric wine chillers claim they can chill a bottle quicker than your fridge.
Published May 1, 2010. Appears in Cook's Illustrated May/June 2010
What You Need To Know
Want to cool down that Chablis, quick? Three new electric wine chillers claim they can chill a bottle quicker than your fridge (50 minutes). We put them through their paces with bottles of Chardonnay, aiming for final temperatures between 48 and 52 degrees and using thermocouple probes to check temperatures. In two of the products, the bottle was spun in a cylinder along with water and ice, while in the third a siphon sprayed the bottle with cold water. Only one completely cooled the wine in less time than a refrigerator (six minutes), but it also flooded the counter with water and destroyed the label. We hoped it was just a fluke, so we did the test again with another version of the same model and experienced the same result.
None of the three, then, was fast or efficient enough to match its claims. They left us cold—too bad they couldn’t do the same for the wine.
Everything We Tested
This clear plastic globe, which contains a siphon that pumps cold ice water around a single bottle of wine, was so weak it barely agitated the water. The result: a cool-room-temperature bottle.
This model spun the bottles of wine in cold water and ice so fast, testers were afraid the entire apparatus was going to take off. While it did chill the entire bottle of wine far faster than the 50 minutes of a fridge, the extreme spinning ripped the labels off, and once the ice began to melt, water started running down the length of the bottle, spilling out of the unit and onto the counter. Another problem: Spinning whips up the sediment in the wine, and because the bottle rested horizontally in this model, it would need extra time standing upright for the sediment to settle.
A glitzy design featuring flashing lights couldn’t disguise the ineptitude of this model, which spun the wine together with ice and water yet ended up chilling only the bottom half of the bottle. (While we thought simply shaking the bottle gently to blend the uncooled portion with the cooled might yield an acceptably chilled wine, it didn’t: The wine poured out at cool room temperature.) Basically a glorified ice bucket—except an ice bucket is quicker and a lot cheaper.
Reviews you can trust
Reviews you can trust
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