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Viking vs Sub-Zero Wine Coolers/Storage Systems (Reviews/Ratings)

July 6th, 2012 | 3 min. read

By Paul Gillis

The brands Sub-Zero and Viking are well known for quality and performance in their appliance collections, but how does this relate to storing wine? Wine storage is notoriously difficult as light, humidity, vibration and temperature can alter the tannins of the living grape and ruin the taste of the wine. We will look at both brands, their offerings and overall construction to understand which company preserves wine better.

Both Sub-Zero and Viking wine units are front venting and designed to be built into your cabinetry. Many other brands can be less expensive (freestanding Frigidaires are $400) but are rear venting and cannot be built into cabinets. Both brands can be connected to your home security system for service alerts or changes in temperature.


Viking was founded by former Whirlpool executives and is manufactured in Greenwood, Mississippi. Their wine coolers are available in 15 and 24 inch for undercounter as well as a 80 inch tall and 30 inch width models.


Sub-Zero is a third generation, family-owned company. Although wine coolers have been around for 20 years, Sub-Zero was the first company to build a storage system designed to address the problems of storing wine. Their models are 15 and 24 inch wide for undercounter as well as two larger units at 80 by 27 inchs wide and 84 high by 30 inches wide.

Sub-Zero vs Viking

subzero wine refrigerator 315W subzero wine refrigerator 424G viking wine refrigerator VWCI1150GRSS viking wine refrigerator VWCI1240GRSS

Sub-Zero 315 Wine Refrigerator

Sub-Zero 424 Wine Refrigerator

Viking VWCI1150GRSS Wine Refrigerator

Viking VWCI1240GRSS Wine Refrigerator 


Sub-Zero and Viking wine refrigerators have UV-resistant glass doors that are filled with a LOW-E argon gas that blocks out UV rays from spoiling the wine. The doors can be ordered in stainless steel or unfinished to accommodate custom cabinetry.


The proper amount of humidity is important in wine preservation, both Sub-Zero and Viking maintain a 60 to 70 percent humidity level which is perfect for long or short term storage. If the humidity level is higher than 70 percent, mold can form on the corks which doesn’t affect the wine, but can damage the label on the bottles and lower resale value. If the humidity is lower than 60 percent, the corks can dry out and let air into the bottle which can spoil the wine.


Any movement of the wine bottles or vibration can affect the wine, Sub-Zero and Viking have different ways of preventing vibration. Sub-Zero uses rubber grommets to support its compressor. This absorbs any vibrations made while the unit is running. Viking uses a vibration deadening coating on the shelves. Both brands have glide-out shelves for easy access.


Viking has two under the counter models, both have one temperature zone that can be adjusted from 44 to 68 degrees.

Sub-Zero also has two under the counter models, the 15 inch wide is a single zone like Viking with temperature control from 45 to 65 degrees. The 24 inch wide has two zones, which is perfect for storing red and white wine at different temperatures. The thermostats can be set from 39 to 65 degrees and maintains this temperature to within one degree in each section. The compartments are gasketted to eliminate temperature crossover from one compartment to another.

Viking’s 84 inch tall model has three zones, each allowing different types of wine to be kept at the optimal serving or storing temperatures ranging from 43 to 65 degrees. All three of the Sub-Zero tall units have two temperature zones, which can be adjusted from 39 to 65 degrees.

Viking Capacity:

  • 15 inch wide - 24 bottles - VWCI1150GRSS - $2,499
  • 24 inch wide - 45 bottles - VWCI1240GRSS - $2,699
  • 30 inch wide/80 inch tall- 150 bottles - VCWB301R - $7,349

Sub-Zero Capacity:

  • 15 inch wide - 26 bottles - 315W/S/TH - $2,159
  • 24 inch wide - 46 bottles - 424G/S/TH - $3,299
  • 27 inch wide/ 80 inch tall - 132 bottles - 427G - $5,899
  • 27 inch wide/80 inch tall wine/refrigerator - 78 bottles & 5.3 cubic ft of refrigerator - 427RG - $6,599
  • 30 inch wide/84 inch tall - 147 bottles - WS-30/S/TH-RH - $7,089

I like both units. In my opinion, the vibration and especially temperature control with two distinct zones of the Sub-Zero is superior to the Viking offering (or anyone elses).

What do you think?


Paul Gillis has over 15 years of experience in the appliance industry. Paul like to spend time golfing, working in the garden and fixing up his 100 year old home.

Read more about Paul here.

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Paul Gillis

Paul Gillis has over 15 years of experience in the appliance industry. Paul likes to spend time golfing, working in the garden and fixing up his 100 year old home.

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