Sub-Zero vs. Marvel vs. U-Line Wine Refrigerators (Reviews/Ratings)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  September 16, 2014  |  5 Min. Read

Wine Coolers

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One of the main questions I ask when someone is looking for a wine unit is “Do you store your wines for a extended amount of time, or do you drink them faster than you can put them in?”

If you are looking to store red and white wines at a certain temperature or mature your fine wines, Sub-Zero, U-Line and Marvel all manufacture a competitive product. Let's look at all three as well as the issues of storing wine itself.

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Wine Storage

subzero-wine-storage-424G-installed

Wine storage is completely unique. The tannins in wine are living. They need to be handled differently or the taste will be compromised. Light, vibration, heat and humidity need to be addressed or you could be drinking less than optimal wine.

Sub-Zero

Sub-Zero is a third generation company based out of Madison, Wisconsin. They were the originators of the shallow depth commercial style refrigerator with two compressors as well as the air scrubber and numerous other refrigerator enhancements designed to keep food fresher, longer. They were the first to design a better wine unit based on the unique requirements of storing and maturing wine.

U-Line

U-Line has been manufacturing undercounter refrigerators and icemakers for over 50 years. Founded in Milwaukee by Henry Uihlein, U-Line patented and designed the combination icemaker/refrigerator, DC icemaker for marine and numerous other niche under counter refrigeration products. Like Sub-Zero, U-Line has produced a better wine cooler than most brands. U-Line has many models and prices; the 2275ZWCS is their best unit.

Marvel

Marvel was started in 1932 when they began making undercounter freezers. Shortly thereafter they developed undercounter refrigeration. Marvel became a major industry leader in the luxury refrigeration market with the first upscale under-counter wine storage unit.

They were also the first to introduce the all-black interior which allows homeowners the capability to design built-in refrigeration in any room of their home. Marvel’s refrigeration is known for their quiet, yet powerful compressors with microprocessor controlled thermostats to provide accurate constant temperature. Today they offer standard style refrigerators, beverage centers, wine storage, ice makers and refrigerator drawers.

Sub-Zero vs. Marvel vs. U-Line Wine Refrigerator Models

Here are the most comparable models.

U-line-2275ZWCS.png

U-line 2275ZWCS - $2,779

 

subzero-wine-storage-424G

Sub-Zero 424G/S/TH - $3599

 

Marvel-6SDZEBSGR.jpg

Marvel 6SDZEBSGR - $2579.99

Which is Best?

All three brands have a tinted door designed to keep harmful Ultra Violet rays from damaging the tannins of the wine. They also address temperature concerns by having two independent zones with digital thermostats. All have door gaskets to eliminate temperature crossover between reds and whites. I like my reds a bit cooler, but that’s just me.

Sub-Zero does have a few other advantages, especially in vibration control. The racks glide on rollers, and gliding racks eliminate vibration. The compressor is on rubber grommets, which dampens vibration when the compressor is activated. Vibration is an enemy of wine. As red wine ages, it is common for the wine to “throw sediment”, a natural aging process which physically separates solids, principally tannic acid, from the wine. For this reason, collectors will often try to introduce as little movement as possible into the aging equation, for fear of re-integrating sediments back into the wine.

Lastly, Sub-Zero uses low voltage, indirect lighting, where as U-Line and Marvel use a 60 watt light bulb on the top of each zone. Placing a hot light source over wine is not a good idea for the longevity of the wine.

So which is the best?

If you’re looking to store and age wines and you don’t have the space or money for a wine cave (best way to age wine) then the Sub-Zero is the best choice. With the anti-vibration UV glass, low voltage lighting and precise temperature control it is the closest thing to having your own wine cave.

U-Line and Marvel are very good wine units for most wines, build quality is great, you can store reds and whites. The question really is do you have expensive wines that you want to mature. If not, the U-line or Marvel are both good choices for the price. I do like U-Line for their service record.

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Additional Resources

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

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