Note: this wine cooler has been discontinued. As an alternative, we recommend the highly-rated Nutrichef Thermoelectric 12 Bottle Wine Cooler Refrigerator.

Many wine lovers want to keep a small selection of wines on display in their kitchen or entertainment area. This is usually a group of wines that they intend to sample or serve within a short time frame. Many wine coolers are too bulky for counter-top use and others may not hold an adequate number of bottles. The solution for many wine lovers may be the thermoelectric Emerson 12 bottle wine cooler.

Why Choose A Thermoelectric Wine Cooler?

Wine coolers on the market today have two methods of cooling your collection. The first is a common compressor, much like the one used in your refrigerator. This style of wine cooler is a bit bulkier and contains a gas refrigerant. These units can cool to very low temperatures, but can be very noisy and the gas is not environmentally friendly.

The second type is a thermoelectric wine cooler. Thermoelectric units do not use a compressor, instead they cool through the Peltier effect. By common definition, the Peltier effect is, ”a thermodynamic principle where an electric charge is sent through two joined pieces of metal, creating a heat flux, and heat is transferred from one side of the device to the other. One side gets hot and the other side gets cold.” This is the same principle that a heat pump works on. These units are less bulky, much quieter, and more eco-friendly than a compressor driven unit.

Small wine fridge

The Emerson 12 Bottle Wine Cooler

The 12 bottle wine cooler from Emerson, model number FR966, is a thermoelectric unit capable of holding the 12 bottles that the name implies. The unit is lightweight and compact so that it can easily fit on any counter-top. The Emerson Radio Corp. was founded in 1948 and has achieved the respect of its customers, retailers, and industry rivals alike. This unit should meet your wine display needs; however, no single unit can meet every need. Here are a few of the highlights and drawbacks of the Emerson 12 bottle.


The FR966 is overwhelmingly well reviewed by owners. Many comment on the price of the unit and how quietly it runs. Some of the best features of this unit are:

  • Compact: this unit measures just 14.2”W x 20.1” x 18.9”H and only weighs 35 lbs. It can be easily handled by one person and will fit on top of any standard counter. The flush back design allows the unit to sit very close to any wall.
  • Sleek: finished in black, the unit can fit into any d├ęcor.
  • Precision temperature control: temperature is controlled by an electronic touchpad with blue LED lighting. This offers you more precise control over the interior temperature compared to an old-style dial set-up.
  • Quiet: all thermoelectric units eliminate the noise of a compressor. This unit adds to that silence by featuring adjustable leveling and anti-vibration technology. The FR966 never exceeds 32 dB.
  • UV resistant: one of the worst things that can happen to a wine is that it becomes ”light struck”. The FR966 prevents that foul smelling disaster by featuring tempered glass to block harmful UV rays.
  • Environmentally friendly: in addition to operating without a refrigerant, this unit offers a smaller environmental footprint by only using 70 watts of power.
  • Cost: this unit comes in at a very affordable price.


In all fairness, there are a few drawbacks to this model that you should be aware of before you decide to buy. They include:

  • Cooling range: this unit can hold temperatures between 54 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is adequate for storing red wines; however, thermoelectric units are affected by ambient temperatures. They can only cool within 25 degrees of the temperature outside of the unit. While this may not be a problem in most homes, it is a limitation to be aware of. Additionally, this is a single zone wine cooler. If you need multi-zone cooling, this is not the unit for you.
  • Storage: while this model will hold the advertised 12 standard bottles, capacity is greatly diminished if you want to keep over-sized bottles or bottles of champagne.
Emerson 12 bottle fridge

The Verdict

The FR966 is a great entry level countertop wine cooler, especially given the price listed on Amazon. The precise temperature control and quiet running of the unit are great features for any level of wine enthusiast. On the other hand, since reds need to be stored at 55 degrees and the unit can be affected by ambient temperature, this may not be the best unit for strict red aficionados.

One last consideration is that the FR966 is covered by a one year limited manufacturers warranty for your peace of mind.

Note: this wine cooler has been discontinued. As an alternative, we recommend the highly-rated Nutrichef Thermoelectric 12 Bottle Wine Cooler Refrigerator.

Leave a Comment