A GUIDE TO THE ANTIQUE WINE COOLER OR CELLARET
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Antique wine coolers are today highly desirable, and are an excellent way of keeping your wine cool while adding a touch of class and sophistication to your home.
The antique wine cooler as we know it started out as a cellaret, a tub made from stone, marble, metal or earthenware, the origins of which date back as far as the 16th century. Cellarets reached their heyday in the 18th century, when the English upper class consumed a considerable amount of wine and therefore required a form of furniture in order to accommodate the storing, chilling and serving of wine.
A number of the earliest 18th century cellarets were in fact part of a larger set of tools used specifically for the serving of wine, including a fountain, cistern and cooler. As serving tables became more popular, cellarets were also constructed to complement these, with their free-standing nature making it easy for furniture manufacturers to do so. Some cellarets or wine coolers came made with brass handles and castors attached in order for them to be easily moved and placed under a table. They also took several forms, depending on the shape of the wine bottle needing to be stored. Initially, wine bottles were much shorter, though became progressively taller by the late 18th century, meaning that wine coolers also became considerably deeper.
Throughout the 19th century, wine coolers continued to remain popular, with the new habit of drinking red wine at room temperature giving rise to the production of cellarets without covers. The rising importance of toasting etiquette throughout the Victorian times also raised a further need for wine-associated furniture. As the sideboard became more popular, however, as did, later on, refrigeration, the use of cellarets and wine coolers began to decline. Today, however, they make a great throwback to centuries past – why not browse our collection of antiques for sale to find one to suit your home?