The wine cooling sleeve isn't flashy, but it works.

For a while, my only hobby was scouring Etsy for vintage cooling containers, and suddenly, just as I was scrolling through Instagram without remembering why I had my phone open, I was trying to do my taxes or something, staring blankly at a list of midcentury wooden ice buckets and giant glass champagne cooling bowls. Everyone on my holiday shopping list has received one over the years: mock burl wood, grasscloth, bamboo, shiny silver in the shape of a penguin, vintage crystal.

Strangely, I never bought one for myself. When I serve wine by the bottle, I chill it in a more practical way: I use the Vacu Vin Wine Chilling Sleeve.

Vacu Vin Active Wine Cooler, Silver, Set of 2

For those of you who don't know, the Vacu Vin product is essentially a combination ice pack and cooler, but designed for plastic bottles (or cold drinks). The plastic sleeve contains six compartments of cooling gel. The sleeve is stored in the freezer, and when it's time to serve a bottle of wine straight from the fridge, the sleeve is placed around the bottle to keep it from heating up (yes, you can chill a room temperature bottle of wine, but this is better at maintaining temperature than actually cooling it). Like a cooler, it not only insulates the bottle from heat, but it also prevents latent heat, in the form of moisture, from building up around the bottle.

Vacu Vin Sleeves certainly don't have the retro style factor of a refrigerated bucket, but they get the job done. I also think the classic silver sleeve has a certain futuristic design appeal (there are objectively cuter patterns, like faux marble). Sleeves are also inexpensive, so you can have lots of them without them getting in the way. I stash my sleeves in the freezer until I'm ready to use them. Even if you have a nice ice bucket or champagne cooler container, consider getting a few of these sleeves to keep multiple bottles chilled for large dinners or cocktail parties.

They're lightweight, making them perfect to store in a cooler if you want to bring wine on a picnic or camping trip – you can leave an opened bottle chilled on a picnic table or blanket without having to uncork it and put it back in the cooler with ice again – and they're easy to carry to a BYOB restaurant with your wine bottles.

To be honest, I have no plans to stop buying vintage kitchenware online, and nothing beats the joy of chasing down the next great 1950s tortoiseshell bucket on the estate sale market. But while I search for the perfect bucket, I have a chilled bottle of wine by my side. It's all thanks to Vacu Vin.

Vacuum Bottle Rapid Ice Wine Cooler Platinum

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