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wanted to share this story with hope that people won't make the mistake I made...
A few months ago I bought a Danby’s wine cooler model DWC656BLS (suppose to hold up to 65 bottles) at Sam's Club. I bought this wine cooler with an expectation that my best wines would be stored there safely under a controlled temperature and humidity, as described in Danby’s product literature.

After less then 2 months of having the product,I was amazed to find out that the wine cooler had frozen four out of the forty-one bottles I put in there and potentially damaged the other thirty-seven.
The cork of one of these four bottles was pushed completely out and the wine had spilled on the entire wine cooler floor and my basement floor. The corks of the other three bottles were pushed more then a half of the way out of the bottleneck.
When I called Danby’s Customer Service I received a very unprofessional and inappropriate level of service. Aside from the very unpleasant and dismissive tone, the representative told me that wine cannot be kept in the wine cooler for more then three months (regardless of the fact that my wines were less then 2 months in the wine cooler). When I mentioned that there is no such reference in the written material that comes along with the product, the answer I got was "this is common sense".
When I kindly requested the representative to get a formal statement about the three months maximum storage, she refused.

I wrote a letter to Danby's Vice President Danby Product in Guelph (Ontario) and after more then a month and a half later got a reply from Danby's insurance company saying "nothing within the warranty imply that Danby will be responsible or liable for any spoilage or damage to wine or other contents of this appliance, whether due to any defect of the appliance, or its use, whether proper or improper". could you imagine...???

To make a long story short (it's already very long...), I returned the wine cooler to Sam's Club with no dispute. I pray and hope that the wines that got this "sub-zero temperature treatment" would not be harmed when I open them.
One thing for sure, I would never ever buy another product from Danby!
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quote:
Originally posted by Gigond Ass:
With all due respect to your plight, small wine cellars are not suitable for long term storage. Obviously the piece of crap shouldn't freeze your wine.

If you are serious about collecting wine, buy a real wine cabinet from a specialty manufacturer or get off site storage.


you are absolutely right! the problem is that I assumed that Danby produces "REAL wine cabinet"... sometimes we learn the hard way.
Frozen?

Are you sure they didn't sell you a portable freezer? It has to be friggin' near 25-30 degrees for that to happen! You should have seen ice on the damm window. Eek You're better off just putting in your food refridg.

quote:
the representative told me that wine cannot be kept in the wine cooler for more then three months (regardless of the fact that my wines were less then 2 months in the wine cooler).


Yeah, if it's at 35 degrees. That makes no sense.

Sure there are great cabinets out there, but a reliable wine cooler works very well too - even for moderate storage time and you'll save a lot of money when you start.

I've kept some very good wine in one of my small Haier units for up to 2 years and it's always fine. Make sure the remp is digital, constant within a few degrees and put a dish of water or other portable for a little humidity exposure. Still, the unit must me reliable and a good name.

Side question (may sound stupid), but you did have this unit inside your house right?
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
Agree with w + a. Very odd that the cabinet would get this cold. Also odd that it wasn't noticed until damage occurred. Were the frozen bottles low alcohol whites?

PH

It's odd indeed. according to the "books" that came along with the wine cooler, it couldn't go below +6 C, but when I opened the door, I've noticed that the digital display showed -7 C.
the 4 bottles that were frozen were red - 1996 ch. Talbot, 1996 ch. Pichon Longueville Baron, 1996 Cannubi Barolo and a 2004 CdP La Jenasse Chaupin.
The point is that when we buy such a product it cannot be a Russian roulette - it has to be reliable and the company that produces it needs to be reliable - their warrnty is a joke!
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
quote:
Originally posted by GPCi:
their warrnty is a joke!


First, my condolences on the loss of your wines. Frown That being said, unless the warranty explicitly covers consequential damages the warranty isn't the issue. Next time, step up for a good unit. Lesson learned.

PH

an expensive lesson...
as you could see in my initial note "nothing within the warranty imply that Danby will be responsible or liable for any spoilage or damage to wine or other contents of this appliance, whether due to any defect of the appliance, or its use, whether proper or improper".
The point/message here is be careful chosing your "unit" - it has to have a much better warrenty than the one Danby provides and probably come from a better producer with a consistent positive reputation!
I would be shocked to learn that ANY wine cellar manufacturer would extend their guarantee to the contents stored.

Pay no attention to Hunter when he praises his mini pile-o-junk countertop wine cooler. He only uses it because it's cheap, he's cheap and he's saving every penny to take an extended trip to Napa to attend Zingasm's next event... Big Grin
Wow, I would never get a Danby to begin with, but now if anyone I know should be interested in a wine cooler, I will tell them to NOT get a Danby.

The only wine cooler I use is Eurocave. I know there are plenty of other top notch ones out there as well, but after some research I liked Eurocave the best.

Eurocave is very expensive, but worth the investment.
I have experience the same problem. I monitor the temperatures with an electronic thermometer conencted to my computer. I caught the Danby before it hit 43 degrees. I had the service people change the thermostat. It still runs too cold. My guess (and it is a pretty good guess) the company in China that makes the thermostats for the wine cooler also makes the thermostats for the Beer Meister which runs colder. I believe that the commpany has the Beer Meister thermostats in the Wine coolers. I am pursuing it now. I'll contact the company as soon as I get my note answered from the Chinese company that makes the thermostats.
So what your saying is that the Danby wine cooler/wine freezer that I have in my basement is not the best idea for me to store my 2003 futures....lovely. Luckily my father and I are going to build a wine cellar....hopefully sooner than later. Sorry to hear about your Bordeaux GPCi. Although my unit works somewhat ok, I think that your thermostat must have been stuck or something. Anyone know of any offsite storage in the suburbs of Chicago?
I've had Haier 30 (4 years) and Danby 75 bottle units (8 months) and have not had one issue with either. These things happen, I'm sure there are horror stories of thousand dollar EuroCaves going bonkers, too.

You dont hear about them unless something goes wrong, and given how many Avantis, Danbys, Haiers, etc..get sold - I'd hazard a guess that the "crap out rate" is pretty low.

I think winos like to dump on them as we do anything not "high-end." But in my limited experience, literally havent had one issue.
I am fairly new to wine and wine related goodies, but isn't a wine cooler simply a fridge to maintain wine at serving temp, rather than something to create the conditions needed for long-term cellaring of wine? Not sure if this is correct or not...seems like many of the cheaper wine units that I looked at were described as 'coolers' or 'fridges', vs. more expensive ones which were often referred to as 'cellars' (which may or may not have humidity control). Marketing gimmicks aside, are these descriptions not indicative of differences in function?
No machine, I don't think that's the case.

I think it is unlikely that someone who hasn't seriously investigated the issue would understand the distinction, particularly given who vaguely the manufacturers describe these things.. much of the literature about these devices is woefully inadequate or unclear about issues like whether they control humidity.
Agreed re. vague descriptions, that definitely seems to be the case, but certain manufacturers clearly specify the intended use of the unit that they are selling, and if it was called a wine cooler and was not specified to be for proper long term storage and aging of wine, I would not consider buying the unit for that purpose, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary I would assume that such a unit was not meant for that purpose...just to be safe.

Given the manufacturer's response to GPCi, it seems that the unit that he/she purchased was only meant to maintain wine at a desired serving temp, and not to age wine...though I doubt that a saleman or brochure would have indicated that this was the case.
I have a question on an issue above. I recently bought a Eurocave, but it will take 20 days to get here and not having anything in the interim, put my 25 bottles (incl. '95 Clerc-Milon, '04 John Duval Entity, '02 Reussic, and a few oter $30-$80 bottles)in the fridge until the Eurocave gets here (probably another 5-10 days). Am I asking for cork problems from humidity and be better off just putting them in a room someplace? They have been in the fridge for about 3 weeks now waiting for their new home.
Along the same line as Prez's question, my basement is about 66 to 67 degrees. Most bottles will be consumed within 2 years, but I have a few that require long-term aging. Is 67 too warm for these wines, even for a short period of time? I probably have 15-20 bottles like this right now...should I take them to a proper storage facility until I can get my wine cellar set up?
quote:
67 is too warm for your long-termers in the long-term, but how long until you get your cellar set up and how long have they been sitting like this up to now?


Some have been at that temp for approx. 3-5 months at most, other (some 04 futures) just came last week. I will have my a/c on within 7 or 8 weeks, temp should go down to 60 or lower in the basement, and within 2 months of that the cellar should be up and running at 55. So I guess the time horizon is 7 or 8 more weeks, until a/c season. I will call some facilities in Toronto and figure out how much of a pain it will be to set something up for a few months.
I read a few articles regarding the wine-temperature-storage triangle and although everyone recommend the 55 F (~12.5 C) as THE optimal temp (the 55 F was proven as the best temp to slow the maturity process of the wines), the key success factor is the constant temp. people that stored their wines in a constant 67 F (no changes between summer and winter or night an day), could successfuly cellared their wines for mid-term to long term time in a good condition.
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
Some have been at that temp for approx. 3-5 months at most, other (some 04 futures) just came last week. I will have my a/c on within 7 or 8 weeks, temp should go down to 60 or lower in the basement, and within 2 months of that the cellar should be up and running at 55. So I guess the time horizon is 7 or 8 more weeks, until a/c season. I will call some facilities in Toronto and figure out how much of a pain it will be to set something up for a few months.

I wouldn't bother with an offsite, then. But subtract a year or two from a "normal" drinking window for those wines.
Machine, the last thing I read said that wines age 2x as fast every 10 degrees above 55. Hence wines stored at room temp 75 would age 4x as fast. The accelerated aging is bad especially over the long haul. I'm in the same situation. Hope to have a cellar built this summer....and I have way more than 30 bottles that require aging....
Pressure is on, glad to hear I have company! I do have several other 2003, 2004, and 2005 bottles on the way, another 4 coming in 3 weeks (2 each of 03 Montrose and Cos d'Estournel), another 12 coming at beginning of June, and then more coming every time I can make a trip down to NY to pick up bottles from storage (or convince friends to bring bottles up here for me when they visit NY). I hope to get 600 bottles of storage space, I think I can squeeze it in. Won't have that many bottles for some time of course...maybe have 250 right now with 120 on the way in the next 2 years. From other people's experience, is 600 bottles enough? I can increase the density and up the number a bit....
quote:
Originally posted by Gigond Ass:
I would be shocked to learn that ANY wine cellar manufacturer would extend their guarantee to the contents stored.


I do know someone who had $15,000 worth of wine frozen in their ~100 bottle wine fridge made by Chigo. The distributor's insurance company paid out $9000 as a settlement.
quote:
Originally posted by spacewrangler:
I've had Haier 30 (4 years) and Danby 75 bottle units (8 months) and have not had one issue with either. These things happen, I'm sure there are horror stories of thousand dollar EuroCaves going bonkers, too.

You dont hear about them unless something goes wrong, and given how many Avantis, Danbys, Haiers, etc..get sold - I'd hazard a guess that the "crap out rate" is pretty low.

I think winos like to dump on them as we do anything not "high-end." But in my limited experience, literally havent had one issue.


The problem with **MOST** of the cheaper coolers is that they have compressors thus they create vibration that will RUIN a good bottle of wine in fairly short order!

Coolers like Eurocave, that are an investment in your fine wine, do NOT have compressors and asure you of a constant temprature. I am fortunate, below grade basement stays at a solid 58 all year round but if I was even going to look at one, I would save my money and buy a wine AGING unit, not a wine cooler!!

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