Hey everyone...Glad to be here!

Have been interested in wine for a number of years, but finally decided to start really learning about it instead of just blindly drinking it (though there was always great joy in the blinding drinking also!). Took my first trip to the Napa Valley last week and fell in love...suprisingly reminded me of summers on my grandfather's farm in Ohio...go figure!

Purchased a number of bottles ranging from Cabarnets to Viogners, that are now stored in a cool dark linen closet in my hallway. Because I live in an upper apartment in the San Fernando Valley, however, it promises to get quite warm at times during the summer...oh sometimes 85-95 degrees (when the air isn't on)! So I thought I might purchase a small affordable wine cooler/cellar for my apartment so that I don't fry some of my lovely purchases from Napa...and don't fry any of my wine in the future.

Both space and money are an issue. Thinking of a 24-36 bottle unit (I know bigger is better, so I'll aim for the 36). Since I live in So. California, I live fairly close to some manufacturers/dealers and thought I would just pick it up my self to save on shipping.

Any thoughts on these smaller units? Vinotemp is located fairly close to me...so is Westside Wine Cellars. Both have scratch & dent models available at very reasonable prices(purchasing for function, not looks). The names for the smaller units I have seen are Vinotemp, Avanti, Sanyo, Danby, Haier...any thoughts on any of these (Target, Costco, Home Depot, etc.). They are all the smaller glass door refrigeration units. I think the scratch & dent models currently available are all Vinotemps.

My purchases have not been too lofty...ave. $18-$35 per bottle. But I think because of the temperature situation in my residence, a small unit might be advisable.

Any bad choices out there? Anything to look out for? I read through the forum entries on home wine cellars and found most dealt with larger more sophisticated units...any help for newbie me would be greatly appreciated...

Thanks very much for your time! Big Grin

rowjo
Original Post
Welcome Rowjo!

Just like you a few months ago, I was a wine newbie.

I am in a similar situation as you, only a few precious bottles but many moderate priced ones that you don't want to turn into vinegar.

I have looked into the Haier, Vinotemp, Avanti, etc. They all say they hold max. capacity of 24 bottles, but don't believe that. You would have to tightly pack everything in there to fit 24 bottles.

Personally, I would buy from Costco's and Target since they have a better return/exchange policy (I think Target it's 90 days with a receipt to return) just in case you decide you want to upgrade to a bigger one if your buying rate increases or if the wine cooler just breaks down.
Welcome to the forums.

The advice you will hear over and over again is don't underestimate your storage needs for the future. The 24 bottle fridge will fill up in an instant, and you'll want a 36.

The 36 will fill up just as quickly, and you'll wish you had gotten a 50. Etc...

So go for the biggest one you can afford and have space for.
We have had two Avanti 34-btl coolers in the past. I was able to work it out to fit a nice mix of fat and standard bottles in... one had 33 and the other had 32. W/ a tiny cup of water in the back, they held a constant temp of 55 and stayed around 65-75% humidity. Try to store them in a cold room... if the room is hot the compressor will run continuously, and humidity control will be a royal pain for you.

LJ

"Drink up, me hardies, YO HO!"
Thanks for the help so far...now here's a very newbie question...do I even need to purchase a wine cooler at this point?

I don't plan on any cellar-aging at this point in my wine education. I imagine that I will find ample occasions to drink the newest of my wines within the next 2 years...if not sooner.

The interior linen closet I am currently using for storage is not chilly by any means...temp. range is probably 74-82 degrees in summer (I have no central air...upper apt.) It is very dark since this is in an interior hall...and I live the door cracked a bit for circulation. I have all the bottles stackd on their sides.

Since I am not going to hold onto my wine for lengthy periods of time...is a small wine cooler a necessity? Or have I just gotten caught up in the excitement of trying to do things the "right way"? I'd rather spend the money on exploring more wines if the cooler really isn't necessary...that sounds more entertaining...and doesn't take up the extra space either!

Thanks again!

rowjo
quote:
Originally posted by Hunter:
There have to be at least 30 searchable threads on this topic. Use the search feature. Every unit was discussed I'm sure.

To give you a quick rec: I would go with a 42 bottle Haier unit. $250-$275ish.


I have this same unit and would agree 100% on the recommendation.
rowjo,

Even if you don't plan on ageing wine, there is something to be said for drinking wine at 60°F instead of 80°F. Furthermore, some bottles seem to be so sensitive to heat that even a moderate time at 85°F might alter the wine in the bottle. I would recommend getting a small 16 bottle cooler to keep your red wine at the perfect serving temperature. Shouldn't cost more than $100 and would be worth it.

And if you ever change your mind about laying down wines, look into renting storage space offsite. It's much cheaper in the short to mid term ($13 per month for 9 cases near me)and you'll save space in your apartment.

Enjoy.

[This message was edited by Wine Spam on May 20, 2004 at 07:42 PM.]
i "third" hunter and pour que. my first was the 42 haier that i found for $225 at lowe's hardware about four years ago. i just stepped up to a eurocave and it is already full. GO BIG!!! i've never heard anyone say that they wished they had a smaller wine fridge.
Well, I'll give Hunter a rousing 4th. I had that one for a while. At one point, I actually crammed over 45 bottles in. But know this: you will outgrow it. I did within a year, but still grew my collection (although I did have a/c). I kept the collectibles inside the cooler and the drinkers in a rack. But still wise. Make sure this is for you. If it is, make sure your next one is at least a 400 bottle size. I went from mini cellar to 200 and alas, 200 is not enough.
Unfortunately my only option over here was the Haier 30-bottle model. I bought a few of them as the heat in Naples is not conducive to storing wine. I can fit exactly 35 750ml bottles comfortably in each unit. They work great, and if the power shuts off for any reason they reset to the "red wine" option temps, which is good because Italy's electricity isn't the most reliable.

You definitely want one to store your wine. For reds, the fridge is too cold, and your closet is too hot. I've tried to quick cool reds that were too warm and they are never the same as one kept consistently cool.

Good luck to you. Remember.....retail is for suckers. Those floor and blemish models are the way to go if the price is right. Ask for even more off than they are offering.

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