hey all you winos.

my first wine fridge ever (and post) obviously don't want to be screwed.

i am currently looking at Vinotemp's 34 bottle black cabinet.

http://www.vinotemp.com/34-g-p-98.html

or their 60 bottle
http://www.vinotemp.com/front-exhaust-black-p-354.html

or Danby's 50 bottle (but i've heard uninspiring things about the Danby)
http://www.beveragefactory.com/refrigerators/wine/danbywine.shtml

or the Haier's 42 bottle one that a lot of people like to slob over for a noob.

spending $400-600 is the general budget and of course, i hope to outgrow this fridge very soon. Smile

ok, guys. help me out and give me your 2 cents on your first fridge and experiences.

thanks.
Original Post
Hey back and welcome to the forums.

My first (and only) fridge was (is) a Vinotheque 320, which I'm in the middle of outgrowing. I took some good advice at the time and bought much, much bigger than I thought I needed at the time. The general opinion that you'll find around here is that units of the size you're looking at are pretty much worthless, given temperature control and vibration issues. Go with a larger, better quality cabinet if you can.

If size and upfront cost are an issue, you might consider using professional wine storage (referred to as offsite storage around here, if you want to search the threads). This can work really well in combination with a smaller fridge for keeping some wines on hand that you want to drink.

The other option is just stack some wine boxes on their side in a relatively cool and temperature stable, interior closet (not on an external wall or where sunlight would hit it). This can work well for wines that you buy and will be drinking within 3-6 months (some would say longer).

The approach you take depends on how much wine you want to have on hand to drink on a whim and how much wine you want to buy that needs to lay down for years before drinking.
Agree with SD-Wineaux. I bought a 72 bottle Danby fridge several years ago, but it fluctuated by at least 4 degress up or down. Also, if power goess off for a short period of time, the thermostat resets to 44 (too cold for reds). This may be a problem with all elctronic thermostats, so you may want to avoid them. I have several Eurocave units that are amazing on how consistant they keep the temeratures and have little to no vibrations. The Vinotheques should do the same. I now use the Danby for whites and NV champagne, which I typically consume within a few months. If you can afford it, buy a unit larger than you need now.
SDwineaux, how long have you had your Vinotheque before you "outgrew" it? and are there any vibration issues or wide ranging temperatures? and do you keep any of your wines in a closet-type area?


brokefromwine, so the Danby is good for storing whites and champagnes and do you consume it straight out of the fridge? and how loud is your Danby? would you recommend it for me to keep in my living room?

thanks.

howzit.
My first fridge was a Vinotemp 600E. Holds about 500-600 bottles, cost me about $1700 with all the options.

I'd considered buying a small one from Costco but I saw a note that said it wasn't suitable for long-term ageing (without specifying what long-term meant). I ran the numbers on the Vinotemp and at about $3 a bottle it made the most sense.

I bought a second hand 42 bottle Haier unit very cheap a couple of years ago with the intention of moving the stuff that was ready into the house, but ended up giving it to a friend as a christmas gift (thus freeing up a couple of cases that she had stored in my main unit.) She's happy with it

Note that on any fridge the air temperature will fluctuate by a few degrees, but the volume of the wine is so large that the actual fluctuations within the bottle are minimal.

If you're buying wines to age for a while my advice would be to buy a large unit that you won't outgrow. If you can't afford one yet then rent an offsite storage locker instead until you can.

If you do buy a big unit, shop around. There are resellers (eg the Wine Club) who can get you the same unit at a lower price than buying direct from VinoTemp.

Make sure you have storage for magnums and champagne bottles. My unit has 3 3/8" racking; if I were buying one today I'd get 3 3/4 throughout instead. I'd sacrifice some storage space in return for not scratching the labels off every time I put them in. And get the uprated compressor; I had to replace my 1500BTU unit after 5 years and got a 2500BTU instead.
quote:
Originally posted by howzit:


brokefromwine, so the Danby is good for storing whites and champagnes and do you consume it straight out of the fridge? and how loud is your Danby? would you recommend it for me to keep in my living room?

thanks.

howzit.


The Danby is not loud, but varies temps as I mentioned earlier. I agree with SD-Wineaux that a full cooler will less likely to suffer temp variations in the wine itself, but my Eurocave is always reading 56.2, every single time I check! Overall, Danby is a good value wine cooler and should work well for red or white wines if you intend to store for a year or so. If you lose power frequently (we do here in the winter, ice storms), then make sure to always check the thermostat as it resets to a very low temp. I keep the Danby pretty cool and will frequently drink Champagne or white wine right out of it, although my wife prefers them a tad cooler. I think 44 is cool enough for whites/Champagne, to fully appreciate the aroma.
quote:
Originally posted by howzit:
SDwineaux, how long have you had your Vinotheque before you "outgrew" it? and are there any vibration issues or wide ranging temperatures? and do you keep any of your wines in a closet-type area?

Bought my cabinet in late 2001. Prior to owning it I was keeping my wine in a closet (or in my basement, when I was still in Denver), and currently have 5 cases in a closet as I've been outgrowing my cabinet. Also, for reference, I've decided to move my long-term agers into off-site storage. To me, it makes more sense than buying another cabinet.

As for the quality of the storage conditions, the Vinotheque is first rate but one of the more expensive ones on the market. Because I needed to keep my cabinet in a living area of my house, I elected to go with a "furniture-quality" unit and their quiet "QT" cooling system.

My best advice for you is think about where you want to put your cabinet and find a dealer or two in your area where you can look and listen to them.
I'll second (or third?) the buying a larger unit than you need post. I started with a 75 Danby about a year and a half ago and quickly outgrew that as I started to buy more and more different kinds of wine as I was just starting out with wine. I now have a Vinotemp 400E which holds about 350 bottles which I purchased for about $1000. If I had known, I would have purchased the Vinotemp first, rather than spending just under $500 on the Danby unit. Although, it did work out OK as I still use the Danby for my whites and keep all the reds in the Vinotemp.

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