We got a cheapo wine fridge for short term storage this weekend. We got a vissani/magic chef 52 bottle unit for $200. It's a compressor-based unit with a simple 1-7 dial setting.

My main consideration in going for a cheap one is that none of the ones in the $300-500 range seem good enough to warrant the price, and we simply cannot afford anything over $500 anyway. Our good wines are stored off site at a wine storage facility that is a long drive away.

I've been measuring the temperature at the top and bottom rows and it fluctuates pretty wildly at the bottom. It's common to go as low as 42 degrees and high as 56 degrees. The top stays within a 5 degree range and seems ok (57-62).

Is this much fluctuation at the bottom common? Is it going to damage the wines in 1-6 month window we will keep them there?

I'm kind of afraid to put my decent wines in there (currently have nothing worth more than $15-20) but on the flip side I suspect that more bottles would result in lower fluctuations.

Help...?
Original Post
Welcome to WS!!

What you are describing does not sound like a common problem.

I think you are correct that if the fridge were full, there would be less fluctuation.

I also think that if you are talking about storage for 1-6 months the chances of damage are pretty slim. Store the best stuff at the top of the fridge, where the fluctuations are less. Put the cheaper stuff down at the bottom.
Good points, all. Thanks.

The only down side to storing the best stuff up top is that I then still have to move good white wines to the cooler spot before drinking. One of the things I was hoping for was to be able to drink right from the new cooler.

I suppose anything I do will be better than the prior storage spot - an uninsulated closet with no vent that would fluctuate 15 degrees or more each day and get as hot as 85.

The fridge can be returned if the temps fluctuate too much. Just trying to figure out how much is "too much" in a wine fridge.
quote:
Originally posted by TAsunder:
Good points, all. Thanks.

The only down side to storing the best stuff up top is that I then still have to move good white wines to the cooler spot before drinking. One of the things I was hoping for was to be able to drink right from the new cooler.

I know many Americans drink whites too cold, but I feel that wine cellar temperture is not cold enough for me. I always take it out and give it 15 minutes or so in the freezer. I'm looking for around 48 to 50 degrees.
The air temp will fluctuate a great deal more than the wine temp. The fuller the fridge is the more the thermal mass there is and less fluctuation. I believe someone on here has a temperature sensor that measure inside temp of a previously used wine bottle with water in it to measure actual internal bottle temps and not air temps.
I purchased this same wine fridge myself about 2 months ago and so far, no problems. For 199 bucks, I couldn't justify spending 2 to 3 times more (or even more in some cases) for another fridge. It does the job and it seems to keep a steady temp. It holds 52 bottles (or so it says -- I have about 40 in there and it seems at capacity) and if you go on sites such as wine enthusiast, you could find 52 bottle fridges for upwards of $1,000. I have a hard time believing that would be worth it.
You are talking short term storage, and I wouldn't worry about it. I have a 166 bottle Avanti in my kitchen, and the cabinet temp varies from time to time. I don't worry about it that much, but I also don't keep many of our VERY special wines in there. Like others have said, it is the temp in the bottle that needs to stay consistent, and I am not too worried about it. Wine is tougher than we think sometimes, and yes, I do think some of our wines are precious. But I don't go OCD over them and monitor them my every waking moment. We do however have some special wines in there right now. Now Sine Qua Non and Scarecrow come to mind. -mJ
quote:
Originally posted by mjp_oenos 1:
I purchased this same wine fridge myself about 2 months ago and so far, no problems. For 199 bucks, I couldn't justify spending 2 to 3 times more (or even more in some cases) for another fridge. It does the job and it seems to keep a steady temp. It holds 52 bottles (or so it says -- I have about 40 in there and it seems at capacity) and if you go on sites such as wine enthusiast, you could find 52 bottle fridges for upwards of $1,000. I have a hard time believing that would be worth it.


I filled it with all of the on-site wines we have - roughly 22. It seems like we will have to get PHDs in some sort of engineering field it to get anywhere near 40. Reds in particular are troublesome and I can't even fit 8 of them without trickery. I applaud you for being able to figure it out enough to get to 40. I'm pretty decent at tetris but this fridge is pretty tricky even by tetris standards.

Anyway, seems to be more stable now.

Thanks, all.

Only problem is, now I probably will need a 2nd one after reading a few threads here (especially the one about needing new daily drinkers).
As others have already said, just keep the better stuff on the top area of the cooling unit. It takes drastic temperature fluctuations to greatly change the actual liquid temperatures inside the bottles. If your unit is staying within a 5 degree differential, I doubt the actual liquid temperatures of the wines in that area are varying by more than a degree or so throughout the day...which is very acceptable for aging wine properly.

I certainly would not worry in any way when considering a 1-6 month window of consumption. In reality, those wines in the 57-62 range should age well for far longer than that.
quote:
Originally posted by TAsunder:
quote:
Originally posted by mjp_oenos 1:
I purchased this same wine fridge myself about 2 months ago and so far, no problems. For 199 bucks, I couldn't justify spending 2 to 3 times more (or even more in some cases) for another fridge. It does the job and it seems to keep a steady temp. It holds 52 bottles (or so it says -- I have about 40 in there and it seems at capacity) and if you go on sites such as wine enthusiast, you could find 52 bottle fridges for upwards of $1,000. I have a hard time believing that would be worth it.


I filled it with all of the on-site wines we have - roughly 22. It seems like we will have to get PHDs in some sort of engineering field it to get anywhere near 40. Reds in particular are troublesome and I can't even fit 8 of them without trickery. I applaud you for being able to figure it out enough to get to 40. I'm pretty decent at tetris but this fridge is pretty tricky even by tetris standards.

Anyway, seems to be more stable now.

Thanks, all.

Only problem is, now I probably will need a 2nd one after reading a few threads here (especially the one about needing new daily drinkers).


I have managed to get about 12 on each rack...of course this does require some stacking!
if you collected better wine, you wouldn't have to chill the faults out of them. Roll Eyes

quote:
Originally posted by Mr Cabernet:
I know many Americans drink whites too cold, but I feel that wine cellar temperture is not cold enough for me. I always take it out and give it 15 minutes or so in the freezer. I'm looking for around 48 to 50 degrees.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×