Wine Talk

Snooth User: misspaul

Wine fridge what should I get?

Posted by misspaul, Dec 8, 2010.

Hey everyone I want to buy a fridge for my dad but I'm not sure what to get...
what do you recommend I should get?
I saw a couple here
and here
but I'm not sure what to get.. can you please helpe me out?
thanks a lot!!


Reply by mousking1, Dec 8, 2010.

i can't tell you which fridge to get, i'm not knowledgable enough to feel confident in a suggestion. but i will tell you that if i was going to pick out a new wine fridge at this point i would want it to have a real thermostat, not just a warmer/colder dial. i would also buy on twice the size of what i thought i needed.

i have a few other things i would personally look for, but they are just because my wine fridge doubles as a humidor.

Reply by strikinglily, Dec 16, 2010.

I'm assuming this is a Christmas gift and I hope I'm not too late responding.  Anyway, I have a Wine Enthusiast 24 bottle refrigerator that I purchased few years ago.  I don't have anything negative to say about it.  I purchased it through Target as it was cheaper than at the time.  It doesn't look like they have the smaller one (the third photo online is of the smaller one which is what I have) anymore but this a larger version of it at the same price I paid for mine.

The link above is actually $40 cheaper than Target and it ships for free.

Reply by GregT, Dec 16, 2010.

Whatever you buy, get one that is MUCH larger than you think you want.  They don't hold the stated number of bottles unless all of the bottles are the standard Bordeaux shape and they're packed in just so.  And that's pretty much impossible to do these days.  So that's problem number one.

After that, beware the cheapies.  Haier for example, is a Chinese company that decided to dominate the wine cooler market a few years ago.  The market didn't even exist, so it was a weird decision, but in retrospect, pretty smart.  However, they are not all that great.  The compressors go out frequently.  Acutally, not the compressor itself, as those are OK - it's the switch/thermostat.  But replacing that little part is the cost of a new fridge.  Also they don't seal too well as the doors are only held by very cheap magnets, so if a bottle leans on the door, it holds it slightly ajar.

They're fine for a small apartment, etc., but since the useful life is pretty short, it's better to get a higher-quality unit.  The WE fridges are usually made by the same companies you find elsewhere, they just have the Wine Enthusiast logo/brand.  So if you find one of those you like, get it where you can find the best price. 

Reply by dmcker, Dec 16, 2010.

Good call on the Haier products, Greg. Think I posted several months ago on other problems people have with them.

Just would like to reiterate: whatever volume you think you need--double or even treble it. The space will fill up as if magically, and before very long.... 

Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 16, 2010.

dm, that's exactly why I'm not huge on wine fridges.  They're simply never, ever large enough, no matter how big they are.  I suppose there are worse problems to have, though.  ;)

Reply by GregT, Dec 17, 2010.

D - it's worse with those Haier products because unless you're checking your wine daily you have no idea they're not working.  I had one as a backup while I was doing construction on the house - put my wine in storage but of course, we needed some at hand and like you said, it filled up magically.  One day I wanted a bottle and it was warm. 

What the hell?  So I checked around and couldn't get it going and did some research and sure enough, that was the common problem.  I'd been holding it shut with bungee cords already so I was not happy.  It cost less than having a few cases in storage for the 2 years it worked, so I guess it was a wash, but never again.

The Vinotheque on the other hand, has been running for many years now.

GDD- the one thing about those fridges is that you can get several. If you're not particularly handy and don't want to pay someone to build for you, you can get the fridges that come unassembled.  For a basement they're perfect.  Much cheaper than something that's put together already and once assembled, they seem to work well.  I have a friend who bought several - kept buying as his collection grew and they've been working many years now.   In retrospect, he agrees he should have built a cellar, but not knowing it at the time, and spending somewhere around $1500 every few years, he ended up OK. 

If you can build a cellar though, I think that's the way to go even tho you can still go down there one day with another case to put away and suddenly realize it's got to go on the floor because there is no more space!  Then you end up stacking on the floor and eventually you get used to that and you start another pile.  Meantime your wife is wondering when you're going to get rid of that big fridge in the dining room (never) since she thinks "we don't need it any more". So when you have a few cases coming in over the weekend and no place to put them, you're happy your basement is cold for the winter so you don't need to worry about storage until spring.  Of course, the plan is to drink thru a lot of the wine by then, which means you're planning an intensive effort for the next 3-4 months and you're hoping nobody gets injured and everyone gives 110 percent and suddenly you sound like some highly paid illiterate athlete giving the standard cliched patter at the beginning of the season. 

As you're writing, you realize that you have maybe 6 cases or so sitting in various warehouses because the people don't want to ship now that we're in a freezing winter.  So the question arises - do you start building again?  Wife is going to be gone for a few weeks and you can knock out a wall and extend the cellar another 10 feet or so.

Spring is going to be interesting.

Building isn't an option in most apartments here in NYC tho, which is why we bought our first fridge.

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 17, 2010.

I have a Cusinart 16 holder, it was actually a wedding gift which helped me start getting in to wine more.  Have only had it a year and a half, but it's done pretty well so far.

Earlier this year, I then got a 48 capacity, dual temp control fridge from VinoTemp, made near Los Angeles, CA.  It was pretty cheap at $600, so I was a little concerned, but i've recently seen them sold at a very respectable retailer here - so hopefully that's a good sign. No problems yet.

Reply by Flamefighter, Dec 19, 2010.

I have a Koolspace Model 110 that is suppose to hold 100 plus bottles and it does but as noted, most of them need to be standard bottles or you lose some storage.

I was happy with it until recently when it began running 7 or 8 degrees higher than it is set to run.  It is only three or four years old and is already wearing out; not the best thousand dollars I ever spent.

The problem I am having is finding a new cooling unit that will fit in cooler so I can salvage the case.  We bought it to go in the "Wine Room" or what used to be the living room and wanted a wine storage unit that looks like furniture not an appliance. I don’t think my wife is going to be happy about something that looks industrial in the room and I am not in a position to spend five plus grand on a really good one that looks like good furniture.  

I’m not sure what I’m going to do but I will watch this sting to see if anyone has ideas.

Reply by jtryka, Oct 5, 2012.

I think mine is a 36-bottle frigidaire that I bought on closeout from Home Depot of all places.  I agree, it holds at most 28 bottles the way I have them packed, so get bigger than what you need.  I typically use it for older wines that need some care, or the more expensive ones where I would feel worse if a wine was ruined by inconsistent temp.  Mine just has a warmer-cooler control, which is a drawback, wish it had a more accurate temp control, I keep it on the lowest setting and it's a fairly constant 60 degrees or so for red wine.  There are a lot of options out there, but for my limited usage, the one I got for about $150 works out fine.

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