wine fridge

Review | Vinotemp 34 Bottle Wine Fridge

Vinotemp logo on glass fridge doorThis is a follow up to a piece that was published yesterday. In it, I provided some practical advice about what some of the most important features and elements to look for in a proper wine storage fridge. Last year I purchased two Vinotemp 34-bottle capacity wine fridges.

After cutting the cardboard, making a mess of the Styrofoam and plastic, I then set my two fridges side by side and just looked at them.  My first real wine fridges!  Black, sleek, clean, inviting, alluring, SEXY… yeah, baby, I’m going to age some wine!
Once I got over the initial excitement, I decided, for once, to read the instructions.  With super easy to follow instructions, not filled with tons of irrelevant information, the assembly was a total breeze.
The box says 34 bottles.  In the online comments, I had read some complaints of people having trouble fitting all 34 bottles in the fridge.  Bordeaux bottles are slightly more robust than the standard red wine bottle,  which does create an issue if you are Bordeaux centric in your collecting habits.  There is a similar problem with Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir bottles.  The bottom storage area can be used for storing non standard shaped bottles, and can fit at least 4 bottles.
two wine fridgesOne thing of note is that the door of the fridge encompasses the entire front of the fridge, so I would recommend you put the fridge on a hard surface. Placed on carpet, the fridge sinks down making it difficult to open and close its door.  To avoid that problem, use your fridge as a proverbial time capsule; in other words, don’t open the door anytime soon!
With the wine in the fridges, it’s time to turn them on.  Referring back to the instructions on where the plug goes, how to unlock the lock feature, and how to set the temperature, just 20 seconds later the fridges are on and cooling.  The first thing worth noticing about the Vinotemp is how quiet they are.  Many reviews suggested very negative comments about wine fridges in general being extremely loud.  Both of these fridges sit next to my bed and I never once awoke in the middle of the night to the sounds of the compressors or other weird noises.   Here is a quick flipcam clip of the sound.  It sounds louder than it really is because I took the camera right behind the fridges. I have had these two fridges in my bed room for a year now and haven’t lost any sleep over the noise.
Edited by Jon Troutman

Purchasing a Wine Fridge: What to Look For

wine rackThere comes a time in every wine lover’s life when they begin to consider storage.  Proper storage. Aesthetically pleasing storage.  Expensive storage.  Finding an appropriate place to keep our wine becomes an issue because, as a our enthusiasm for wine grows, so too does our collection.

Do you buy wine at a faster pace than you can drink it?  You need storage.  Are all the vegetable drawers and the bottom half of your fridge full of wine?  Yup, you need storage.  You’re not keeping your wine in a wine rack in the kitchen are you?
You’ve scoured the internet, looking for deals, becoming more confused than you were before starting the search.  I know I was.  Why are some fridges $250 and some $12,000?  Some brands seem to have negative customer feedback, but can those comments be trusted?  I know from my day job that people often “stack” the comment sections of their competitors with negative comments, and then praise their own products.  I’d like to think that I’m sophisticated enough to be able to tell, but maybe I’m not.wine storage
Common complaint comments about wine fridges include excessive noise, vibrations, temperature fluctuations, humidity control and last but not least, abysmal customer service.  People that know me recognize that one of my biggest pet peeves is poor customer service.  The kind of stress that comes from being on hold for what seems like an eternity, or in a redundant maze of automatic telephone options, will shorten your life span; I’m sure of it.  Paying too much is irksome, but not nearly as much as supposedly getting a deal, only to be left in a state of endless frustration.
That is why I am going to suggest that, paramount to the price you pay for something, is the expectation of service you have should something go wrong.  For that very reason, I ultimately decided to buy my wine fridges from Costco.  Regardless of whether the actual manufacturer warranties the item, Costco has a very good return and refund policy.  I once returned a camera I bought there after I had opened it. The second reason for my Costco purchase was that they had significantly cheaper options than anyone else.
My final purchase: two Vinotemp 34 bottle wine fridges for $189 each. Checking online the next best price is around $250 from an online vendor, of which I know nothing about. Maybe I’m just too lazy to read all 980 “comments” to figure out if they’re legitimate or not.
So here’s what I’m going to do:  I am going to keep you, dear reader, updated on my wine fridge journey and adventures.  Next update: removing the fridges from those big, old boxes!
Edited by Jon Troutman

How to store wine

I bought some expensive wine many years ago,

Nice looking wine rack, but is it good for long term storage?

brought it home and put it on a funky fake mahogany wine rack in the kitchen. I was happy with how my kitchen looked like the show model house, with the wine in the rack. Little did I know that when it came time to drink the wine two years later that the juice would taste like burnt mud. Why?? I spent $80, eighty hard-earned dollars on that bottle! Actually I just thought that the wine was crummy. I opened another, and the same thing!
The wine rack sat in front of the kitchen window, in my house in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. The temperature inside the house is about 78F or higher for at least 6 months a year. So to save you the disappointment that I went through, here are a few simple tips..I will get deeper into proper storage issues in future posts

1. Light. Ultraviolet light is BAD. Experts agree that UV light impacts wine in a similar way to excessive heat, it can cause oxidation of the tannins. Do not let your wine sit in direct sunlight. Even secondary UV light can be harmful in the long-term so it is best to store your wine in a dark environment.

2. Temperature. Experts agree that 55F is ideal. If you store the wine too cold it impedes the aging process and if you store it too hot it speeds it up too fast. Anything over 70F is risky and anything over 80F is how you end up with burnt mud for $80 a bottle. The University of California, Davis has come up with a formula: For every 10F above 55F, the wine will age twice as fast. So if you store your wine at 75F it will age four times as fast as if you stored it at 55F. Not only that but when wine matures too fast, all of its fruity aspects are lost. Peter from Rose Hill Wine Cellars in Toronto Canada says “Storage at elevated temperatures more than 21°C (70°F) causes undesirable changes as various reactions are accelerated, but at different rates. The result is a lack of balance in the aging process.

Also in the Temperature category is Temperature Fluctuations. Temperature fluctuations can be harmful to the maturing process, even if the high temp is not over 70F. As close to constant is best. You will notice that most wine storage devices run in cycles so as not to be constantly running. The temperature may fluctuate between 52F and 58F, this is considered an acceptable range. Something else to consider is that although the temperature inside your wine fridge may be fluctuating, the wine temperature is fluctuating less.  That is because of the nature of liquid versus gas.  The temperature of air fluctuates more than the temperature of liquid.   Even so, Peter at Rose Hill says that fluctuations of more than 2° to 4°C (5° to 10°F) are undesirable. Something I find a little suspect in a lot wine fridge catalogues is the pictures of wine fridges in the kitchen. Nice under counter storage units placed right next to an industrial sized oven. Looks great, but how smart is that?

3. Humidity. Humidity is something to think about although not quite as crucial as UV and Temperature. 40%-70% is the ideal range. What you dont want to have happen, is for the cork to dry out. If it does, then cracks form in the cork and eventually air gets in the bottle and its game over. That is why experts recommend storing wine on it’s side. Too much humidity is not good because then your nice wine labels begin to bubble, and also there is the potential for mold to grow inside the bottle, especially if you leave it standing upright.

4. Vibrations. According to experts vibrations disturb the sediments in wine when alter the aging process. This is why most people would not suggest storing wine in a regular household fridge. If you stand a few wine bottles up very close to each other, you will hear them rattling in a normal fridge. Proper wine fridges are designed to limit vibrations.

5. Natural Ventilation. Adequate ventilation is important in order to prevent unpleasant odor build up and mold. Related to ventilation and odor buildup is you should not be storing wine in the same area as other things that have odors. Like food. Some experts claim that foul food odors can make their way into the wine. I for one do not want to risk finding out the hard way, so I am not going to be keeping any cheeses or garlic in the wine fridge, or keeping my wine in the food fridge for any extended periods.