Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

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Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby RonicaJM » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:17 pm

Help. I'm looking at wine cooler/cellers on Ebay, at Lowe's, Home Depot etc... I do not have a lot of $$$ to spend and want to get something small to get me started. But, I'm not sure what to look for. For example, there's a Kenmore at Sears that stores 17 bottles for $129 and a Haier at Lowe's for $180 that stores 20 bottles. And the Cuisinart for about $180 that stores only 11 bottles. What should I be looking for in the features?

Is the Kenmore going to do the job just at well as the Cuisinart? :?
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby RonicaJM » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:20 pm

typo...the Kenmore stores 24 bottles and there's one on Ebay that I'm really thinking about bidding on...
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:56 pm

Disclaimer: I've never owned one of these devices

IMO, the most important considerations are: reliability, service support, noise and vibration. Those latter two considerations may not be that important for you, but if they are make sure that you can see one running. If any of them are sold on Amazon, check out the user feedback. The only ones I've heard good things about aren't cheap, so I won't even bother. Here's the response of a professional, though:
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.food.wine/msg/8eb5cd5ef8a581af

HTH
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Josh » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:03 pm

Don't forget about shipping!

And itt may not be much more $$ to move to a 50 bottle jobby, but admittedly I didn't see any good values on Ebay.

I bet they would all do fine, but I haven't used any of them...
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby BenM » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:22 pm

my wife bought me my first one for about $199 - holds 28 bottles
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Doug Surplus » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:11 pm

I picked up a Kenmore off ebay a couple years ago - it works fine, but 24 bottles is way too small.
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:25 pm

Ronica, You want to get the largest capacitiy you can afford. Make sure it has a temperature controller that will keep the wine ~55-60 degrees and having a digital display is really helpful. Most of the more affordable have clear glass fronts which isnt all that great in protecting wine from sunlight so I've just put black paper on the inside to block out the sun and it works fine.

Also, if the cooler is spec'd at say 24 bottles, many times it will only hold less, particularly if you are storing burgundy shape bottles. You can sometimes remove some racking and get more packed in so look for removable racking.

Here are a couple of links to decent coolers from a reliable company (BeverageFactory.com)

40 Bottle Danby cooler $269

35 Bottle Danby $189

MidRange Coolers at BevFac
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Carl Eppig » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:25 pm

From what you are looking at, we would get the Haier. Hoom-so-ever those who say that is not big enough are probably correct. If you don't have any areas in your abode where you could have a passive system, you should, even without a lot of $$$, be looking at a 100 bottle system. That may not in the long run be enough for you, but it is enough for us.
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby John Treder » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:38 am

Ok, here's an old-curmudgeonly reply.

If you're only looking at a couple of dozen bottles, a couple of boxes in the back of the bedroom closet will do fine. Put the bottles in top-down. They'll be fine for two or three years. If any last that long! <g>

(Unless, of course, you live somewhere like west Texas....)
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:48 am

Ronica, John's got it right. None of them are worth buying.

You are just getting started. Put the few bottles you know you'll drink ove the next month or so in the fridge. It won't hurt them, and having them at hand will help you figure out what you really like.

If they are white wines, drink them right out of the fridge. If red, either warm them up on the counter, or put them in the microwave for 15 to30 seconds -- with a bit of wet paper towel -- and bring their temp up quickly.

If you really get into wine, get a big cellar -- come back and ask -- you'll get lots of great info.

The smaller coolers -- ten to 50 bottles or so -- are really great for folks that have wine in a cellar somewhere far away from the dining table. They serve as a short term parking place, nothing more.

Spend your money on wine, not hardware. When the wine starts pushing milk out of the storage area in the fridge, come back and ask again. In the meantime, buy wine. :-)

Regards, Bob
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Isaac » Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:54 am

Time for me to add my two cents.

Another way to get low cost wine storage is a used refrigerator.
The shelves break, they're out of style, whatever. I got a 25 ft^3 for $50. Then you have to set the thermostat for a higher temperature than usual. Mine's been at 58° (F) all summer. That's in my garage, where the temperature frequently goes over 100°. It will hold over 100 bottles.

I find it to be a cheap, workable solution, but it's not pretty.
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby RonicaJM » Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:59 pm

Isaac wrote:Time for me to add my two cents.

Another way to get low cost wine storage is a used refrigerator.
The shelves break, they're out of style, whatever. I got a 25 ft^3 for $50. Then you have to set the thermostat for a higher temperature than usual. Mine's been at 58° (F) all summer. That's in my garage, where the temperature frequently goes over 100°. It will hold over 100 bottles.

I find it to be a cheap, workable solution, but it's not pretty.


I like this answer the best b/c it's the cheapest and most practical. You can find a regular refrigerator cheaper than a 60 bottle wine cellar. Why is that? I read one of the links above and I surmise it may have something to do w/ temperature fluctuations in a regular fridge and lack of humidity control.

I also liked the advice to just spend money on wine now and not hardware. I just want to be able to store wine I buy in a suitable place if I buy a case here and there. In Texas, my house stays fairly warm (90 degrees in my kitchen is quite common), but now that it's cooling off I may wait on the cellar.

Thanks for all the info!!!!! :D
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Karl Wee » Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:13 pm

Hi Ronica,

If you buy wine coolers, the very best value I can find are the Magic Chef 45 bottle units for about $200. Here I can find it in Home Depot easily.

Hope it helps.

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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:35 pm

Why is that? I read one of the links above and I surmise it may have something to do w/ temperature fluctuations in a regular fridge and lack of humidity control.
Another reason is that many regular fridges can't be controlled any higher than about 45deg. In other words, when you set the controller at the warmest setting it only goes up to ~45-50deg (on a few models I've tested). Wine will age at a glacial pace (if at all) if it's kept that cold.
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Bob Henrick » Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:29 pm

Bill, I do believe there are instructions on the old WLDG that gives a how to, to fix this problem. IIRC the author of these instructions complete with pictures is my buddy Russ Sprouse who happened to join us in chat today...where were you?
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:02 am

Bob Henrick wrote:Bill, I do believe there are instructions on the old WLDG that gives a how to, to fix this problem. IIRC the author of these instructions complete with pictures is my buddy Russ Sprouse who happened to join us in chat today...where were you?


Bob, Russ's article is featured in the Cellar Builder series on WineLoversPage, not the old WLDG. Those articles have been around for a while - Russ's is dated 1998 - but they're still popular and get called up lots of times every day. Here's a link to Russ's article and photos:

The Cellar Builder: Using a Refrigerator as a Wine Storage/Staging Unit
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby Isaac » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:33 am

It's really very easy to adjust the thermostat to a better range. It just takes a little while to tweak it in.
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Re: Low cost wine cooler/cellers.

Postby RonicaJM » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:20 pm

OK. I read the article on how to adjust a regular fridge's temperature for wine chilling. Could this be a long term (a couple of years) option as well? That would be great b/c I know I can get a used fridge for $50. And my husband is very handy. :D
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