Wine fridges

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richmills
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Wine fridges

Post by richmills » 12:34 Tue 02 Feb 2021

Hi all

Under some light pressure from my better half, I'm thinking of clearing out the "wine cupboard" and getting a temperature controlled wine fridge instead. What do people think of them? In particular does anyone have any experience of Climadiff since their range seem to be a good match for what I'm considering.

The thing that's concerning me the most is that if I get one it will need to live in an uninsulated garage. Will that be something they'll be able to cope with and maintain the required temperature given the yearly climate swings in the south of the UK do you think?

Cheers, Rich.

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Re: Wine fridges

Post by Andy Velebil » 14:53 Tue 02 Feb 2021

In my experience owning a number of wine fridges over the years I’ve learned to avoid the “dual zone” ones. They just don’t last as long, by a good margin, as the single temperature zone ones.

As for the garage, how hot does it get in the summer time? And for how long is it that hot?

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richmills
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Re: Wine fridges

Post by richmills » 16:21 Tue 02 Feb 2021

Andy Velebil wrote:
14:53 Tue 02 Feb 2021
In my experience owning a number of wine fridges over the years I’ve learned to avoid the “dual zone” ones. They just don’t last as long, by a good margin, as the single temperature zone ones.
Ok good to know. I'd already decided I had no use for dual zone.
Andy Velebil wrote:
14:53 Tue 02 Feb 2021
As for the garage, how hot does it get in the summer time? And for how long is it that hot?
Outside temperature range goes from around -5C to 30C over the course of the year, with the extremes of that range only usually for a handful of days (or nights in the case of the lower end). I'm not sure how the inside garage temperature varies accordingly.

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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: Wine fridges

Post by Alex Bridgeman » 20:31 Tue 02 Feb 2021

Rich,

I have a Climadiff in my unheated but attached garage and it works fine. Just beware that some models do not have reversible doors (or didn't at the time I last bought one). I've got kept wine in a wine fridge for about 30 years now, and the bottles show well when opened so the storage conditions offered by the fridges seem to be pretty good.
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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Re: Wine fridges

Post by Glenn E. » 20:36 Tue 02 Feb 2021

I have 3 full-size wine fridges because I don't have space for a either a traditional cellar or a separate wine room. My experience is that high-end single-zone fridges are great, but that low-end models don't last long enough to be worth the effort.

I have a Eurocave that is now over 10 years old and still going strong. It was expensive, but it has already paid for itself (compared to off-site storage in the Seattle area) so is now effectively "free" for as long as it continues to function. I expect it to last ~20 years based on what I've read about them.

I purchased a 2nd tier fridge that was manufactured by Eurocave for Costco (I don't recall the brand name that Costco used, but no it wasn't a "Kirkland" brand wine fridge :lol:) and it died after 4 years. Luckily Costco has exceptionally good customer service, so since they no longer carried the brand they refunded my money and took the fridge back. Note that this was 2 years after the warranty had expired.

I also had a very cheap cabinet with a cooling unit in it that I purchased off of someone here on FTLOP. The cooling unit was new when I purchased it, and it lasted about 4 years. (The seller had told me that's how long the previous unit had lasted, so I wasn't expecting anything more.) I could have replaced the cooling unit again, but decided it wasn't worth having to unload and reload the fridge every 4 years.

I'm now using 2 x Transtherm units that I got from Stewart, who got them from Eric Levine. They are also over 10 years old and still going strong. These should also last ~20 years based on what I've read about them.

The way mine are configured shelving-wise, the Eurocave holds 156 bottles and 11 magnums (11 shelves of 12 bottles each, 1 shelf of 24 bottles, plus the magnums stacked in front of the cooling unit) and each of the Transtherms theoretically holds 228 bottles (3 x 4-layer shelves, 1 x 6-layer shelf, and 1 x half depth 2-layer in front of the cooling unit). If every bottle was the same size and shape they'd hold 228 easily, but producers like Kopke and Noval make things difficult with their tapered bottles. The 4-layer shelves in the Transtherms are high enough to hold some magnums on the top layer, but not high enough to make that a 5th layer of bottles.

Oddly enough, I'd be more concerned about winter in your garage. A wine fridge obviously isn't going to heat your wine to counteract -5C temperatures, and they're not that well insulated. Your garage likely won't ever drop below 0C and probably not even below 5C, but the swing from 0-5C to 12-15C during the summer (which I assume is where you'll set the temp on the fridge) is a fairly significant seasonal variation. Wine doesn't actually care that much about what temperature it is stored at, provided the temperature is stable. A 10C seasonal swing isn't going to ruin Port - not even close - but I wouldn't plan to store Port that way for multiple decades. Short term for your own personal use should be fine, where "short term" for Port means 20-30 years easily.
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Re: Wine fridges

Post by Screagle » 10:40 Thu 04 Feb 2021

I too considered a Climadiif but didn't have your temperature range requirement so settled for a Liebherr off eBay! :oops: I'm not that familiar with the Climadiff range but as I recall they have a heating element to cope with temperatures at the lower end of your range. Two tips then: check the model's climate rating to ensure your seasonal range is covered and secondly I would avoid a glass door. Glass doors tend to be heavier and although UV protected are not quite as energy efficient as solid doors, at least this appears to the case for the Liebherr range.

Hope this helps

Cheers!

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Re: Wine fridges

Post by JacobH » 11:25 Thu 04 Feb 2021

I’d buy an electric thermometer and see what maximum and minimum temperatures you are getting. Mind is in an attached unheated garage and the temperature range is much less than that outside. I can’t remember it dropping below 10°C so the fluctuation would only be a few degrees.

Incidentally, having done some experiments with a thermometer in a conventional cellar, the temperature range was much larger than I expected. Probably Tom will have the figures since he has one, too, and I expect has been keeping a close eye on it, but I am not sure that a really small temperature range is necessary at all.
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Re: Wine fridges

Post by idj123 » 14:07 Thu 04 Feb 2021

I have a Climadiff and have been very happy with it albeit (and much to my wife's chagrin) mine is in the house and so no issue on the temperature variation front. You should be able to seet the manufacturer's recommended range although, if true, I would suspect what you quote goes beyond that range. A point of asthetics (again, based on my wife's reaction)-maybe pay a bit more for the smokescreen door; I took the cheapskate approach for the solid door and the subsequent hassle I get for so doing is probably not worth it!

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Re: Wine fridges

Post by Screagle » 15:00 Thu 04 Feb 2021

Yes, indeed - if there is ever a possibly that the cabinet will end up indoors and visible, i.e. a feature, then glass is the way to go. As it happens mine was destined for the cellar so I wanted a solid door. Probably one of the reasons I got it for a such good price.

Anyway, if you may sell in the future or trade up then glass might be an asset. Having said if your cabinet will be in full view when the garage door is open I'd be inclined to go solid to avoid prying eyes.

Cheers

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Re: Wine fridges

Post by JacobH » 18:18 Thu 04 Feb 2021

Something I have never understood about the wine fridges is why when they have solid doors do they tend to be horrible fake wood or a really dark colour? Even though mine is in the garage, I would much prefer it to have a white door! Perhaps they are designed to be ugly to encourage people to buy the more expensive glass ones?
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richmills
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Re: Wine fridges

Post by richmills » 21:27 Thu 04 Feb 2021

Thanks everyone, some very helpful suggestions there. I particularly like the idea of actually measuring the daily temperature swing with a digital thermometer (not sure why I hadn't already thought of that).

I'll let you know how I get on.

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Re: Wine fridges

Post by Screagle » 14:43 Fri 05 Feb 2021

JacobH wrote:
18:18 Thu 04 Feb 2021
Something I have never understood about the wine fridges is why when they have solid doors do they tend to be horrible fake wood or a really dark colour? Even though mine is in the garage, I would much prefer it to have a white door! Perhaps they are designed to be ugly to encourage people to buy the more expensive glass ones?
I agree, it's probably to do with expected use i.e. that solid door units will be out of sight somewhere and not to be confused with a conventional fridge :roll: ! I was somewhat apprehensive when I went to collect my Vinothek for the reason you've noted. However I was pleasantly surprised, having only seen it on-line, how attractive it was close up with highly polished bordeaux red door and matt black sides. Having said that it did look a bit industrial...

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Re: Wine fridges

Post by DRT » 19:42 Fri 05 Feb 2021

I bought a Climadiff CLA310A+ (from Tanglewood Wine) in May 2019 and it works very well in my unheated garage. Very good value in my opinion and the supplier I used was excellent.
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Re: Wine fridges

Post by SushiNorth » 21:00 Fri 05 Feb 2021

So, I suppose i'm not a good measure for wine fridges, but...
I used a small wine fridge for a while. Technically, it was a beverage fridge, but its flat shelves meant that I could alternate bottle direction for maximum density. It lasted for years, and probably still works (its gathering dust now). One concern that folks here made me aware of is that wine fridges vibrate, and they remove moisture. Neither of these are good for wine that ages for decades, and i didn't want to pay for an expensive model. So I traded up and built a wine cellar.

I took an unorthodox approach to cooling: I mounted an AC Unit in the wall, and it's lasted for 5 years now (knock on wood). I realize in an apartment this can be a non-starter, but not if you own the place. Consider if you have space for it. If you have a closet or the like, could you convert it? tack some 6mil plastic gently to the sheetrock/ceiling/etc, get the thickest insulating foamcore you can find to put on top of that, put weather stripping around the door, and then mount the AC through a wall (or the door, even, if you re-enforce the hinges).
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Re: Wine fridges

Post by DRT » 21:29 Fri 05 Feb 2021

SushiNorth wrote:
21:00 Fri 05 Feb 2021
wine fridges vibrate, and they remove moisture.
I don't think that is true of all wine fridges. You get what you pay for :wink:
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Re: Wine fridges

Post by Andy Velebil » 23:08 Fri 05 Feb 2021

DRT wrote:
SushiNorth wrote:
21:00 Fri 05 Feb 2021
wine fridges vibrate, and they remove moisture.
I don't think that is true of all wine fridges. You get what you pay for :wink:
Agree not true of all wine fridges. The better ones are made not to vibrate and to leave humidity. My current one is a bit too much humidity so I put a humidity reducer in it that keeps it a more manageable 65-70% humidity.

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Re: Wine fridges

Post by Glenn E. » 03:01 Sat 06 Feb 2021

Andy Velebil wrote:
23:08 Fri 05 Feb 2021
DRT wrote:
SushiNorth wrote:
21:00 Fri 05 Feb 2021
wine fridges vibrate, and they remove moisture.
I don't think that is true of all wine fridges. You get what you pay for :wink:
Agree not true of all wine fridges. The better ones are made not to vibrate and to leave humidity. My current one is a bit too much humidity so I put a humidity reducer in it that keeps it a more manageable 65-70% humidity.
Agree. All 3 of my current fridges do not vibrate (that I can tell). The cheap cabinet with cooling unit did vibrate fairly significantly, as does a half-height Danby that I failed to mention above. I've had the Danby longer than any other of my fridges, so it's probably going on 14 years old.
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