Small wine fridges

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RichardFlack
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Small wine fridges

#1 Post by RichardFlack » January 18th, 2017, 9:22 am

Looking at 'wine fridges', or small fridges generally, as part of impending kitchen reno.

The issue I'm wrestling with is that, ideally, I'd use this also for opened bottles that currently clutter up the door of the regular fridge.
The clutter arises from having 2 or 3 bottles opened in the last couple of days, plus maybe a sherry bottle, or bubbly, as well as usually at least 2 bottles of cooking wine and sometimes more.
Just about all of the wine fridges have bottles on their side, which is good for normal storage of course. But I'm guessing that there could be problems at least with taller bottles if the stopper protrudes above the top of the neck.
As well as the open bottles, Id might keep maybe a dozen daily drinkers in the kitchen wine fridge.
Other than my wife grumbling about the open bottles cluttering up the main fridge I havent really felt the lack of a wine fridge in the kitchen. My main wine storage is a number of full cooled full size cabinets in the basement.

So, I'm looking for comments advice.

Part of me says simply don't bother. (The new main fridge will have better door space than our current fridge). Its really not that hard to go down to the basement.
I have a nasty feeling that a lot of the time the wine I actually want would not be in the kitchen wine fridge anyway.
On the other hand thinking of eventual resale, these seem to be standard equipment these days and purchasers might expect one. The higher end ones look quite nice too.

More specific questions ....
Any recommendations on brands? My designed has suggested a Whirlpool.
Whats the catch with the cheaper brands? Im really not looking to spend a bunch of $ on this particular item.
Does anyone know of anything that has space for some bottles upright?

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Chris Foley
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Small wine fridges

#2 Post by Chris Foley » January 18th, 2017, 9:50 am

My SIL gave me an Avanti 12 bottle cooler for Christmas a couple years ago.
The wire rack inside holds 8 bottles on their side and 4 upright. Champagne and Pinot bottles won't fit due to their large diameter, but slightly larger diameter bottles like some Italian reds are no problem.
Taller open bottles with the cork partially reinserted don't fit heightwise, but I have some bottle stoppers which solve that.
The only issue I've had with the unit is after a power outage it resets to its coolest temp and activating the controls can be iffy - requires simultaneous pressing of two buttons on the flat panel display, and they aren't always cooperative.
I'm happy with the overall performance after 2 years.
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Small wine fridges

#3 Post by jhemming » March 4th, 2017, 5:01 am

If you have a long term storage solution, then I would skip the kitchen wine cooler and instead go with a pull drawer fridge instead. It will increase the amount of cold storage in your kitchen so plenty of space for open bottles and beer!!
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Small wine fridges

#4 Post by NED VALOIS » March 4th, 2017, 9:49 am

I have a small (60 btls) U-line under counter that has been problem free over 20 years.

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Small wine fridges

#5 Post by RichardFlack » March 4th, 2017, 10:29 am

Thanks for the comments / suggestions all.
Ive had a couple of other comments from a friend Ill put here for other readers.

It seems its not necessary to keep cooking wines in the fridge. I'm still pondering that one; maybe it depends on how the wine is used (de-glazing a pan versus a delicate Riesling wine sauce, say). And maybe the choice is between non-refrigerated open wine (even if oxidised) and a fresh bottle (versus refrigerated open bottle).
On the other hand a wine fridge can be pressed into use for say keeping prep dishes cool (of course the wines have to come out!).
The idea of a small drawer fridge is interesting.
....
There's a connected issue, though not strictly wine related, that some here may have advice on.
We are planning a small walk-in pantry for canned & dry goods etc.
I'm pondering the feasibility of cooling it like a wine cellar so it could in fact be a cold pantry. But that is raising issues like ventilation, air tight door, etc; has anyone done this? The budget is already tight enough so that may rule this out anyway, but would welcome any suggestions. (The connection is, if we I do this, its an obvious location for the cooking wines).

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Small wine fridges

#6 Post by jhemming » March 4th, 2017, 12:08 pm

If you're planning on a walkin pantry, then personally I would just put a larger wine cooler in there and build around it.
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RichardFlack
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Small wine fridges

#7 Post by RichardFlack » March 4th, 2017, 12:29 pm

jhemming wrote:If you're planning on a walkin pantry, then personally I would just put a larger wine cooler in there and build around it.
Its not impossible, I had been thinking about that, but its not so much a walk-in & stroll around pantry as a walk-in & turn one way or the other! (4' + x 3.5' approx). There would be room but at expense of other storage.
But I'm not sure if there'd be enough ventilation - most stand-alone wine cabinets need to be in an air-conditioned room; while the kitchen itself will be a/c of course, there wont be a vent in the pantry.

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Small wine fridges

#8 Post by Randy Bowman » March 4th, 2017, 7:35 pm

NED VALOIS wrote:I have a small (60 btls) U-line under counter that has been problem free over 20 years.
Ditto, +1 whatever. I bought two 52 bottle under the counter units by Magic Chef for the bar at the store. One lasted 4 years and the is starting to shake the building at 8 years old. Meanwhile, the 60 bottle U-Line at the house has been trouble free since it was installed in 1990. Knock on wood.
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Small wine fridges

#9 Post by Paul R. » April 11th, 2017, 10:37 am

For what it is worth, we had a nicer countertop unit that died and replaced it with a cheap but nice looking stainless best buy $100 12 bottle cooler because we hardly use it. From a resale standpoint, people do like the buildins but for us, nothing would be big enough and so then I would be keeping wine in multiple locations cycling them upstairs and down. I like going down to the basement where I have a decent amount of storage when I find out what is being cooked for dinner to make my selection for the evening. I find the process of deciding enjoyable like using a charcoal grill on the porch and out of the kitchen. We use a vacu vin for the rare bottle that doesn't get polished off and it seals them well enough to lay horizontally.
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Small wine fridges

#10 Post by RichardFlack » April 15th, 2017, 12:37 pm

Paul R. wrote:For what it is worth, we had a nicer countertop unit that died and replaced it with a cheap but nice looking stainless best buy $100 12 bottle cooler because we hardly use it. From a resale standpoint, people do like the buildins but for us, nothing would be big enough and so then I would be keeping wine in multiple locations cycling them upstairs and down. I like going down to the basement where I have a decent amount of storage when I find out what is being cooked for dinner to make my selection for the evening. I find the process of deciding enjoyable like using a charcoal grill on the porch and out of the kitchen. We use a vacu vin for the rare bottle that doesn't get polished off and it seals them well enough to lay horizontally.
That's my concern that it would never actually have what I actually want right now in it. For myself the thought was for keeping the half finished bottles (there often seem to be three or four on the go) and cooking wines which take up disproportionate space in the current fridge. The new discovery for me was the idea that cooking wine does not need to be kept in a fridge.
So im currently leaning against 60/40 but may flop back. I've had the architect put space for it into the plans, so it can be a last minute decision.

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Small wine fridges

#11 Post by Geoff K » April 7th, 2018, 1:27 pm

I've had this Haier 40ish count cooler for many years now, has been running like a champ at 55 degrees.
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