The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17414

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Robin Garr » Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:50 pm

Okay, I'm looking at all the junk ads that fill my Sunday newspaper here, and I can't help noticing that mini-wine cellars - 9 to 16 bottles - are all the rage for holiday shopping this year.

Target, for example, is offering a "Vinotemp 16-bottle Wine Cellar" for $99, co-branded with Food Network. It's stainless steel with a glass door, made in China, and purportedly will hold from (about) 50 to 60 degrees F with ajustable temperature settings, using about 1.0 kilowatt hour of electricty in 24 hours.

I'm thinking about writing a vicious Wine Advisor warning people off these things (along with wine magnets, clips and crystals), but before I go into full-bore nasty mode, I'd like a reality check: Do any of you see any good reason why people should spend $100 or more for one of these things?

The problem, it seems to me, is size. They're good-size and heavy but hold only about a case of wine. I just don't see using them for serious collectibles - but I also don't see bothering to set up controlled temperature conditions for just one case of wine. It's not enough for any kind of a collection, but for short-term use, they don't seem to offer much advantage over an inexpensive wine rack or the fridge.

Am I missing something here? Can any of you offer a cogent argument in favor of investing in one of these things, for yourself or for a friend?
no avatar
User

James Roscoe

Rank

Chat Prince

Posts

10500

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm

Location

D.C. Metro Area - Maryland

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by James Roscoe » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:01 pm

They look cool? You make your friends think you are a real wine snob? We inherited our daughter's dorm fridge and it does the trick just fine for short-term cooling. It was also a lot cheaper at Robin's FAVORITE store. (Wal-mart, about $50)
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26718

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Jenise » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:15 pm

Robin, California is rife with homes built in the 60's, 70's and 80's with built-in wet bars designed for the average beer, mixed drink and whiskey swiller. At that time, wine as a cocktail was nowhere on the horizon, and for those kinds of homes which are now owned by people who also or even exclusively drink wine, and where there isn't room to add a 60 bottle built-in or funds to completely remodel, these small units might be the cheap and easy solution for someone wanting to have a few bottles ready to go in that part of the house.

Other than that, no.
no avatar
User

Rahsaan

Rank

Wild and Crazy Guy

Posts

6994

Joined

Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm

Location

Chapel Hill, NC

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Rahsaan » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:20 pm

James Roscoe wrote:You make your friends think you are a real wine snob?


Why would that make your friends think you are a real wine snob?
no avatar
User

Keith M

Rank

Beer Explorer

Posts

1217

Joined

Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:25 am

Location

Bay Area, California

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Keith M » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:30 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Do any of you see any good reason why people should spend $100 or more for one of these things?


Because it is purchases such as these that keep the US economy from teetering into recession?

On the more serious side, I do not own one, but it doesn't seem hard to imagine a situation where buying a unit with large bulk yet small capacity could make sense. For example: someone with a significant collection maintained in optimal conditions for aging and keeping in an off-site location--but they live in a really small place where the kitchen is really the only place to store wine, despite wild temperature swings. If something has been aging in pristine conditions for 20 years, I imagine such a person would be quite hesitant to leave such a wine on a rack above the fridge or in the fridge for the 4-9 months till they get around to drinking it.

Granted, this would be a much smaller slice of the market than the ads are aiming for, but reasonable enough to divide the tradeoffs of such units from those of wine magnets. (In any case, I find wine hypnosis to be much more effective: you will find this wine very fruity...FRUUUUUUITY!)
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26718

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Jenise » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:56 pm

Another use, though practically speaking an uncommon one that doesn't justify the manufacture: friends with both a Eurocave and cool passive storage ALL over their house (the key on their inventory is hilarious, with entries like BF for "bedroom fireplace") recently threw a wine tasting dinner featuring all ports and sauternes, six of each. Lacking any other appropriate cooling space, to maintain the Sauternes at the perfect serving temperature during this event they bought one of these little units.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26718

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Jenise » Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:12 pm

Further to my other post, though, thinking the usefullness of this kind of appliance to people with small apartments--the same probably applies to my friends above. They don't have a small house, but they have a smallish refrigerator (which Annabelle keeps stuffed to the gills) and such is their environmental philosophy that they don't replace anything until it absolutely dies. With barely room in the kitchen fridge for more than one bottle of white at any one time, the little wine chiller they bought is no doubt already in service keeping a larger variety of whites chilled and ready than they've been able to keep ready before. The same would be useful, like a counter top microwave, to an apartment or small old house dweller.
User avatar
User

JoePerry

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1100

Joined

Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:07 am

Location

Boston

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by JoePerry » Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:37 pm

Certainly for looks.

My local sushi restaurant has a 50 bottle wine fridge full of... soda and beer. The fridge is on the coldest setting, well below anything that anyone would use for wine, but still too warm for beer and soda. It's all about looks.

Best,
Joe
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Bob Ross » Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:52 pm

Two thoughts:

Aesthetics -- they look really cool on the counter and often generate some interesting$75 conversations about wine -- we had one in Glen Rock, and a contractor noticed it and regaled us with wine stories for over an hour.

Convenience -- at an office or a second home where you don't want major storage. I took my unit on a week long driving trip last year, along with some favorite wines.

At $75, a pretty convenient conversation grabber -- pretty cheap entertainment really.
no avatar
User

James Roscoe

Rank

Chat Prince

Posts

10500

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm

Location

D.C. Metro Area - Maryland

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by James Roscoe » Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:05 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
James Roscoe wrote:You make your friends think you are a real wine snob?


Why would that make your friends think you are a real wine snob?

What other kind of wine snob should I be?
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
User avatar
User

Gary Barlettano

Rank

Pappone di Vino

Posts

1929

Joined

Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:50 pm

Location

In a gallon jug far, far away ...

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Gary Barlettano » Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:19 pm

If it really works and doesn't get in the way, then it might be a good place to keep your daily drinking or party wines within reach ... provided you and your wine stash are separated from one another by some inconvenient distance.

In my old place I got rid of the trash compactor and replaced it with a 32-36 bottle Vino Temp. Five or six years ago, they wanted $469 for the unit. They had the folks who needed it by the short hairs because of the "special" 15" wide trash compactor size. Being patient and very cheap, I waited them out and got a floor model at Frye's for $169 during a sale. I was so proud of myself and my new found geek accessory, but then I had to leave the dang thing behind when I moved because it was under the counter and considered a fixture. It contained, however, just about the right number of bottles so that I could have a good selection/ cross section of the stuff I liked on hand in the kitchen. This was especially important for the whites since my fridge didn't like the idea of having 10-12 bottles stored in it. I have yet to get one for this place, but I doubt I would consider anything which couldn't hold at least three cases.

It also made me look cool to my dates.
And now what?
no avatar
User

Sam Platt

Rank

I am Sam, Sam I am

Posts

2336

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:22 pm

Location

Indiana, USA

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Sam Platt » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:27 pm

Robin,

We started with a 16 bottle unit. It was filled within two weeks. Then we bought a a 36 bottle unit. It was filled within a couple of months. Next we bought a 92 bottle unit and it was filled within 6 months. Currently we have the 36 and 92 bottle units both filled to excess, plus another 50+ bottles stored at ambient. We are planning to buy another 92 bottle unit for Christmas. The moral of the story is that, in my opinion, every wine storage unit is too small and will quickly be filled to capacity just because it exists.

PS: Since my wife and I instituted a moratorium on buying wine about two months ago, we have purchased more than 30 bottles. God knows what would have happened had we not stopped buying wine. Purchasing wine has really become an unhealthy, obsessive act.
Sam

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are a small
matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
no avatar
User

Brian K Miller

Rank

Passionate Arboisphile

Posts

7152

Joined

Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:05 am

Location

Northern California

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Brian K Miller » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:35 am

The moral of the story is that, in my opinion, every wine storage unit is too small and will quickly be filled to capacity just because it exists.


Groan....I'm a lot like Jenise' friends. Luckily, the hot season is over and I don't have to run my AC to at least partly keep my wine cooler. :([/quote]
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach
User avatar
User

Cynthia Wenslow

Rank

Pizza Princess

Posts

5788

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:32 pm

Location

The Third Coast

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Cynthia Wenslow » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:50 am

Sam Platt wrote: God knows what would have happened had we not stopped buying wine.


:lol:
User avatar
User

wrcstl

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

886

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:20 pm

Location

St. Louis

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by wrcstl » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:32 am

Robin,
I agree that a 12-16 bottle mini cellar is silly, takes up space and just burns energy. I will say that when you get to 50 it makes sense for me. We are buying a place in Mexico and will be down only 2-3 months per year. My main concern is the lack of wine in Mexico so I will bring down a case+ each trip and hopefully only drink 8-9 bottles. After a while there will be some good wines left that need cellaring. More than 50 may not make sense for a vacation place. I plan on turning everything off except the wine fridge when not on location.
Walt
User avatar
User

Carrie L.

Rank

Golfball Gourmet

Posts

2525

Joined

Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:12 am

Location

Extreme Southwest & Extreme Northeast

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Carrie L. » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:26 pm

Our place in California has two built-in Marvel units that collectively hold about 120 bottles. (Of course it is bursting at the seams and I am considering some off-site storage for our "long term" holds.)
In NC, our lifestyle is much different. We don't do nearly the amount of entertaining that we do in CA, so we figured we'd get a "smallish" furniture-type of unit that would look pretty in a small recess in our great room. It holds 42 bottles. (See link below.) Well, after a "maximum" order from MacPhail, some selections from Wally's and a few impulse buys, it was completely full in less than a month. Should have gotten the larger unit. Walt keep that in mind when you get a unit for Mexico. We are only in NC five months of the year.

Harriman Wine Unit
One comment about this unit. Many of the wine bottles will not fit side by side due to their inconsistent shape, so I had to get creative in their placement. One plus? The unit is extremely quiet. You can't even hear it running.
Last edited by Carrie L. on Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Bob Ross » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:04 pm

Robin, one other thought.

We used it for show and to keep gifts and a few bottles for friends before we started drinking wine seriously.

For a year or so after we started drinking wine seriously, I used it to take advantage of case discounts -- 3 or 4 bottles in the fridge, the rest in the mini.

Then we moved to our new house with a real wine cellar.

regards, Bob
User avatar
User

OW Holmes

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

745

Joined

Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:57 pm

Location

Grand Rapids, MI

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by OW Holmes » Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:10 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Am I missing something here? Can any of you offer a cogent argument in favor of investing in one of these things, for yourself or for a friend?


Maybe not a 12-16 bottle unit, but here's the case for a small unit: Florida.
Or anyplace south for snowbirds.
If I could safely keep a dozen bottles from one spring to the next fall in our Florida condo - not the daily drinkers but the good stuff - it might be worth it. We usually drink the $10-20 drink-now stuff down there, which I pick up at the local store on discount day, and it is gone in two weeks. But when we came north for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I had a couple of bottles of special occasion Chateauneuf du Pape and Bordeaux sitting on the kitchen counter. I popped them in the refrigerator for the six weeks, where they joined a few other bottles that were left over from last spring.

Now, 12 bottles is too small for us, as is 20-24 that will fit into a 15 inch space, but for some that might be enough for this very limited purpose - holding special occasion wines at a seasonal home.

In our remodelling this year, we will be replacing a corner cabinet in the kitchen with a built in that holds 40-50 bottles. And I will feel better about taking a couple of cases south with me when we drive down in the fall.
-OW
User avatar
User

James Dietz

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1246

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:45 pm

Location

Orange County, California

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by James Dietz » Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:40 pm

I have an 8 bottle `cellar' under my desk at work.... I don't think a 100 bottle one would fit!!! :cry:

We also built in a 32 bottle unit in the kitchen.. to hold the wine next up in the drinking queue.. and to have some stuff ready at had (the 500 bottle VinoTemp is in the garage)... it is stainless steel with glass.. and frankly looks really cool.
Cheers, Jim
no avatar
User

Sam Platt

Rank

I am Sam, Sam I am

Posts

2336

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:22 pm

Location

Indiana, USA

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Sam Platt » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:05 pm

James Dietz wrote:I have an 8 bottle `cellar' under my desk at work....


James,

Are you taking applications? :)
Sam

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are a small
matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
User avatar
User

James Dietz

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1246

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:45 pm

Location

Orange County, California

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by James Dietz » Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:01 am

Actually, we are....really.... economists....
Cheers, Jim
no avatar
User

Sam Platt

Rank

I am Sam, Sam I am

Posts

2336

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:22 pm

Location

Indiana, USA

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Sam Platt » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:10 am

James Dietz wrote:Actually, we are....really.... economists....


Wine loving engineers?
Sam

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are a small
matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
no avatar
User

Jackson Brooke

Rank

Wine geek

Posts

28

Joined

Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:45 pm

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Jackson Brooke » Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:33 pm

A mini wine cellar is probably about as useless as a very large, mostly underground cellar my Dad and I dug (and built) under the woodshed recently. After 3 inches over night it did turn into a very good little pond though!

ps - If you dig a cellar yourself check it's water capacity before filling it with treasure.
User avatar
User

Jon Peterson

Rank

The Court Winer

Posts

2982

Joined

Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:53 pm

Location

The Blue Crab State

Re: How useless is a mini-wine cellar, really?

by Jon Peterson » Thu Nov 29, 2007 6:37 pm

Robin, while no one who posts here would buy a mini-wine cellar, I'm for almost anything that opens up the world of wine to someone.
I just wanted to inform you that I find you to be very attractive. Thank you and have a nice day.
Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign