Hello, we’re having to abandon the cellar in which we store our wine. There are too many bottles to just drink up, so can any fellow members offer advice on using wine cabinets. Anything we should take into account before we buy, any good brands? We’d be glad of advice. Cheers.
Firstly, I would always buy one a big bigger than you think you will need! Two reasons:
Firstly, the stated storage capacity is always optimistically high, as it is based on uniformity of bottle shape and size, so it overstates the real world capacity.
Secondly, the prices do not increase in a linear manner - you can often get almost double the capacity for about 30% more in price.
I would also think carefully about where you are going to have the cabinet. Mine is in an unheated (but secure) garage. This rules out those which have a minimum ambient operating temperature of around 10c which many have. I went for a Climadiff with a lower end temperature of 0c (in practice our garage occasionally dips slightly below this but it isn’t a problem). What it does mean is that the cabinet heater does switch on quite a bit in the winter up here. In a warm summer it comes on a bit too, and in London I imagine it will come on more in summer than winter…
As far as brands go, I think that people on here own quite a range of brands, and the well known ones tend to be fairly reliable. The only thing i’ve had to do in 4 years is replace the battery in the temperature display. Best to have a bit of a look round, decide what your priorities are in terms of price, the ‘look’ of the cabinet (which will depend partly on where it’s going to be), the capacity, and the layout - do you want dual temperature zones etc. Also bear in mind that the cost of extras such as shelves/sliding shelves can mount up…
It might also be worth keeping an eye open for any second hand ones, though you would probably have to get it transported to you. Sometimes specialist retailers will have a sale on for display models, slight ‘seconds’ etc. I got about £200 off mine for that.
I’m in a similar situation to @MarkC; living in the highlands with my cabinet in the unheated utility room which can drop to zero or a little lower. And for those reasons I also got a Climadiff with can handle the lower temps with an internal heater coming onto play when necessary.
It’s a fairly big one with a theoretical capacity of 310 but in reality I doubt I’ll ever get much more than 250 odd into it. You don’t only lose capacity to different bottle shapes but also for every shelf you have you inevitably lose some space which probably amounts to a row of bottles per shelf and a row of bottles is around 14 bottles and I have 5 shelves.
To add to (or modify somewhat) the good advice above…
Do check with the manufacturer or supplier if it concerns you, but I was told (for a Liebherr cabinet) that if the ambient temp drops below the minimum specified it is not a huge problem. Down to zero, the worst that could happen is that it will run a little cool. Below zero is more of a problem, as the condensation drain may freeze and block.
If you want the cabinet for long term storage, you only need a single temperature. Multiple temperature zones are for holding wine at serving temperature.
If you will be keeping the cabinet in a living room, do check on noise levels. Those with older cooling technology can be noisy.
Some great advice on here already. I would strongly echo the following:
- Get a cabinet bigger than what you may need at this present time to ensure you’re relatively future proofed.
- The advertised bottle capacity is not realistic unless all your bottles are standard Bordeaux shape and you stack them with minimal shelving. When you have CNDP bottles etc mixed in the capacity dramatically drops.
- In terms of the different makes available. I have always used Liebherr. A reliable German make. But Climadiff also seems popular. The expensive make seems to be Eurocave but I’ve heard mixed reviews and the prices seem steep but the top cabinets look very swanky. I’ve also seen some other makes that look good but are quite cheap, which makes me wonder about the quality.
Hope that helps
Also see the following discussions:
Thank you all so much for such useful advice, all of it valuable. It has really clarified our thinking about what we need. Now to hunt “the” one. Cheers everybody, and happy new year to you all.
Hi Jos, I made the mistake of buying the wrong one and eventually replaced with a liebherr , can’t recommend enough and worth the premium price . I would certainly avoid Pevino as I had no end of problems
Yes, my Liebherr Vinothek is still going strong, I have had no issues with it whatsoever, so I am very happy with it.
Liebherr are very well regarded, good QPR.
Yes, I was seriously looking at Liebherr too, and got the same advice that it would be fine down to zero. However, in 2010 we had about a dozen days in a row below zero with a max one day of -6c and lows of -16c. My garage was definitely below zero then! If we got that again I’d probably have to run the storage heater in it.
Liebherr and Climadiff were the two I seriously considered, not just for the temperature issue but the quality to price ratio, particularly if you just want a utilitarian build rather than a fancy finish.
Wow. We had ours in an outside brick shed, and I don’t think the temp got anywhere near that low. But, just to be on the safe side, I had a cheap electric space heater with a setting to prevent freezing pipes.
For the record, I too have had very good experiences with Liebherrs - running two of them for around 15 years with no serious problems. Just issues with mould in one of them (as I think I described in another thread), but now solved by adjusting bottle positions. At the time of purchase, they were the budget option compared with their main rivals Eurocave and Transtherm. Now there are cheaper options, but I know nothing about how good they are.
When I bought them it was worthwhile checking prices using Google, as they did differ considerably from place to place.
I have run a mid size Eurocave in a garage for just over 20 years without any issues. It’s just rolls on and it great as in summer wine temperature on white is perfect.
The garage is integrated to the house in this case and is therefore cold in winter but rarely drop below zero.
I have since added a Bosch wine fridge and also so far 4 1/2 years in no issues to report and again on a warm day perfect to grab a bottle.
Hi Cellarvie, I would agree with the comments below. I also had a Liebherr Vinothek for many years (I only sold it because I moved house and didn’t need it any more). It was in the garage, and it happily coped with short winter periods - it was always strange to open the vinothek and find it warmer than the outside temperature in winter! I had the large, single zone model with a solid door. Notionally 250 bottles but really around 200. 15 years of great service, no problems either. Buy large, keep it a simple single-zone (or you pay a lot of money for glass doors, wooden shelves, multi zone etc etc which you do not need) and ideally go for a placement in a non-living space as it is not noisy but it’s not quiet either!
I bought my Eurocave Wine storage cabinet in 1992 for £1000. It has 208 bottle capacity and has worked continuously, without the need for repair, since then. I change the charcoal filter every few years, when I remember. It is a single temperature unit kept at 11 - 12 C and is in the garage. Ambient temperatures can fall below 10 C at times but never below 5 as the boiler frostat cuts in !
There have been two problems with this model. The plastic shelving does not like thicker bottles from the Rhone and Burgundy. and the push - fit parts can become dislocated if too much force is used. This can be avoided buy storing bottles neck to neck. ( I spent a day about 10 years ago re-building the system when it was in danger of collapsing! They don’t use this type of shelving now)
In humid weather condensation can build up in the bottom if the door is opened frequently or one admires one’s collection for too long. Keeping the drain clear is important.
It has been a faithful servant and worth what was a considerable outlay at the time.
I have a Liebherr WKB4212 and it’s in my freestanding brick garage which has been converted into my office. I have a small panel heater at the other end of the room that’s set to 19* from 8am-6pm Tuesday-Friday and off the rest of the time. Once the weather got cool in September I turned the wine fridge off and it maintains a fairly tight range of about 15-17* all on its own. When it warms up again I’ll turn it back on. I am very pleased with it.
If I have one comment on the WKB4212 it’s that you can’t get a display shelf as you can for other models.
I have a Liebherr 68 bottle cabinet, but need a bigger one for 200+ bottles. The issue is that there isn’t space - maybe in the 2nd bedroom but not sure if Mrs would approve such a big cabinet in a second room.
Will look at offsite storage as well.
I have no knowledge of wine cabinets. But I do remember cocktail cabinets. These became popular in the 1950s when fewer people drank wine. They drank sprits instead. These cocktail cabinets were often in the shape of a bar with bottles stored below.
These days, we wince at the mere thought of them. They are naff and completely out of fashion. All trends come and go. I must wonder how long wine cabinets will be with us.
I’ve got a cocktail cabinet, I like it.
They’ve made quite the comeback