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Small cellar cooling

Hello.

I’m looking for advice about temperature control for a small cellar I’m putting together.

I have recently moved into a top floor flat in Glasgow. In past accommodation I’ve been fortunate enough to have cellar space for my collection of up to 500 bottles, but here I need to convert a large cupboard into a cellar.

I need a system that will maintain 10-13 degree C in quite a small space: 1.2 x 1.2 x 3 cubic metres. It needs to be installed on the interior. There is no access to the exterior space which is, in any case, a shared staircase so I cannot have a unit outside the cellar. There is a small window 40cm x 50cm near the top of the cupboard which I hope will provide a vent.

I’ve found systems like “Wineguardian” which will certainly do the job but is very expensive (probably because it has the word “wine” in its title!) and I’m wondering if anyone else has found a system with similar capacity that will do the same job (with fewer bells and whistles as well).

All suggestions are welcome.

Chris.

Try these guys, https://www.heronhill.co.uk/795-cellar-coolers-wine#/page-2

I dont know them but they do the wine guardian stuff plus others so may be able to give cheaper alternatives.

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I had a Wineguardian, unfortunately wasn’t good in small space. In addition it needs to be ducted outside to take warm air away. After two years had an expensive repair and after 4 years needed another which I didn’t bother with.

Hope that helps decision.

Thanks MrNXM. In fact I’ve been in discussion with Nigel Rumsey of Heronhill for a couple of weeks and he’s recommended the WineGuardian but the basic unit is pricey at £3k+VAT and has more bells and whistles than I need. I also asked Nigel the above question and he said he didn’t know about a “non wine” cheaper equivalent but agrees that the expense is a disincentive for a small cellar. I’ve located a cheaper alternative - Fondis - and am having discussions with them today. Many thanks for your reply. Chris.

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Hello Markvintage1970. That’s interesting. I do have a natural duct in the form of a high window but the WineGuardian is more expensive than I feel is reasonable for the project and it’s helpful to know that there are questions over reliability in a small space. Do you no longer attempt to keep your cellar cool? Or have you another place to store wine? I am now looking at a cheaper alternative (Fondis - WineMaster) of which I have hopes. But I’ve been looking for about a month now. Fortunately the weather in Glasgow is not warm! Best wishes, Chris.

Yes my alternative is a Climadiff unit in the garage. My small cellar had the hole filled where the WG once stood and just used for my stock of everyday wines.

Good luck with the project.

That’s interesting. A couple of the Climadiffs could house about 430 bottles - I think? - at about the same cost as the A/C system. Is it becausr they’re large that you keep them in the garage? What about power consumption? Chris.

Yes quite large, but good for garage as it warms in winter. Think mine holds 168 bottles officially. But quite a bit less in reality as bottles would need to be same shape for that to work.

I didn’t see a hike in energy cost and is so well insulated, if you don’t open the door much doesn’t need to operate much. Bit bulky for house unless you have loads of spare space.

Fondis are still quite expensive imo, but do have a strong grip on the smaller cellar market I think. I’ve had various issues over the years with the C18 model and from talking with my independent refrigeration specialist who installs/services a lot of Fondis units in the south, there have been some reliability issues in the past. The new version of the C25 which has been around a few years, is better, more economical and slightly quieter - depending on where you have the unit in your house, you may come to regret ever installing it as you’ll have a lot of noise pollution droning through your flat!
Also important to remember the Fondis does not control humidity, if that is required in your circumstances.

Hi Chris, I too stay in a top floor flat in Glasgow, and keep my wine in the hall cupboard (which I assume is where you’re talking about). I don’t have any cooling system, but in 17 years here I have never had a problem with bottles spoiling or even being over the hill. It’s not cellar temperature but there’s very little variation, min 16 degrees in winter, max 20 degrees in summer. In summer I just open the window to the close. I don’t have as much wine as you and none of it is particularly valuable, but it’s worked for me so far.

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Chris
I replaced a Liebherr unit with a Climadiff 310A
I have maxxed out the number of bottles at 210 but I do have an additional shelf.
Works well and keeps the temperature within a 2C range throughout the year in a north facing, unheated single story room.

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Hi Velowander. It is the C25 that I’m thinking about. £2,100 inc. VAT is just a little over half the price of the WineGuardian. It would vent into an open, large stairwell through a small window. I agree that I wouldn’t want it anywhere else in the flat. I’m advised that other AC units are not reliable in terms of maintaining the right temperature range of 10-13 deg. C. This is proving to be a more complex issue than I’d anticipated. Thanks. Chris.

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Thanks. I see the shelving allows you to get more bottles in than the “display” style. It is quite large. I’d not quite be able to get two into the space I have (1.2m x 1.2m area) but it may prove to be the way to go. Best, Chris.

Hi Shane. That’s interesting. Yes, it is a hall cupboard with a small window to a large close. My thermometer is showing minima of 16 deg. C in the cupboard even though it’s near freezing outside. I don’t intend selling the collection. It’s for drinking and passing on to the next generation in due course but I confess I feel nervous about not having some temperature control. Where do you stay? I’m in G41. Chris.

I understand your nerves, I used to worry during heatwaves. Glasgow tenements are so solidly built that it takes a lot to warm them up - think how cool it is when you walk into a close in summer. But if you want complete peace of mind, go ahead and install aircon. I did seriously think about it when we moved in, but realised that I couldn’t afford to buy wine to fill it for quite some time if I spent the money!

Another issue is that you would probably need to make the cupboard door airtight, and as our gas meter is in there, I’m not sure that’s a good idea.

I’m in G42, so not far from you at all.

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Ours too. But won’t the AC be circulating air and venting it?
The C25 isn’t going to work with the size of window I have so now I’m looking at non-wine systems which are totally internal but I don’t know if they will reliably maintain the temperature range.

As and when things get back to normal I hope to restart the wine tastings I’ve been running for a few years now: very informal, for friends and with live jazz too on occasion. Let me know if you’re interested.

Good point, I’m just paranoid about anything gas related.

‘When things get back to normal’ is apparently phrase of the year! I’m certainly looking forward to getting back to real life tastings, but it’ll be a wee while yet I think.