09 September 2013

New Wine Refrigerator

In 2010 I reviewed a thermoelectric wine fridge from NewAir. That model is still in service here at Casa de Benito, but several months ago they sent me a larger model to try out.

Unlike the smaller model, the NewAir AWC-270E ($320) operates on a traditional compressor. The tradeoff is that it's not silent like the thermoelectric cooler, but there's just a gentle hum of white noise that easily fades into the background. I keep it at 16°C/60°F, and even during a hot summer it's kept a consistent temperature for several months now.

The AWC-270E has wire rack shelves that hold 27 bottles, though you may be able to squeeze in a few more depending on the angles. It's deep enough to support tall Alsatian or German Riesling bottles, though as with any wine storage system you might need to do a little adjusting to fit rounder Champagne bottles. In addition to temperature controls and a digital temperature display, it also includes an interior blue LED that looks awesome at night.

While I still like the smaller one, over time I found that I wasn't really using the two-zone cooling all that much, and particularly when receiving a flurry of wine samples, a single large chamber proved to be better for organization (instead of keeping reds and whites in separate sections, I need to keep bottles together as they were shipped). For serious collecting or long term storage, you're going to need something much bigger or even a dedicated room. But I like a wine fridge for the purposes of keeping my main refrigerator dedicated to food and for convenient serving during a dinner party.

As a cocktail lover, I also appreciate the wine fridge as a great place to keep vermouth and a few other delicate ingredients. Even now, all of my various bitters live on top of the fridge, which is a lot better than having them tucked away in a box.

I keep this wine fridge in the living room, but it's compact enough to keep in the kitchen or even in a home office. I like the stainless steel and glass door, and visitors to the house have commented appreciably on it. Overall, highly recommended and sturdy enough to stand up to years of service.

Note: This product was provided as a sample.

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