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Wine fridge - Kenmore? Vinotemp?

s
sabernar Jul 29, 2006 05:33 PM

I'm looking for a 30-40 bottle wine fridge, and I was wondering if anyone had any opinion on the Kenmore model (http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produc...) or in Vinotemp in general. I can get a 15% discount at Sears through my company, but I want to make sure that Kenmore makes good wine fridges before I get it. I'd rather spend a bit more money on a better unit if I have to.

I've also read several bad reviews of Vinotemp online, and I was wondering what people thought of them. It seems ebay has some "dented" models at a good looking discount and if people here had a good opinion of them I figured I'd go with those (they hold 50-55 bottles). I like the size and look of the Vinotemp, but I was concerned about the reviews that I read (then again, I haven't been able to find many glowing reviews of any of the wine fridges).

I read on these boards that there are only several manufacturers of the wine fridges (you can tell by looking at the general shape of some of them - Kenmores look a lot like Haier and maybe Avanti, too).

Thoughts? Opinions? Comments? Thanks in advance.

  1. Midlife Jul 30, 2006 01:08 AM

    VinoTemp makes some of the best values in wine units. Costco seems to have thebest prices on them so,if you're near one, check them out. I'm not familiar with the Kenmores, but (at least in the past) Sears usually has their products made by leading manufacturers in the industry, so they should be OK.

    1. akp Jul 30, 2006 01:21 AM

      We received a Haier 40 bottle wine fridge for a wedding present 4 years ago. No problems so far... Have not compared to other brands.

      1 Reply
      1. re: akp
        a
        araknd Jan 19, 2010 09:01 AM

        I received a Haier for my 50th birthday, 7 years ago and it has been working flawlessly.

      2. k
        kenito799 Jul 30, 2006 02:31 PM

        i am happy so far with a cheapo sunbeam i got at home depot for $110. Supposedly holds 47 bottles but you would have to be creative to cram that many in. no thermometer so i have used a digital thermometer to calibrate it (stick the wire inside at various levels)...right now there is a gradient from 62 degrees at the top to 52 at the bottom of the fridge.

        1. o
          OliveBelle Jul 30, 2006 05:11 PM

          I've had a vinoteque for about 10 years with never a day of trouble. And it's been moved a few times.

          1. r
            ric z Jul 30, 2006 09:45 PM

            I am VERY happy with my Kenmore Elite wine cooler.. Purring at 56 degrees for over a year without a hiccup.. and one great value.

            1. c
              Claudia Jul 31, 2006 02:18 AM

              Over a year ago we bought a 60 bottle Vinotemp through Amazon (good price and it qualified for free supersaver shipping). We have had no problems. It keeps a good steady temperature. My advice is to buy the biggest storage unit you can afford and that will fit in your space. Otherwise you will fill it up and then rue the day you chose to buy a smaller unit when you could have had something larger. Also, the manaufacturer's bottle capacity assumes that all wines come in bordeaux bottles. Burgundy and champagne bottles take up more space because the bottles are wider - if you have a lot of those, like we do, you will lose overall storage capacity.

              1. Leo in BR Aug 5, 2006 05:28 PM

                I have a Haier 30 bottle. Love it - no problems. Got it on sale at Sears a few years back for only 200 bucks. Still can't get over that price!

                1. h
                  HeelsSoxHound Aug 11, 2006 12:43 PM

                  i have an avanti 40 bottle that works really well-- keep my ready-to-drink stuff in there, and the rest in my root cellar (really, all over my house.)

                  1. m
                    MarieA May 24, 2008 06:33 PM

                    I know this reply is a little late, but if anyone is reading this, DON"T BUY VINOTEMP. We had the wine cellar (50 bottle capacity) for 18 months and it dropped the temperature, even though it was set at 57, to 32 degrees. It was in the process of freezing all 50 bottles of our wine! Just by a fluke, I noticed the temperature indicator was displaying "LL" and opened the door to find the wine freezing! I have looked on line and found 6 other reviews where people had the same problem. Some people have lost all their wine.....we lost $2000 worth of wine with popped corks (which is what happens when your wine freezes). What a mess, and when we called Vinotemp they were of no help. They told us to call Mr. Appliance for repairs, and after 4 calls, all said they never heard of or had never repaired Vinotemp. Costco no longer sells them, but look out since others do (Target and Sam's). Don't buy this product unless you want frozen grapes a huge loss of great wine, (sob sob) and a big mess! Who would ever have thought that the wine cellar would freeze wine. We were always worried the wine would get too warm, never freeze! HATE this VINOTEMP product

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: MarieA
                      s
                      Steve K May 27, 2008 08:18 AM

                      We had the same problem with a Danby. We only keep our "drinking soon" stash in the Danby/kitchen, so not too great a loss, but...

                      Obviously in both cases, the "run the compressor" contacts stuck. We unplugged ours, plugged it back in, and it has now run fine for months. We're retired and just check it a couple of times daily, and unplug it when we leave for a day or more, but if we didn't have a cellar for our wine storage...

                      One has to wonder what kind of fail-safe the pricier units have, or whether they have a fail-safe. Until now, this is the the first I have heard of the freezing problem, except for ours.

                      1. re: Steve K
                        monkuboy May 27, 2008 09:13 PM

                        I have read about freezing problems with other units, most notably Vinotemp but then they probably all come from the same factory with the same engineering plans. It seems like that problem is much more prevalent than with regular refrigerators or maybe I just don't read forums that talk about refrigerators..

                        1. re: monkuboy
                          d
                          dakrisht Jan 16, 2010 01:15 AM

                          I COMPLETELY agree with MarieA - Vinotemp products are the WORST you can buy. I've had three VInotemp units in the past 16-months and they have ALL failed and are now laying somewhere in a landfill.

                          Their products are absolutely awful, made in China, old-technology compressor models that have been known to FREEZE wine collections! Another awful element of the Vinotemp experience is the customer service and the company itself. They simply do not care about the products they sell and they refuse to support them, even thow they are under warranty. They'll send you a replacement compressor, 2 months later - it's worthless. AWFUL products, equally awful customer service and service.

                          I had two 180-bottle cellars and one 50 bottle cellar. They all lasted less than 7 months, compressor failures, too low temperatures.

                          AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL stuff. Stay far far away from this company. You get what you pay for, even though Vinotemp units should cost $300. Chinese junk.

                          1. re: dakrisht
                            Midlife Jan 16, 2010 09:10 AM

                            Interesting reply. My Vinotemp 220-bottle unit is 10 years old and has never skipped a beat in all that time. I have two friends who have their 440-bottle units for almost as long. One had a compressor problem after 8 years, but his was running in a hot garage all that time, and he had not ordered it with the heavy-duty compressor as they had suggested to him.

                            we bought one of the stainless 60-bottle units for our daughter (at Costco) and it ran perfectly for 5 years. She is now having a problem with it that Vinotemp says could be a simple part or a bad compressor. Her issue with them is that their recommended service contractor charges a minimum visit charge of $75 and there's no way to know if the fix will cost $100 or $300+. I don't really think that's Vinotemp's service at fault after 5 years.

                            It MAY be that their small, metal units are made in China, I don't know, but I've been to their factory and I saw them making the large, wood units right there in Rancho Dominguez, California.

                            You obviously had a very different experience with Vinotemp and are angry. That's your right. Others have had different experiences. This being your first post here (at least under this name) one might wonder if you Google around looking for Vinotemp posts to trash. This one is 18 months old, you know.

                            1. re: Midlife
                              b
                              BN1 Jan 19, 2010 07:09 PM

                              Has no one had a problem with mold in non-humidity controlled units?

                      2. re: MarieA
                        b
                        Barbwire65 May 28, 2013 10:48 AM

                        Do not buy VINOTEMP Our VINOTEMP wine cooler has been in the shop for repair for about 4 weeks. The repair person says, even with new parts ordered, it will not cool. I am faced with using the unit to store wine only, a very expensive wine rack.

                        1. re: Barbwire65
                          Midlife May 28, 2013 05:12 PM

                          And yet I've had a 220-btl Vinotemp unit that's operated flawlessly for about 12 years. Go figure.

                          I've heard that the smaller Vinotemp units (25-50 btl) have had problems. I wouldn't write off Vinotemp totally as a company however.

                      3. njfoodies Jan 19, 2010 04:27 AM

                        We have an Avanti 166 bottle model and love it. No problems thus far and if I had to do it again, we would in a heartbeat. Good value. -mJ

                        1. e
                          Elispappy Jan 19, 2010 12:52 PM

                          When we embarked on our kitchen remodel last year, we opted to add an under-counter wine fridge. We selected the Danby DWC518BLS (http://www.danby.com/product/DWC518BL...
                          )It is a dual-zone unit and comfortably holds 4 cases +.
                          After almost a year, I can say we're 100% pleased with the unit. It holds accurate temp very evenly, is well-built, has a great warranty (just in case!) and looks terrific.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Elispappy
                            Midlife Jan 19, 2010 02:24 PM

                            Serious question for you, or anyone:

                            Do you find that having two temp zones is really necessary?
                            I know that many of the highest priced units are dual-zone, but I just find it difficult to believe that reds and whites really need the different temps. Can you cite any solid references on this? I know it sounds like a good idea, but I've always questioned it.

                            1. re: Midlife
                              PolarBear Jan 19, 2010 05:56 PM

                              +1

                              1. re: PolarBear
                                njfoodies Jan 20, 2010 04:13 AM

                                I guess if you are really that picky about your serving temps for daily drinkers it would semi make sense to have a dual zone, but to me, this is worthless. I have our cellars set at 55 degrees, and if I want to serve a white colder, I'll throw it in the fridge the night before, and let it warm up a bit before serving. If I want to serve a red warmer than 55, I take it out of the cellar an hour or however long prior to drinking. Not worth the money for the dual zone in my opinion.

                                In my 166 bottle Avanti, I just put our high end chards(Kistler, Aubert, Auteur, Rivers-Marie) in the bottom as the cold air sinks. That is the coldest place, and I would rather drink those colder than I would say a bottle of pinot, cab, or syrah.

                                Just my 2 yen. -mJ

                          2. j
                            jonasblank Jan 25, 2010 10:34 AM

                            Having recently looked into this myself, the general impression I came away with (having owned several makes/models of the smaller-size wine refrigerators, and having a conversation with a frank salesperson at Wine Enthusiast) is that all of these types of small units that aren't true refrigerators with full-size compressors like a "real" refrigerator are, to some degree, junk (also, this has been my experience). I ended up buying an Avanti 38-bottle cellar to compliment a Wine Enthusiast-branded 28 bottle cellar - not because there was anything great about Avanti, but because (a) it at least looks decent and (b) it was cheap, and I figure if they're all junk anyway, I'll end up replacing it whether it's a $700 model or a $250 one. So far so good with it., FWIW. One day I'd love to have a nice installed one, but oh well...

                            1. c
                              chelwi Nov 16, 2010 06:30 AM

                              I know I'm really late to the game, but I wanted to say that while I've never used a Kenmore wine fridge, other Kenmore appliances I've used work great. Since they are Sears' brand, you'll probably get a good deal on one too if you wait for a sale.

                              I personally own the Avanti 40 bottle wine fridge (http://www.winecoolerdirect.com/WC400...) and I love it. It looks great and I've never had any problems.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: chelwi
                                p
                                pantani Nov 21, 2010 06:20 PM

                                I have some experience with this topic. Several years ago I bought a small Cuisinart thermoelectric wine cooler. After a few months it stopped working. Recently I decided to look for a new one as my wine collection was expanding. It became obvious after a while that there are lots of bad reviews on virtually every wine cooler made and that the typical life span is one to two years. I decided to use a mini fridge that we have had in our garage that has been working forever. I bought a Ranco digital temperature controller for $60 so I could set the temperature at 60 degrees for storing red wine. It has been running for a few weeks and I am really happy with it. I have read that vibration and low humidity due to the compressor in a conventional fridge can harm the wine but I think this probably takes a year or more and I drink my wine in months.
                                Some of the wine refrigerators do use compressors so I am not sure how they are any better. I would stay away from the units with thermoelectric coolers as they are prone to short lives and they can't maintain the set temperature if the outside temperature is more than 75.
                                You can get a mini fridge pretty cheap and there plenty of them on Craig's List.

                                1. re: chelwi
                                  v
                                  vino_fan Nov 28, 2010 10:24 AM

                                  I considered purchasing an Avanti fridge but instead purchased a Vinotemp 12-bottle thermoelectric wine cooler - 2 temperature zone from http://www.winefridgesplus.com

                                  It's quiet and haven't had any issues.

                                2. m
                                  McSooner Nov 27, 2010 05:29 AM

                                  I just bought a Vissani 52 bottle for $150 at HD on Black Friday. I did a bit of searching and it had a relatively good rating, I think due to having an actual compressor. For that price, it's worth the risk. We'll see.

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