Help a noob choosing his first wine cooler

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Strato

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Hello,

I'm new here. I'm not making wine myself, but I'm collecting a bit (just getting started).

So here's the deal. I'm drinking a lot of cheap to semi expensive wine all year around. As of for now I've just left them in my living room which usually sits around 22 degrees celcius. This is not ideal, but has not been a problem since a bottle usually only sits for max a month before it is consumed.

Lately I have been buying a couple of more expensive wines like a couple of Grand Cru classe Bourdeaux wines and some similarly priced fine wines from Italy. These are in my 12 degree garage for the time being.
I'm also considering to start investing in more expensive Bordeaux and Burgundy wines instead of investing in shares.
My plan is to keep these wines for 15-30 years before either reselling or consuming.

As of for now I'm living in an apartment and can't dedicate a whole room for wine storage. In a couple of years I'll move to a bigger house where I plan to use a room in the cellar for wine.
For now that means that my only choice is to get a quality wine cooler for long term storage. This is where I need your advice.

I find that there are a lot of brands to choose from, but very little unbiased advice to find on the internet about which brands to choose.
So far I have learnt that I need a wine cooler...

1. with one temperature zone that can be set to 9-18 degrees c. (I only need one zone because this will only be used for red wine).
2. that keeps humidity over 55%
3. that has a vibration resistant compressor and preferably wooden shelves to reduce vibration on the bottles.
4. with a coal filter that keeps foul smell out of the cooler.
5. that has a UV resistant glass door or even just a solid door (I think glass door looks nicer though).

I need a cooler with capacity for 100-200 bottles and my budget is 1500 EUR.

I have been looking at a couple of brands and models.

Liebherr 3212: http://tinyurl.com/jouk7fx
164 bottles. 3 wooden shelves. Keeps over 50% humidity and has charcoal filter for smell. 1 temp zone and 5 to 18 degrees.
I think the height of 135cm is a bit low because it will look a bit funny next to my fridge, but meh... I can live with that.
This is 1600EUR where I live (i can probably bargon a bit).

The reason I have been looking at Liebherr is because their products are amazingly reliable. I have the same brand on my refrigerator. They tend to last around 25 years without a hiccup. The longevity of the product is important to me. I can't risk the wine cooler failing while I'm on holiday.
This cooler can also heat. That means that if the ambient temperature falls below 12 degrees the cooler will still be able to keep the wine at the set temperature.

Other brands I have been looking at are Avintage, Climadiff, Artevino and mQuvee. These brands all seem to have similar specified coolers as the Liebherr at similar prices.

Do you guys have any golden tips for me?
I really have no idea what I should go for.


Thank you so much in advance
 

richmke

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Let say that you buy 145 bottles (12 cases plus a bottle) of 2015 Chateau Mouton Rothschild at $475/bottle, and sell it in 15 years for $1,500/bottle (current prices of 2000 and 2015 vintages). When you sell, you get about 50% of the value because the buyer has to pay a 25% buyer premium, and then mark it up to sell them by the bottle. So, you net about $750/bottle.

$68,875 initial investment for 145 bottles
$108,000 sale proceeds for 144 bottles (1 bottle is open for Christies to prove the value of the lot).
$39,125 profit, or 56% return over 10 years, or about a 5% annual return (plus inflation).

Note: That does not count the cost of electricity and insurance for the 10 years.

Mere conjecture on my part, but that's how I would look at it.

Now, if you want to buy for your own drinking pleasure, then you buy a $20-$30 bottles of wine. Is it really worth the cost and hassle of storing for 15 years? If you had a house with extra space, that is one thing. But an apartment where every square foot is costing you ...

I can't risk the wine cooler failing while I'm on holiday.
I doubt the wine would be materially affected if the cooler failed while you are on holiday, and warmed up to room temp (22 degrees) for a week. It would also take a while for all the wine to warm up while in the cooler.
 
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Strato

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Thanks for the reply.

I guess that the profitability of wine investments can be discussed and people will have different opinions. Historically it has been more profitable than investing in the share market, but you never know what the the future brings.
In addition it is much more work to maintain the wine for 15 years and then even more work to sell the physcal product to a buyer.
I have not decided if I will be doing this seriously.

My apartment is big, so space is not scarce. I just can't be dedicating a room for this.

Having a wine cooler both looks good in my kitchen and gives me a place to store all the wine I drink. Additionally I don't want the expensive wine I already bought to be stored improperly. If I'm drinking it in 20 years I want it to be as good as can be.

Do you have any recommendations when it comes to brands?
 

richmke

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Historically it has been more profitable than investing in the share market
It assumes you can buy/sell without transaction costs. Buying and selling stock has little transaction costs. Buying and selling wine has huge transaction costs.

Having a wine cooler both looks good in my kitchen
IMHO, I wouldn't put it in the kitchen. All the cooking fumes making its way into the wine cabinet.

Do you have any recommendations when it comes to brands?
Nope. I don't have a wine cooler. If I were investing that much money into wine, I would build a cabinet in a room, and make it insulated and air tight. If I were really worried about reliability, I would install 2 conditioning units. That way if one broke, you have the 2nd. Connect with air ducts so the vibrations don't reach the wine. Heck, if I were worried about vibration, I would mount the cabinet on a spring floor, or rubber spacers.
 
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Strato

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I understand your points.

I think we are talking about different types of investments though. You are talking really big scale (for a normal person), but I'm thinking much smaller.
So this is how I think about investing:

1. Find a chateau from Bordeaux that I really like. The first that comes to my mind is Chateau Margaux. Then every year (perhaps only every good year), I'll buy 3-6 bottles of their Premier Grand Cru. The Chateau Margaux goes for about 250 - 350 EUR a bottle upon release every year at my local retailer.
In the case of Norway, where I live, the situation is a bit special because only the government and restaurants are allowed to sell wine to the public (monopoly retailer). The monopoly is not driven by profit and only has a fixed mark up on every bottle which means that the bottles often sell for way lower than international market price upon release. You need to get up early to queue though.....

Reasoning: These bottles are likely to increase in value. In 20 years I'll be sitting on a really good collection of Chateau Margaux wines. Hopefully they will be rare by then and I'll be able to sell the whole collection to some enthusiast or reseller.

2. Buying cheaper Grand Cru Classe wines (50-60 EUR area) for own consumtion in a couple years. This investment is different, because it is not meant for making money. The idea how ever is that the wine will increase in quality and a little bit in price. When I choose to drink it in 10-15 years it will be a really high quality wine that I otherwise never would have bought in my local wine shop. The "profit" is to drink a really good bottle of wine "cheap".


So if we forget the big scale investments for a while and say that my intentions are only to have somewhere to store my wine before drinking.
Is a wine cooler such a bad idea?
I mean, it must be better to store the wine in a 12 degree cooler than at fluctuating room temperature? (18-22 degrees. Some warm summer days perhaps up to 27 degrees, but rare). Even for 20-50 EUR wine this must be an advantage?
 

Johnd

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If you're looking to invest in wine, consider buying wine futures. You purchase them at a given price before the wine is ready. When it is ready, and if your chosen wine is highly rated, you can choose to take delivery of the wine, or just part of the quantity you purchased, or you can sell your futures at a profit. You never have to handle the wine if you sell the futures.

This is a bit different than what you were talking about, you're "betting" on a wine before it's done and deciding what to do with it in a few years when it's released, as opposed to buying the wine at release and hanging on to it for 10 - 15 years, betting that it ages better than anticipated.
 

Strato

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Ah, yes. You are talking about en primeur.

It is an interesting concept, but much more risky because you buy the wine before you know if it's good.

I'm looking for less volatile investments. But thank you for good advice :)


I'm still clueless about which wine cooler to choose, hehe.
 

AZMDTed

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I wish I could help you on which cooler to get, but I can't. My house came with a Vinotemp 50 or so bottle unit. I did not have a good experience with it. Anytime the house power went out for more than a few minutes the unit would reset itself to go to 0 degrees centigrade. I had a couple experiences where I didn't pick up on that and my bottles were well frosted over. I'd have to unplug the thing, open the door, unfreeze the coils, and then it would work. Not something you like doing or gives a lot of confidence in the unit.

Your idea about getting a cooler is the right way to go though. Minimize temperature changes, maintain a decent humidity level, minimize exposure to UV light, and minimizing vibrations are the key to long term storage. The right unit should do all of that for you. Sorry that I can't assist or refer you to good a site that discusses European Wine Coolers.

Good luck, and enjoy it whether drinking or investing.
 

Treeman

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I would suggest you buy a small cooler 30-40 bottles that will work for your high end wine for the next few yrs while you are looking for a house. If you get into this hobby you will find that 100-200 bottle cooler is not enough space to keep both your trophies/investments and the nice drinking wines that need 5-15 yrs to develop.
 

melsnyder

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Do you have any recommendations when it comes to brands?
Hi, I made a lot of research about wine coolers.

Artvino II does probably suits you but to all of my reviews I do recommend Eurocave INOA especially for people who are serious about wine. Here is my review.

If you're still undecided, here's a really good article that will help you choose the right wine cooler that suits you.

I hope it helps you find what you are looking for. :h

If you have more questions, feel free to ask. :> :> :>
 

Strato

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Hello melsnyder,

Thank you very much for your advice. I read through your review and it seemd promising. Eurocave has some really exclusive coolers for sale in my country. The problem is basically the price.

I have gotten an offer on this cabinet, and I think I will accept it within the next couple of days:
http://vinlagringskompaniet.no/produkt.php?pid=2446

The offer I have gotten is 1750EUR including shipping to my front door.

A similar Eurocave cabinet is about 4600EUR which is rather extreme in my opinion. It's quite hard to justify the price difference.

What do you think about the Climadiff cooler?
From what I hear it is supposed to be top notch.
 

Callum Dooley

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Is this thread still active?

I am also looking for a wine cooler but don't really see the need for a Eurocave, they are extremely expensive and after all they are just glorified refrigerators with a glass door...
 

sour_grapes

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Not sure I can help at all, but did you have a question?
 

Callum Dooley

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Hi Sour Grapes, Thanks for coming back to me.

I am looking for 250-300 bottles of storage and had a budget of £1500, I know Euorcave are probably the best but it's out of my budget.

Do you have any recommendations? I want something with a solid door and winter system since it will go in my garage.

Thanks
 

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