Urgent advice/help/suggestions needed!!! - Printable Version

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- dananne - 07-02-2005

Our 220 bottle wine cellar is dying -- it's having trouble maintaining temp under 60, is running almost all the time, and yesterday I discovered it at 82, after it had gone into alarm mode and shut down when it couldn't get the temp down to within 10* of the set temp. Thankfully, I caught it pretty quickly, and though the bottles were not yet warm to the touch, as the liquid temp didn't rise as quickly as the air inside the unit, they weren't likely in the 60s anymore, either. I did manage to get it down to the upper 50s again in the evening, and it's been hovering around there since, with spikes in air temp to the mid 60s. That having been said, we need to move fast and get a long-term solution, especially as we're already at max capacity and will likely be bringing a lot of wine home from the August trip to Oregon/Washington.<P>We do not have a basement, nor do we have an insulated house with little temp fluctuation -- we have a drafty, uninsulated, no sub floor, hot-in-the-summer-and-cold-in-winter, old Victorian home. So, finding a cool closet, basement, or some such is out of the question. <BR> <BR>We've decided to go one of two ways, and are gathering info to move one way or the other next week. <P>One option is to build a root cellar in the backyard to store wine. Does anyone use external underground storage? Good idea? Bad? What do we need to know (for instance, how deep to go, how much earth on top, temp/humidity control and fluctuation, etc.)? <P>The other option is to buy a temp-controlled credenza-style wine cellar that holds 300 or more bottles. <P>All thoughts or helpful advice are welcome. Thanks in advance.

- Bucko - 07-02-2005

Best bet is to store the wine at a professional facility until you can make a decision without being under the gun.

- hotwine - 07-03-2005

I second Bucko's recommendation to use off-site storage until you can get your own squared away.<P>As to using a cellar in the backyard: that's my primary storage. Do a search on username hotwine in this thread and you'll see some of the problems I encountered, and the eventual solution.<P>Suggest you also look at He has a photo album of cellars from around the world, including one that was made from a burial vault installed in a fellow's backyard; pretty cool and looks a lot like mine (without his frilly decorations).<P>As far as depth required, amount of soil needed on top, that sort of thing.... mine is only half-buried, so the upper half is above ground. Painting of the interior concrete surfaces with UGLok to prevent moisture penetration, then installation of foam-board insulation, were all that were required to allow an industrial refrigeration unit to maintain a steady 57F/60% RH. E-mail me ( if you have any questions or would like photos.

- dananne - 08-24-2005

Exciting times in the Dan & Anne world. Our new Vinotemp 400 bottle credenza-style unit just arrived. Hurray! <P>Will post on it in a few months to give a review. All I can say right now is that we got socked with an additional $180 for the delivery because we have a few stairs to get into the house. When purchased, it was with the understanding that we wouldn't have any extra charges because it's a "first floor delivery." So, even though it's a first floor delivery, we still got charged extra. Unpleasant surprise.

- hotwine - 08-24-2005

Congrats on your new toy. You might not fill that one up until .... oh, maybe the weekend.

- wondersofwine - 08-24-2005

I look forward to your review. I hope to move next spring and get a proper storage unit after the move or to be delivered just ahead of the move--no furniture--just the wine storage unit. (That may not be far from the truth. I will be moving my dining room table and chairs and beds, but my living room furniture is showing serious wear and may get ditched when I move. I may start out with a new recliner and a coffee table and end table and progress from there.)

- winoweenie - 08-24-2005

Think I woudst protest the extra loudly! 40 bucks per stepounds like a highway holdup of the 1st degree. Moving companies are known for their last minute tack-ons. WW

- dananne - 08-24-2005

We complained loudly to any and all concerned, but they wouldn't budge on the charges. So, we were left with the alternative being to refuse delivery, have 'em send it back to California, and contest the charges on the credit card. However, that would still leave us with a failing wine cellar that (as Hotwine correctly surmises) was tapped out for storage. In the end, it was just easier to swallow the charges. Didn't like doing it, though.

- hotwine - 08-25-2005

Dan, suggest you name the hauler involved. That would help us all to avoid them in the future.

- dananne - 08-26-2005

Well, everyone involved is passing responsibility and blame onto one (or more) of the other parties, but the cross-country shipping outfit was Bekins, the local delivery folks were Mid Atlantic, Vinotemp is the manufacturer, and the place from whom we made the purchase is Westside Wine Cellars. The latter is really on my bad side, as they were the ones who indicated no extra charges for "first floor delivery," and they also promised to phone us right back when we contacted them about this extra charge. Days later, still no call from them.

- winoweenie - 08-26-2005

Tjhey should be charged back on your credit card. Contest this with your card holder and put it in dispute and you'll be amazed how fast them dudes will issue a credit. WW