Wine cooler review: NewAir AWC-330E fridge

Wine soldiers lining up at the NewAir

Wine soldiers lining up to get cool

The email request arrived like manna from wine heaven — three days post mortem of my 70+ bottle wine fridge (a story for another time):

I’d like to discuss the possibility of sending one of our products for you to review… the NewAir AWC-330E 33 bottle compressor wine cooler,” the nice lady wrote to inquire.

She asked that I share “my actual experience with the product… both pros and cons honestly.”

Whoa… I must’ve been sending out some seriously good mojo juju to have my cooler quandary solved this quickly. Alas, three days later as promised, I welcomed into my home the shiny NewAir. And, whether she knew it or not, she certainly came to the right place for honesty since — as my best friends know — I don’t hold nuthin’ back.

And so it begins…

Size Matters

The 28-33 bottle capacity is a good wine cooler size for most people. And I imagine plenty of research has been conducted to establish the ideal number of bottles per 2-adult household. It can fit in most apartments easily, on top of a shelf  in a garage, or in the corner of a kitchen. It’s fairly tiny for a wine guzzling family like ours but I know we’re the cultural outliers. The 33 bottle capacity is fine for 99% of average wine drinkers.

Full wine fridgeBut the problem that I immediately uncovered was the inability to fit any odd-sized bottles in this cooler — forget fat Rhone-style or pudgy Pinot Noir bottles. Two shelves which are supposed to handle five bottles only yielded four spots (see picture) and I ended up filling out another two shelves with 375-ml skinny dessert wine bottles.  Often jamming the bottles into the fridge, I worried about ripping off the labels as they scrapped across the racks. Sparkling wine/Champagne and rather rotund bottle  fit fine in the four (or five with stacking) spots on the bottom, but I simply needed more headroom. The lack of space between shelves was, and remains, my biggest gripe about the NewAir AWC 330E. They would do better to make a taller version to accommodate a variety of bottle sizes. That said, if you’re a Cabernet fan (more slender bottles), this could work. Or, if you don’t have many bottles, the shelves are removable.

Chillin’ Like Magellan

The new arrival in my home has maintained a constant temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit ever since about 30 minutes after I turned it on. So it’s a trooper (I’ve had it over two months now). Read my piece on the Ins and Outs of Wine Storage

The Gurgles in the Night

Although some nighttime sounds can be relaxing — crickets, owls, rain  — the unfamiliar sounds emanating from a wine fridge can be disconcerting. Think hungry stomach gurgling, air conditioning compressor water flowing. Since it’s sitting in my living room, NewAir added mystery to some movies we watched at interesting moments. This wine fridge is not really louder than most other wine fridges but, before you buy any of these modern miracles of humidity and temperature control, think about where you will place it.

The Verdict

Would I personally buy another one? Since it’s unlikely I’ll cease purchasing fatter bottle wines, only if there’s a NewAir with more room in-between the shelves. But it is solidly built and has maintained the desired temperature since I’ve had it.

Interested in buying a NewAir wine fridge like this one? The 28 bottle version is available on Amazon for around $250.

Check out all of NewAir’s products on their website.

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5 comments to Wine cooler review: NewAir AWC-330E fridge

  • Alex Schaefer

    Hi, Taylor:
    Just want to note that the 28-bottle version on your link uses thermoelectric cooling technology. The 33-bottle version you are testing uses a compressor, as you noted. I’m no expert, but thermoelectric cooling uses something called the Peltier effect where electricity between different materials at a junction act can add or remove heat (like a heat pump). It’s quieter but not as efficient as a compressor, and in my experience, not as reliable. Now, my experience consists solely of using a 6-bottle countertop model 10 years ago that never cooled properly, and gave up the ghost within a year. I’m sure they have improved since then, but I still lean towards a cooling unit with a compressor.

  • Taylor Eason

    Wow! Thanks for pointing this out. Much appreciated.

  • Amerilis Ersery

    Hi Taylor! Long time, no chat! I was JUST giving a friend some Healdsburg winery recommendations (yep, J and Foppiano are on the list, as well as Limerick), and I also talked up your blog. Yay!

    So, I came over to peruse a bit and noticed THIS topic. And, what do you know….I also have a NewAir wine fridge. She’s been going strong for about 2 years now, which is VERY good for a consumer-brand fridge. Mine is smaller…18-bottle…but will soon be joined by another 18-bottle fridge. Currently, it is located in my second bedroom, which serves as a reading room of sorts, and the door is closed most of the time. However, when I’m in there, I can hear the motor, but ever-so-slightly as it is a thermoelectric model. The compressor models run on the same operation as a food refrigerator, and you know how noisy they can be sometimes. 🙁

    Regarding space issues….yep, same here. I drink many different styles of wine so, like you, will have different sized bottles. What I’ve done to avoid label ripping is to place the bottle on the shelf with the gap between the front and back labels facing up. That way, the bottles that are in tight won’t have their labels ripped. It scraps the glass a little but that’s ok for now….at least until I can afford the more expensive and better wine fridge. So, far so good….

  • Taylor Eason

    Amerilis – Thanks for the reco and your insights on this wine fridge. VERY helpful and it says a lot that you’ll be buying another one.
    Give a holla next time you’re in the Sonoma County.

  • Nice wine cooler review. As a wine lover, I think a wine cooler is an essential for every wine lover like me. A small wine cooler will provide you a cool wine when you need a glass of wine. http://undercounterwinefridge.com/top-11-small-wine-cooler-reviews-2016 for some amazing small wine cooler.

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