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…
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.
But 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.
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.