Product review: Artevino 2 Wine Cooler from EuroCave
Creating a perfect wine storage area involves a number of big decisions: if it’s a dedicated wine room is it going to be passive or climate controlled through a cooling unit? If you decide not to spend the resources to create a dedicated area, you might start looking at a wine fridge, which is what happened to me as I explored the best options to build a storage area in the basement of our home in the warmer Southern climate that I determined wouldn’t allow me to run a passive cellar as I had hoped.
A Tough Decision
Once I decided to go the cooler route, I researched almost every single one I could find online that had a 150+ bottle capacity. I eventually settled on the Artevino II by EuroCave, a 200 bottle storage fridge that was available through Costco.com for $2200. This is a good deal for this unit as it’s priced closer to $3000 everywhere else, but there are plenty of options between $1000-$2000 that offer similar capacity and features.
I went with this one strictly because of the EuroCave name who I trust. I believe that on some things, wine storage among them, it just doesn’t make sense to save a buck and opt for a lesser brand. I knew I was storing wine that would likely, if it wasn’t already, be worth much more than the purchase price of the fridge so it didn’t make sense to go for the cheapest option.
There are more expensive options too, but I felt this one was right for me. Plus it was available through Costco so shipping was free along with free “white glove” delivery, which turned out to be far from white glove. Let’s discuss that a bit more before we get into the unit review.
“White Glove Delivery”
The delivery driver, working alone by the way, did fine moving the unit off the truck and around the back of our house as it was being placed in the basement. We didn’t talk about it, but I knew not to tilt the unit past 45 degrees, and for the most part, he was able to keep it in that range. I read online that it is necessary to wait a couple of days before turning it on to let the grease from the compressor settle otherwise you could severely damage the unit. This wasn’t mentioned at all by the delivery driver. He asked me to plug it in to make sure it worked, which I was able to do without powering on the cooling components.
I also asked about the humidity control, which involves putting water in the bottom of the fridge, but he wasn’t familiar at all with how that worked, again something I had read online in the manual ahead of time.
Really, he just got it situated, and cleaned up the mess, which was fine but I was hoping for a better understanding of the unit and how it worked. Maybe my expectations were a little high.
Once it was in, I waited for 48 hours before running it. When I finally turned it on, it began to cool very slowly, but I put my already cellar temperature bottles from my old fridge in and that progressed the cool down, all the way to 55 degrees. Set up is a breeze on the head control unit. Just turn it on, pick your temp and that’s really about it.
I also followed the instructions in the manual and dumped a glass of water in the bottom pan of the fridge. This is all it said to do in the manual to activate the humidity component, but after a few days I noticed the humidity had risen only marginally. I purchased a $10 temp and humidity monitor to keep inside the unit to allow me to check out the temp in various places inside the unit as well as keep track of humidity.
The next day I put another glass of water in, which bumped up the humidity slightly. The following day I did it again, and finally reached about 50% which is pretty good. I waited a week, and watched as the humidity stayed around 50%, then dumped two more glasses of water in the bottom and now I’m sitting right around 65%.
The included temp readout up top is nice, and it’s different than other EuroCaves where I’ve seen the gauge hang down so bottles in the top row can hit it. This is not the case at all here. The top row has plenty of room, making it ideal for wider bottles like those from Chateauneuf-du-pape or Burgundy.
Temperature has been pretty consistent in the cellar which is about 40% full. I think if I had more bottles to retain the coolness when the door is open, that the temp would be even more stable. But as it stands now, it swings by 2-3 degrees in both directions. The temperature inside the unit is also different by 3-4 degrees, cooler towards the bottom which is to be expected. So I keep some old port and whites on the bottom.
But overall the temperature and humidity are pretty close to where I’d like them. I can’t complain. The gauge on the unit is also very accurate and in sync with my portable gauge, especially when I place the portable gauge on one of the middle racks in the unit.
The Artevino comes with seven slide out wooden shelves that allow the bottles to be lined up in the back and the front, provided they are standard Bordeaux style bottles. This arrangement allows for an ideal and optimal use of the space. Seemingly half of my bottles are odd shaped so a little creativity is needed. But it’s pretty easy to figure out how to arrange and stack them.
I purchased two extra wooden shelves, which decreases my overall capacity but allows me to not have to stack a bunch of bottles on the bottom two racks. I wasn’t looking forward to stacks of more than two or three high as it becomes a pain in the butt to get a bottle from the bottom row. I likely decreased my capacity by 20 or or bottles by adding the shelves, but if I need to, I can always remove them later. Removal is a piece of cake. They slide into rivets on the side of the fridge, and don’t require screws or tools to install or remove.
A key tip here for the new shelves: be sure to place the small rubber stick-on bumpers to the back of the shelves to prevent the shelves from touching the back wall of the fridge. Nowhere in the directions does it say what the bumpers are for, but if you feel the backs of the already installed shelves, you can find where the bumpers go. If bottles touch the moisture rich back wall, it can lead to discoloration of the labels and possible moisture damage to the wine. So those simple little bumpers go a long way.
The door is reversible which is nice but it does look a little weird with the two handles. Not my a big deal for me. The glass is also UV protected to eliminate the effect of light on the wine inside.
When the unit is cooling it is very quiet, sounding like one of those small dorm fridges that is a fraction of its size. There is also zero vibration. The overall quality of the build is very nice; high end components throughout with a solid feel.
I bought one of these inexpensive Belkin surge protectors to put between the wall outlet and the fridge. Hopefully that will save it from getting zapped by a power surge. Seems like a no brainer for the price.
This is a big one for many people, but not really something I was concerned about, but if you’re placing your fridge in a garage that gets really cold in the winter, you have to buy a fridge that also has warming capabilities, which the Artevino II does have. Not all wine coolers will have a warming feature so be sure to check if that matters to you.
The Bottom Line
I love this fridge and it’s exactly what I wanted/needed for my wine storage. I passed on trying to make the perfect dedicated wine room that would have cost three to four times as much and been a fairly complex construction project. This way, I’m up and running fast and easy. I can transport the fridge if I move. It comes with a two year warranty and because it’s from Costco that basically makes it a free extended warranty. And I can always sell it on Craigs List if I decide to build a full wine room later.
No real complaints yet. It would really just be nice to see better, more clear instructions and set up procedure, particularly with regards to how the humidity controls work. I’ll update this story if my perspective changes.
Do you have a wine fridge? Which model? What do you like or not like about it? Let us know in the comments below.