OK, cooler review time.
The short version:
I bought the N'finity 170-bottle two-zone cooler exclusive to Wine Enthusiast. Price at the time was $1799 delivered ("white glove"). Price is now $1899 delivered.
First unit did not work, a second one was sent. Second one works great, see notes below.
The longer version:
I ordered the above cooler on 10/12/09, it was shipped on 11/20/09. A few days shipping, Thanksgiving, a little over a day before plug-in and by 12/02/09 it was determined the first unit had to be returned and another was ordered.
This first unit could not hold temperature – and I mean with swings of 15 degrees north and south over several days. Obviously something was wrong, and I never stored wine in it (until after it was unplugged), so no real harm done.
So after several days I unplugged the unit, and knowing any new unit would take awhile to arrive, I stored some wine in it (door open). It was at this point that some of the "sales claims" became suspect. While there is a "tad" more space between shelves than similar coolers, there is not enough room to comfortably store PN bottles. At best they have to be arranged so that no label area faces the shelf above, since they scrape the shelf above when coming and going. I have several PN bottles that will not fit in the "normal" shelf-to-shelf space in this unit. There is one shelf below the temp gauges that has plenty of room, and I also removed two shelves and stored bottles on bottles. Also, any semi-tall bottle (any girth) has trouble playing well with others of similar ilk on a given shelf.
The only bottles that fit cleanly, smoothly and per the literature are cabs. Most zin bottles, while not wide, are tall, so they have issues as well.
The end result is that jam-packed I can fit around 140 bottles in this unit (approximately one-third of my inventory is PN). That leaves about 40 bottles to fit in the "52-bottle" Magic Chef (about $160 DELIVERED from Home Depot just before Christmas, wish I had gotten at least two of these) and then another 200 or so bottles in the Adams storage racks. Ambient temp in my finished basement is 64 to 74 depending on time of year.
Back to the unit itself. Just before Thanksgiving I emailed WE customer service (which promises 48 hr email response turnaround). I did not expect customer service to respond promptly with the looming holiday.
Having heard nothing via email, on 12/2/09 I called WE customer service. They were quite good to deal with, and we quickly determined I needed a replacement unit. Customer service placed the order for me and mentioned there was a backlog for new units, and that I needed to return the old unit in the packaging (which of course was long gone).
My new unit shipped 12/28/09. I made sure the shipping company knew they had to save the packing materials and ship back the old unit.
I let the new unit sit and leveled it within a hair, hoping nothing would go wrong with this unit. After a little more than a day, I plugged it in and crossed my fingers.
The temps started falling to the desired point within an hour or so. Initial fluctuation of about 3 degrees here or there. After about 4-5 days the temps settled down and now only fluctuate a degree or two here and there. So I am happy with the cooling unit. This is in a finished basement so I have no concern over noise, but on the whole this unit is extremely quiet.
So, I now have my 140 or so bottles in this unit and things are going just fine. I would recommend the unit and WE to a friend, yes. Considering the possibilities, things went marvelous with the shipping/delivery companies. I will consider getting a "double-wide" unit to add to this one if and when they go on super-sale.
Any other questions, fire away.