Review of VinoTemp VT-60 Wine Cellar (Long Post)
Nine days ago, I purchased a “scratch ‘n dent” 58-bottle VinoTemp wine cellar on Ebay for $275 delivered from a guy named Scott who works for a company in Austin, Texas, called Stuart Connections. The model number is VT-60, and the exterior is stainless steel. Apparently, they have 500 of these, so I thought I might share my preliminary thoughts about the purchasing experience here in case someone else is interested. I am not affiliated with the seller in any way and have been a woot member since February 2006.
A little background: previous to this purchase, I have been using a black 28-bottle thermo-electric Urbina UD 28i (which, like many of you, I purchased last February from Overstock.com for $87 delivered). I plan to continue to use this unit in addition to the VinoTemp. I also have a stainless-steel 9-bottle Cuisinart CWC-900 that I purchased a couple years ago, refurbished, if I remember correctly, from Amazon.com. The Cuisinart is too small to be useful to me at this point though its performance has been perfect so far. I guess that I plan to sell or give it away in the near future.
In terms of the “new to me” VinoTemp VT-60, I paid $275 for it, including shipping from Texas to my home in Connecticut. Prior to my “Buy it Now” on Ebay, I e-mailed Scott and asked him to make sure the unit he sent me included a key. In the item description, it said that some units came with a key and others didn’t, but I figured if he has 500 of them, certainly he can pick one for me that has the key. I also offered him $150 (plus $100 shipping) instead of the $199 “Buy it Now” price (plus $100 shipping) he listed. Go ahead and call me “cheap”!! Scott agreed in a follow-up e-mail that he’d accept $199 for the unit, plus only $76 for shipping, which was reflected in the Ebay invoice he sent me after the purchase. Total: $275 delivered.
A quick note about the key: when the unit arrived, the key was not included. I sent a polite e-mail to Scott and he immediate wrote back with an apology and tracking number for a follow-up USPS shipment with the key. Honest mistake, it seems, and good communication. I expect the key to arrive early next week.
After my purchase, I received an invoice and UPS tracking number. The unit was actually shipped the same day as I placed my order and took about 5 days to arrive here in Connecticut. No signature was required, so UPS was able to leave it in my driveway, near a side door, as per my instructions. The packing materials looked pretty good.
When I opened the packaging, I noticed that indeed I had received a “scratch ‘n dent” unit. I can provide some pictures if you want. While the inside of the unit appears new in every way (and it smelled okay), the outside has several scratches, a little bit of tape residue, and a small dent on top near the back of the unit. To tell you the truth, I don’t care. It will be kept in the basement, not in the main part of my home. Just to be clear, it doesn’t look terrible, but it’s certainly “used” in appearance. The front glass door has no scratches or damage. In sum, this unit is perfect for my purposes but would not look good enough as a kitchen build-in or something to be focused on in a wine room, for example.
The sticker on the back of the unit confirmed the model number and listed a manufacture date of 2004. The only paperwork included was a sheet of paper that said I should wait 24 hours after shipment to plug in the unit in order to allow the coolant to collect in the bottom. The total weight was 123 lbs., including the packaging, according to UPS. Yes, it’s heavy, but I used a dolly that I already owned to roll it around. The user manual is downloadable as a .pdf document from the Ebay seller’s site. I haven’t read it yet.
After relocating it from my driveway to the basement, I waited about 36 hours before plugging it in. Before doing so, I placed a thermometer (with humidity readout) inside; the temperature read 73 degrees. So, at that point, I plugged it in and placed the unit’s digital setting at 56 degrees. When I returned after 9 hours to check on the unit, it reported that the temperature inside was 58 degrees (with 48 percent humidity). Pretty good! This morning, I put about 25 bottles of wine in it, applied my wine.woot window decal to the front glass door, and stood back to pat myself on the back. Note that I left the “good stuff” in the Urbina because it’s been reliable so far and I have the temperature set exactly the way I like it right now.
This brings up an important point: before I purchased the used VinoTemp, I read some online reviews of it. Yes, they’ve been quite mixed. A few people said that their units stopped working after about 18 months, just after the original warranty ran out. Here’s the scary part: a couple people said that their units actually *froze* their entire wine collection, ruining everything. Well…after reading the reviews, I decided to take my chances. I mean, they sold thousands of these units at Costco, if I remember correctly. And if the unit ruined all my wine, I’d be upset and as vocal about it as I could. But I assume that these situations are fairly rare.
The unit, if new, would have cost me around $600 at Costco and up to $800 or so at other places, not including the very high shipping costs (Amazon.com has it for $734 shipped right now). I really needed the cellar space, so. I’m going to take my chances. But, at least at this point, I am not brave enough to put the “good stuff” in the VinoTemp, and won’t for several months (if ever). I plan to monitor it fairly closely, too. It has a digital readout and I’ve got the digital thermometer inside so that I can double-check what’s going on in there. The Ebay seller also said that he offers a 3-month parts guarantee; that is, if something goes wrong, he’ll mail me parts and instructions. Not much of a guarantee but better than nothing, I guess.
I just checked the Ebay site, and it appears that the seller still has 496 of these units left. I checked out his feedback before I bought it, and it was good. And if anything does go wrong from this point forward, I’ll make sure to post it here to let you know. If anyone has any specific questions about it, or my purchasing experience in general, let me know.