I’ve had a handful of wine refrigerators over the years and their has varied greatly. Some have been attractive but surprisingly loud. One of them had a hard time maintaining the temperature it was set to. That same one just died a few years into its life.
I’m not an expert on wine fridges, but I know what I like and I know what works for me and my wine storage needs. So, when NewAir approached me about reviewing a new 29-bottle wine fridge, I thought it would be an interesting exercise as this isn’t the sort of post I typically write.
I as right. I really enjoyed putting this unit through its paces.
My short-form review would be this: “It’s not perfect, but this is a well-made, attractive wine fridge that does its job – cooling wine properly – well.”
If that’s enough for you to want one, readers of The Cork Report can get 20% off their purchase using offer code CORKREPORT.
If you’d like to know more – and I hope you would – I’m happy to provide that as well.
I’ve had the unit for a couple of months now and I’ve used it for a variety of wine styles – sparkling, white, rose, red, sweet – and for both incoming wine samples and my own wines. I’ve unplugged it to record a podcast (it’s quiet, but my microphone was still picking it up as background noise) and it’s been through a power outage, which I’ll get to again later in this review.
These are my impressions – the good and the bad.
NewAir 15” Built-in 29 Bottle Dual Zone Compressor Wine Fridge
Appearance & Capacity
It’s an attractive unit. The stainless steel door frame and handle look good and are easy to clean. It’s listed as “built-in” but I’ve been using it in my home office as a free-standing unit and it doesn’t look out of place.
It’s billed as a 29-bottle unit, but I think that’s generous. I was able to get 23 750ml bottles into it by matching up various bottle sizes to the different-size racks, but it was like putting a puzzle together. It fits 15 bottles – three per rack – with ease and depending on bottle shape, you can sometimes get another bottle or two in between those but inverted.
As you can see below, it certainly looks like you can add another bottle or two to the bottom shelf, but it’s not as deep at the others – so inverted bottles don’t really fit – and stacking them in a mini-pyramid isn’t very stable.
For day-to-day use, I don’t want to shuffle wines around with that much or be limited in what shapes I can put in it, so for me, it’s a 15-bottle rack with some extra space, depending.
The two-stage blue LED lighting is a nice feature, though having two brightness settings isn’t important to me. On and off would be fine.
The wooden racks that hold the wine are lightweight but solid and both look and operate better than wire-rack fridges I’ve had in the past. But, I think some of the wasted vertical space for the bottom rack would be better used distributed throughout the unit.
To put wines into any of the upper racks, you need to pull the rack out. Even narrow hock-style bottles (think riesling) can’t be slid in otherwise as you can see here.
Similarly, wider Champagne-style bottles only fit on the top shelf.
The racks do have a stop on them so they don’t come flying out when you pull on them, another nice feature that my previous wine fridges didn’t have.
I’ll talk more about the two cooling zones below, but as I already mentioned, the very bottom rack isn’t very deep, so taller Bordeaux-style bottles won’t fit, even though the bottom zone is meant for red wines.
At the end of the day, I’m a function-over-form person. I can forgive many tight fits or capacity limitations if a wine fridge does its job of cooling the wines to the temperature I specify.
The NewAir 15” Built-in 29 Bottle Dual Zone Compressor Wine Fridge does that well. It has two zones – the top two racks intended for sparkling, white and rose wines (though again Champagne-style bottles only fit on the top rack). That zone can be set as low as 40°F, while the larger section, meant for reds, only goes down to 50°F.
I used an infrared thermometer to check the temperature at various times and at various settings and it was always within a degree or two of set temperature – and was very stable over time.
We lost power for a few minutes a few weeks ago and when it came back, the top zone wouldn’t return to the 40°F I had it set to – after several hours. I unplugged the unit and then plugged it back in and it was fine.
I’d like to be able to chill the entire thing down to 40°F to fill it exclusively with whites and sparkling wines, but that’s not the intent here so that’s not really a knock against the fridge.
Like I said before, it’s not perfect but it is very good at its primary job – chilling wine to the desired temperature. The capacity limitations based on bottle shape and size are a minor annoyance, but I can certainly understand the challenge of designing a unit that works for a variety of bottle shapes. Ultimately it’s not perfect for any of them.
It is a unit best suited for a kitchen or a dining room, where you want to have a small, curated number of bottles ready to serve at all times. It’s not big enough to be as useful in a cellar setting.
It’s a well-made, quiet wine fridge that works both as a standalone unit and as a built-in one.
The model I reviewed (NWC029SS01) has a recessed kickplate and retails for $699.95, but if you’re reading this review, you can get that 20% discount using the code CORKREPORT.
This wine fridge was a free sample for evaluation purposes. The Cork Report receives no cash benefit from the discount NewAir is offering to readers of this review.