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If you live in Texas, you know it gets hot – sometimes very hot. And if you know anything about wine you know that heat and wine do not go together. Storing wine at the correct temperature and conditions, both for long- and short-term storage is essential to keeping your wine fresh and vibrant. It is especially essential for allowing some wines to properly mature in the bottle over time. Sustained exposure to temperatures over 70°F can quickly make wine lose its freshness and taste dull or stale. Temperatures over 80°F can seriously alter a wine’s physical and chemical stability and cause it to taste cooked – or in worst cases, compromise the integrity of the seal and allow oxidation thereby ruining the wine altogether.
Proper storage of wine should ideally include the following characteristics:
- No direct sunlight or bright artificial light
- Constant cool temperatures (50°F-60°F/10°C-15°C)
- Moderate humidity (65%-75%)
- Vibration-free environment
- Horizontal storage to keep corks in contact with the wine
For those of us not fortunate enough to own a climate-controlled underground or walk-in cellar, one or more wine coolers might be the perfect solution to keeping our wines fresh and ready to drink.
Now let’s be clear. A wine cooler is not the right solution for long-term storage and aging of that 1961 Chateau Margaux you’ve stashed away. For that you would be better off renting space in a proper wine storage facility. But for the rest of us, wine coolers are ideal for temporary storage of our favorite wines.
Enter the Aaobosi YC120-20.
The Aaobosi YC120-20 24” wine cooler is a dual zone compressor-type cooler that is designed to hold up to 18 bottles and 57 standard beverage cans. It has an attractive stainless steel and tinted glass face which would look good as either a stand-alone or built-in unit. Is it the right cooler for you? Let’s jump into the details.
Here are the cooler’s specifications according to the Aaobosi website:
- Holds 18 bottles and 57 cans
- Dimensions: 23.43″W x 22.64″D x 34.25″H
- Net Weight: 134 pounds
- 18 standard Bordeaux bottles and 57 cans
- Safety locks on both cabinet doors
- LED Light
- Quiet operation (<42 dB)
- Compressor type
- Built-in or freestanding
- Warranty Service – 1-month free trial and 1-year warranty through Amazon
Shipping & Packaging
Upon delivery, it was obvious that the package had suffered some not-too-gentle handling during shipping, but the unit arrived in good working condition with no detectable damage. The outer shipping carton consisted of one layer of cardboard with standard reinforcement straps. The cooler was enclosed in plastic wrap and was sitting on a thick layer of heavy cardboard and Styrofoam. It was protected on all six sides by one ply of 1-1/4” Styrofoam with heavy cardboard corner protectors. The doors were securely taped to prevent them from swinging open during shipping or unpacking. A pair of door handles and two security lock keys were packed inside the unit.
The only assembly required was to attach two door handles to the door frame. This was easily accomplished by lining the handles up with the pre-drilled holes in the door frame and attaching them using the Phillips head screws already in place under the rubber door seals on the inside of the door. The screws were easily accessed by pulling the rubber seal away far enough to reach the screw. A few quick turns to tighten and voila!
Overall fit and finish of the unit is good. The doors open and close easily, and by running my hand over the door seals, I could detect no cooling leakage. Adjustable feet under the unit make it easy to level. The back of the unit is closed with no service access door, although you can see the compressor and some tubing through a grill at the bottom of the unit. A small drip pan was also visible in the compressor compartment with a tube running from the compressor and another tube coming from inside the unit. I did notice a short plastic tube sitting in the pan that was not attached to anything, nor could I see what it should be attached to.
Controls are located behind the doors at the top of each zone. They include:
- Internal LED light on/off
- Temperature adjustment
- Temperature indicator LED
- Celsius / Fahrenheit toggle
- Power on/off
The temperature range on the left zone is 35.6° to 50°F. The temperature range on the right is 41.0° to 64.4°F.
All controls in either zone, with the exception of the temperature adjustment, affect both sides. For example, you cannot turn the internal LED on for one zone but not the other. The temperature indicator LED is fairly bright and not dimmable. At night it is bright enough to slightly illuminate a dark room.
Shelves on both zones have solid stops which prevent the shelves from being pulled out more than halfway. The stops are not adjustable, but shelves can be removed for cleaning by lifting them above the stops. The interior depth of each shelf is 17”, so each shelf can hold three bottles by staggering their orientation (e.g., two neck first, one punt first, or vice versa). The bottom shelf is a bit shallower owing to the compressor compartment so three standard bottles will only fit neck first.
Depending on which product description you read, the right zone can hold either 18 or 19 bottles. I was only able to fit 18 bottles. I suppose it might be possible to get one more bottle on the lower shelf if all four bottles were of the Flûte d’Alsace (slender pointed) type.
The compressor runs fairly quietly with a low click when it kicks in. Power consumption on the unit is rated at 75W according to the manual. I could find no indication that the unit is Energy Star compliant.
A security lock is located at the bottom of each door to keep children or uninvited guests from strolling through your beverage collection.
Performance of the cooler was quite good. Initial cool-down time was approximately thirty minutes to get each zone to the desired temperature. I ran the unit for 24 hours with no load and measured the temperatures on the center shelf at 1.5 to 2 degrees above the setting. I then loaded the right zone with 18 wine bottles and ran it for another 24 hours. The resulting temperature averaged 1 to 1.5 degrees above the setting and remained constant over an extended period. This, of course, varied slightly depending on which shelf the measurement was taken from. The top shelf averaged within .5 to 1 degree warmer than the lowest shelf as would be expected.
I am not a soda or beer drinker, so I had no cans available to test the left zone but measurements with no load matched the results described above.
Aaobosi YC120-20 would do a fine job keeping your favorite beverages cool and ready to drink. It is easy to assemble and would look good as either a free-standing or built-in unit. It would be a fine addition to anyone’s home. The cooler is available direct from the manufacturer or through Amazon. Be sure to watch for discounts or coupons on the Amazon website for great deals.
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