A great wine fridge, quiet, stylish, and great for cheese making.
I'm an enthusiastic amateur cheese maker, so it might seem odd that I bought the Liebherr WKB4612 "Barrique" wine fridge. Having owned the fridge for roughly three weeks, I'd like to talk about my impressions. Particularly from a cheese makers perspective.
Wine fridges make ideal "cheese cave" substitutes, maintaining humidity to stop wine corks from cracking, and having the adjustable temperature range for different types of wine. This adjustable range, combined with humidity maintenance, makes a wine fridge a wildly better alternative to a typical kitchen fridge for cheese making... or more specifically, cheese aging.
This WKB4612 is a single-zone wine fridge, so the entire fridge is kept a single temperature. There are other wine fridges which do two, or even three different zones at once.. but they're so expensive, I found that it's actually cheaper to buy separate single zone wine fridges.
Now, please note that when buying a wine fridge, all the brands that I've researched measure bottle capacity using "bordeau" bottles (which are only 3" wide) rather than many of the 3.2" wide bottles (with the same 750ml capacity) commonly found here in Australia. So unless you stick firmly to a "bordeau bottle only" policy, you'll be unable to reach that "ideal" maximum.
The WKB4612 is an allegedly 195 bottle fridge. I'd probably put it at closer to 150-160 for a mixed bunch of bottles. Your mileage may vary. However, it's a little over 1.8m high, so it's a particularly tall fridge. Check the dimensions on the Liebherr site to make sure it fits in your space before buying.
Now, I really love the glass door. It helps me to keep an eye on the cheeses as they age. Seeing the fridge contents reminds me to turn them daily, and deal with any visible problems along the way. You can turn the fridge light on without opening the door, so you can stare lovingly at your wine collection (or cheese as it ages to perfection) and read the labels without compromising the internal environment.
The beech wood shelves are also really stylish, and make any collection (wine or cheese) look really nice. The wood actually helps to damp down the vibrations of the fridge, which is allegedly good for storing wine long term. The shelves come with label holders so you can label each shelf with pertinent wine/cheese information as you see fit.
The door is lockable, so you can keep children, (or that untrustworthy relative) away from your precious wine/cheese. It also has an alarm to indicate that the door has been left open too long. Which if you're doing major stocking, or unloading... should probably be disabled.
The door is reversible, by default the hinge is on the right... but you switch it to the left (no political commentary here, please) without too much trouble.
Now I've read the other review for this fridge, and noise isn't an issue for me. Mine is actually more quiet than most of my other fridges/freezers. Since it's in my living room (the kitchen isn't big enough) it does not interfere with the audiophile stereo that I listen to on a daily basis. I can hear it, but since my place is an open plan house, the normal kitchen fridge is more of an issue.
A note about humidity levels for cheese makers:
Using my third-part humidity and temperature sensors, the internal humidity ranges from 50%-60%. If you are making cheeses which require a higher humidity, simply leave a bowl of water in the bottom, and change the water regularly.
All in all, I really love this fridge. Seeing the contents not only helps from a practical standpoint, but looks far better than my old setup. However, at $2500 when on sale, this is not a cheap fridge. You'd have to really like wine (or cheese) to make this worthwhile. For wine fans, you'd still need to store in excess of 100-150 bottles on a regular basis.. or make enough cheese to fill the fridge. That's a serious amount of cheese. Something akin to the cheese yields borne of nearly 1000L of milk. Of course.. that might be your excuse! <cue cheeky wink and grin here>.
Looks good, attractive display of wines.
We bought the LIEBHERR as the cheap STERLING wine fridge we bought from Aldi two years ago was not big enough. We paid just under $3000 for the LIEBHERR WKB4612 195 bottle capacity single zone wine fridge(although we don't expect to realistically get quite that many bottles in there). It looks great; sleek lines and a lovely LED light down the side when you open the glass door. The beech adjustable shelves are good quality. Our only complaint is that it is noisier than we expected. LIEBHERR were very quick to come out and check the excessive noise(Good customer service).They agreed it had a noisy rattle in it and replaced the fan and motor. It is definitely quieter since the service call but not as quiet as the one we saw in their showroom, and sadly not as quiet as our cheap STERLING wine fridge from Aldi(which is still going strong).
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