More than 70% of the wine bottled this afternoon is ready to drink this evening. Wines that are collectible, require aging or will be held for more than a years or so, have already been handled like so much airline baggage from the winery. Warehousing, loading/unloading by Teamsters, over-the-road transport, sitting on shelves of liquor stores and restaurants for months ... all prove the durability of wine.
Wine is not nearly so fragile as marketeers have convinced the public. Exaggerated claims of the need or ability to micro-manage Mother Nature are simply, "junk science".
There is certainly a case to be made for the technology and equipment available. There are a number of reputable companies and products. There is also a significant amount of techno-babble that over-states, over-complicates such a need. Relax, enjoy the hobby. Life is short.
The industry is more than 30 years old, yet operates under the radar of any trade or public regulatory agencies. There are no established standards, requirements or penalties regarding consumer safety, truh-in-advertising or technological performance.
There have been numerous attempts over the years, most notably through founders of The American Wine Storage Association (Le Cache, Vinotheque, Wine Cellar Innovations, to name a few).
At this point, however, reputable manufacturers, retailers and brokers can only share equal exposure with the ridiculous claims of anyone who publishes a fancy web site.
It is the commitment, role and mission of Oencyclopedia to educate consumers in the distinctions.
"I read it on the Internet, so it must be true". Well, actually, not so much .... Advertising claims are blatantly untrue, totally meaningless, in too many cases. There are no manufacturers whose cabinetry provides an "R" (resistance) value higher than 3 - 5 as a standard, 5- 7 if "upgraded" with bubble-wrap (really). One outfit even advertises R12, but the engineers @ Dow Chemical, Monsanto and elsewhere insist that such is simply impossible. While the R5 - R7 range is adequate, industry entities can pretty much say whatever they want.
The same holds true for BTU ratings, bottle capacities and materials. Many companies feel the need to confuse consumers by using "model numbers" that imply higher capabilities. Technically, an 1/8-inch oak veneer is fabricated from "hardwood", but any professional artisan will make a distinction. Under laboratory conditions, with a constant and controlled ambient, a "1500" model will still only provide substantially lower BTU's. "440" cabinets will hold as few as 280 bottles of wine. As well, sound levels, vibration, recovery times are all moot issues created by advertising copywriters.
The creation of a proper wine storage environment does require specialized construction materials, techniques and mechanical systems. Barely half of what is being sold or built meets the criteria.
A $200 Avanti and a $10,000 Sub Zero do the same things, in the same ways. Neither are "wine cellars", nor do they provide effective environments for long term wine storage.
Among those products that are designed to address the technical elements, the fundamentals are the same, brand-to-brand, no matter what the price. Obviously, there can be distinctions in esthetics, serviceability, reliability. But the principles are all the same.
As often as not, electronic gizmos and "state-of-art" technology prove to be unnecessary, futile, even counterproductive threats to wine collections and checkbooks.
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