Most helpful critical review
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2011
I had very high hopes when I ordered this unit two months ago, of course at this price, who wouldn't. On arrival and set up I was very impressed by the packaging and apparent quality of the unit. It is, for the most part, attractive and well constructed. I followed the setup instructions and then, before using it, filled 3 750ml wine bottles with water to purge/clean and test the system. Given the ambient air temperature in my house (76 degrees Fahrenheit), I set the temperature of the coolers for 58. After 24 hours, the water had cooled to 56 (measured using a lab-calibrated non-contact IR thermometer), but the cooling unit continues to run all three fans at 100%. I'm not especially sensitive to noise but, I, my wife, my children, several friends all found the fan noise to be very distracting and unpleasant. I assumed there might be something wrong with my setup, so I contacted SkyBar customer support, here is their response:
"For optimum cooling, thermoelectric products like the SkyBar Wine System should be in an environment with a room temperature of less than 70 F (21 C). A higher room temperature will result in a slightly warmer internal chamber temperature."
Now, I don't know about you, but the idea of air conditioning my home to 70 F during the summer is ridiculous. Most utilities and HVAC manufacturers recommend a summer setting of 78 F. Cooling my home to 70 F would exponentially increase the cost of operating the SkyBar and make it completely impractical.
In addition to the fan and temperature problems, within a month, two of the clear plastic spouts have broken loose due to minor bumps from wine glasses.
To recap the problems:
1.) Excessive fan noise 24x7, even with wine temperature set to 58 F, makes it impractical to use in an open area of your home (e.g. bar or dining room).
2.) Will not cool to advertised 45 F except during winter or with home HVAC set to unrealistic temperatures.
3.) Concerns about long-term durability of some components (e.g. dispensing spouts).
4.) Concerns (not yet validated) about power consumption (i.e. operating costs) due to 24x7 operation of thermoelectic cooler even at moderate temperature settings.
I would not recommend this unit in its current form.