When NewAir products started popping up in conversations on cigar lovers’ sites, we had to find out what was up. What a surprise to discover our wine coolers are being used for an unforeseen purpose – cigar storage! It makes perfect sense when you think about it since, just like wine, cigars require a storage environment with controlled temperature and humidity. While you can buy a humidors specially designed for storing cigars, it can cost $1000 or more for one that holds a couple hundred cigars or more. Thermoelectric wine coolers, however, can provide all the same benefits, at a fraction of the cost.
Thus the “wineador” was born – the wine cooler converted for use as a humidor! When we set out to learn more about this trend, we discovered Forrest Price, proprietor of Wineadors.com. Forrest builds custom drawers and shelves for people who want to convert a wine cooler into a humidor. As an expert on the process, we asked him to fill us in about how it works.
First, tell us something about yourself – how long have you been a cigar lover? When did you start building drawers and shelves for wineadors?
Cigar smoker for about 6 years. Started in the drawer biz as a hobby about 3 years ago as a favor for a friend at General Cigars and it pretty much exploded from there with word of mouth communication.
Did you coin the word “Wineador” yourself? Or do you know who did?
No, I did not. There are a variety of different terms used: Winedors, winidor, winecooler humidor etc. For some reason I stuck with the WineAdor term, even though I suppose a proper clash of the two words would be Wine-Idor lol.
How should cigars be stored?
Depends on the cigar and the smoker’s preference but in the 60%-70% humidity range and 65-70 temp range. There is a general 70/70 rule, but as noted, some cigar smokers prefer to have their cigars stored at a lower RH% and some cigars just smoke better in the 60%-65% range.
Why does a thermoelectric wine cooler make a good alternative to a dedicated humidor? Are there any drawbacks?
Thermoelectric coolers work better for this than the compressor style. Compressor units really wreak havoc on the RH% in the cooler and the way the thermoelectrics cool, this is not an issue. Also, on a lot of the thermo units, the peltier coolers are simple to replace down the road if they should fail, extending the life of the cooler. This is just an extremely affordable way of getting a temperature controlled environment for storing cigars. [You can read about thermoelectric or peltier coolers here.]
What are the basic steps needed to prepare a wine cooler for cigar storage?
It can be as simple as plugging the drain hole (if there is one) and loading with cigars. Some new units have a strong plastic smell so it’s good to wash them out and then fill with crumpled newspaper for a week or so changing out the paper every few days to help rid the cooler of the plastic smell. You can use them as is with the wire racks and add your own containers or boxes, or go the Spanish cedar drawer & shelf route and customize it as much as you’d like to build your own unique Wineador.
What is the benefit of having Spanish cedar in a wineador?
Spanish Cedar (actually not a cedar but in the Mahogany family) has several benefits: Excellent RH absorption and stability characteristics, it is a deterrent to cigar beetles and imparts a very complimentary aroma to cigars.
How do you control and monitor the humidity inside the cooler, since NewAir coolers don’t have built-in humidity controls?
There are passive and active systems for humidity control. Most folks use a passive system of silica beads that have been preset to maintain the 65% or 70% humidity level. There are also active systems out there that run off electronic control and refillable water reservoirs. For the most part in these size units, a couple pounds of the humidity beads work great at controlling and need very little attention to maintain your desired RH range. Heartfelt Industries is one such company that offers the beads and is the brand I use in my personal Wineador. As far as monitoring, there are a number of places, cigar stores, online sales, Amazon and even Walmart where one can purchase a hygrometer to monitor the inside RH% of their cooler.
What advice do you have to offer to anyone looking to convert their own wine cooler into a humidor?
Basically look at how you keep your cigars. More boxes than singles? Gives you an idea on whether you need just shelves for box storage, or drawers for singles storage or a mix. Probably 90% of my sales are for 4 drawers and 2 shelves for a good mix of storage capabilities.
You feature the NewAir AW-180E and 181E on your site – roughly how many cigars will a unit that size hold?
You can put 5 drawers in that cooler; each drawer will hold approx 66 of a 5×50 cigar, so figure 330 singles, plus a little room under the bottom drawer for boxes.
According to Forrest, NewAir is one of the top brands cigar lovers are turning into humidors these days. If you’re ready to give it a try, then check out our collection of wine coolers and choose the one that meets your size requirements.Then head on over to Forrest’s website to choose some custom-made Spanish cedar shelves and drawers for a one-of-a-kind wineador of your own.
Or, for even faster satisfaction, check out the NewAir CC-280E cigar cooler which comes complete with handmade Spanish cedar drawers and shelves! This cooler looks great and holds up to 400 cigars in the climate controlled interior. If you’re ready to upgrade your cigar storage, then click through to learn more.