If you know me, you know I love my wine. I have a wine rack that holds 96 bottles and it’s rarely full, mainly because it doesn’t stay in the rack long. We like to take wine along everywhere- to friend’s houses, woodsy picnics, camping, BYOB dinners, etc.- so when I hear about the Astro-X take-along wine cooler, I was very interested. The Astro-X wine cooler is a product currently in limited production, garnering funds for a full run via Pozible.
According to the website, the cooler can
…take a bottle of wine from warm to cool in just five minutes.
Now, given that I’m not a particularly patient person, that perked my ears right up. I couldn’t wait to try this out.
This cooler is a start-up via Pozible, crowdfunding in order to start a full-production run. According to the website, Astro-X is
a start-up company now with one person, one desk, one computer and one 3D printer. This start-up journey began in a sitting room with less than 15 square meters in space and a modest project fund.
It was developed in (and ships from) China. The cooler itself was early-bird priced at $17, but is $22 regular price. That’s actually not too bad for a cooler. The shipping price, however, is $25 (just for shipping) to anywhere outside of China. That makes it seem a bit price prohibitive, but comparable products run the gamut from $20 to about $80, so it just depends on what you are looking for.
The Astro-X is plastic, and the design sample (which is what we received) was produced on a 3D printer. Three colors are available for the initial run: Lemon Green (a very bright, pretty green), Black, and Lake Blue. The look and feel is relatively solid from the outside. You can pop the lid off for cleaning and the entire unit disassembles. The interior consists of separate plastic pieces held together with large rubber band-like pieces that reminded me of ponytail holders. Not sure how these will hold up in the long run, but the flexibility and expansion ability of the chilling chamber enables the user to put in some bottles that might be oddly shaped.
I followed the directions (slightly broken English but not terribly confusing) and put the cooler sample in the freezer for 12 hours. I then took it out and popped in a bottle of white wine and waited. I ticked off 5 minutes and took the bottle out, following the directions that said to shake (gently tip, really) to mix the chilled wine evenly. The exterior was barely cold, so I really didn’t have high expectations of this first try. I popped the cork and, as I thought, the wine was not chilled in the least. I put the bottle back in the cooler and waited another 15 minutes. The wine was much cooler- not cold and crisp as it should be, but definitely more chilled. At that point I decided to put the cooler back in the freezer, do the 5 hours chill recommended, and put in a different bottle.
At the 5 hour mark, I removed the cooler and popped my new bottle in. I again waited 5 minutes. The bottle was cool but not cold. Rather than open it, I immediately put it back in the cooler and waited for another 15 minutes. I then took it out, tilted it to distribute the chilled wine evenly in the bottle, and opened it. The second bottle was much more chilled than the first had been at that point- still not the temperature it should be, but drinkable. So I did. The bottle rested in the cooler compartment while I was having my wine. The cooler didn’t keep it chilled for the maximum of 5 hours stated, but it did a somewhat passable job for a couple of hours.
Now, the issue might have been my freezer. It chills at the coldest temperature setting on my Kenmore, but I don’t know if it is at the -18 degrees Celsius (-0.4 F) recommended by the maker. I do know that my ice cream is like a brick, so I’d say it’s pretty close.
Overall, it was ok. It didn’t bowl me over, but it also didn’t totally disappoint. It was certainly attractive and easy to use, and the concept of 3D printing really fascinated me. With some product improvements (I would have been doing leaps of joy had it chilled the wine in the five minutes that it said was possible) it could be a good seller. I think though, for the shipping and price point, there are other coolers that make much more sense to purchase at this time. If the price of this cooler could be kept around $15-20 with a much more reasonable shipping price for those of us in countries outside China, I’d say it’s worth a try…but wait until it’s available in the U.S. in case you need to return it.
To find out more about the Astro-X wine cooler, go to: http://www.pozible.com/project/187435