If you have collected enough wine to invest in a wine refrigerator, you may have a few key questions before you spend money. First, what is the best wine fridge for you? Second, where in your home should it be installed?

The best wine fridge will help your wine collection age gracefully. Wine is delicate by nature and requires a specific environment to ensure it does not spoil. Wine is light averse and requires a dark space. Wine should not be subject to unwanted movement as too much movement or vibration can loosen any sediment and will negatively affect the taste. The temperature should be kept cool (around 55◦F for long-term storage) and consistent. A space that is too warm or subject to temperature swings will essentially cook the wine. Too cool and it will freeze. While a wine cellar is certainly the ideal place for wine, it is out of budget for most people. A wine cooler is a worthy and cost-effective alternative.

The market for wine refrigerators is filled with a wide selection of different units of varying styles, sizes, shapes, and quality. You will soon learn that in addition to selecting between stainless and black trim, you will have to decide if you would like a unit with front or rear exhaust. What is the difference between the two and why does it matter?

What is a Built-In Wine Cooler?

A unit with front exhaust needs to expel warm air out the front. Built-in wine coolers have an exhaust that sits below the door, similar to what you see on your standard kitchen refrigerator. When a unit is front exhaust or designated as built-in, it can be recessed into existing cabinetry. This allows for a seamless application. Most built-in wine refrigerators require at least ¼ inch of clearance on all sides. Please consult your wine cooler’s owner’s manual for specific installation instructions.

What is a Freestanding Wine Refrigerator?

If the unit is marked as freestanding, it will exhaust at its rear. To prevent any unwanted build-up of hot air and to prevent the unit from malfunctioning, proper clearance guidelines must be followed. Generally, this means that you will need to allow for 6 inches of clearance at the back, 10-12 inches of clearances on each side, and nothing placed on top of the cooler. Freestanding units should never be recessed into cabinetry like a built-in wine fridge. Freestanding units are desirable because they are the easiest to install.

Where to Put a Freestanding Wine Fridge?

Here are some ideas of where to install your freestanding wine fridge.

• Kitchen: The kitchen is a perfect spot for a wine fridge because you will have it conveniently on hand to serve guests or yourself.
• Home Bar: Having your wine close to where you mix your cocktails allows for more options for entertaining.
• Basement: If you have a finished basement that is not subject to temperature fluctuations, it can be a great spot for a wine fridge as your wine is likely to sit undisturbed for longer.
• Dining Room: Storing your wine close to where it will be served is a great luxury.
• Garage: If the unit has a solid door and is noted by the manufacturer for outdoor or garage use, then a garage can double as a spot for your wine storage.
• Wine Cellar: Some serious wine collectors keep a wine refrigerator inside their wine cellar. This allows them to keep a small portion of their collection at serving temperature.

Freestanding wine coolers offer great convenience to their owners and can be installed nearly anywhere as long as proper clearance guidelines are followed. For specific installation instructions, please refer to your wine cooler’s owner’s manual. If you have any questions about freestanding or built-in wine fridges, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-777-8466 or email [email protected].