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Wine rack guidance

craigcarter | Posted in General Questions on

Situation: Client has a sub-zero fridge and freezer. The kitchen designer with the clients request designed wine storage above them. Surely a true wine connoisseur would not have done this design. Either way it is done.

The client has asked that we install above the appliance and between the wine rack insulation. This  brings me to my question good idea or bad idea?

If we  do install insulation then my question is what type would be best? My initial thought is a rigid foam insulation. If so,  what type? What are the negatives that can or will result from doing this?

Added facts: Older model sub-zero with bottom compressors. 501-R and 501-F

I’ve seen condensation build up around this home in several areas and specifically behind these two appliances. I think this is mostly due to the leak from the waterline for the ice maker.

Thanks for the guidance.

I have my appliance rep who is discussing this with Wolf.


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  1. user-2310254 | | #1

    Vinotemp makes a range of wine storage enclosures. Here is their statement on insulation:

    "The insulation used in building our wine cabinets is foil-covered polyisocyanurate foam with an R-Value of 7.2 – the best insulation on the market. Our wine cabinets have 1.5 inches of insulation, and the total R-Value of our cabinet walls is between an 11 and 12 R factor. All the seams are sealed to create an airtight environment inside our wine cabinets. For units that will be placed in the garage or basement, extra insulation is available. Remember to use the appropriate cooling unit if your cabinet will be placed in a non-interior environment."

    1. craigcarter | | #4

      Thank you.

  2. Expert Member
    ARMANDO COBO | | #2

    Designing a wine rack just bellow a ceiling is a not-so-good idea since warm air is pushed up by cold air, specially in a kitchen, which the delta T can be quite a bit. There is a reason most wine rooms are closed, away from kitchens, and some are temperature controlled. I would trade design the wine storage to a lower portion of the kitchen, if it needs to be there, and install light use storage above the refrigerator/freezer.

    1. craigcarter | | #5

      Thank you.

  3. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #3

    Typically wine storage is supposed to be cool temperatures and relatively high humidity. Above a fridge, you’re going to to have warm temps due to the heat from the fridge compressor. This isn’t a good place to store wine. Also, with the wine bottles up high there is a higher risk of breakage when accessing them.

    I’d put storage for seldom used kitchen items above the fridge. Put wine racks under a counter, somewhere low and near the floor.

    You want your wine rack to hold the bottles at a slight angle too so that the corks stay moist.


    1. craigcarter | | #6

      Not in disagreement with you. Thanks for the feedback.

  4. jberks | | #7

    Craig, you got some excellent advice so far.

    But as a wine snob, Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth.

    I see why they're doing this from a design perspective. It looks good. And they probably don't have anywhere down low to put it, and they probably don't drink wine all that much (just my guess, I like my wine readily accessible).

    Approach 1 is they don't care about the wine. Ask if they're going to just use dummy bottles in there. Slightly slope the racks back a bit so no bottle dropping accidents occur, simplify the insulation between the fridge and racks. (My guess is it won't do much for tempering the wine, hot air from undermount compressors would still rise up the front face of the fridges, and any cooking or sun loads will rise etc) hopefully they just drink the wine as it comes and not put any up there. Lol

    Approach 2, they really care about the wine. Where you should suggest higher insulation, an air tight and temp and humidity controlled enclosure (ie sealed glass doors) slope the racks slightly forward so the inside face of the cork stays wet (is submerged in wine). As discussed Rigid insulation is the easiest in this case.

  5. user-5574861 | | #8


    From a wine perspective - this is not the place to store wine, unless it is cheap wine and they plan on drinking it within 6 months. Any good designer should know that, but this may be client driven.

    From a design perspective - I don't like this for a few reasons.

    1) It lacks symmetry (I like symmetry). The combo fridge/freezer is off to the left so you have one unit in line with a cabinet door upper and a bin and the other unit is in line with two bins.
    2) The fridge/freezer appears to be paneled which provides a clean look. However, wine bins are not clean looking, especially when they have different colored capsules, necks and bottle shapes and colors.
    3) To add or remove a bottle they are going to have to stand on a stool. Who wants to do that? And the more bottles they remove in a night, the more dangerous its gets :)

    If they must have that fridge/freezer combo below and the pantry on the side, then I would scrap the bins, and have 5 uppers with doors. I don't like counter depth fridges because they have about 1/3 the storage space of full depth fridges, which may be why they need 2 units. In my current build, I am using a full depth fridge, but I recessed the wall behind so I can have the appearance of a cabinet depth fridge. Maybe this an option for the client?

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