Why does my wine cooler feel warm on the outside when it's cool on the inside?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Why does the outside of my wine cooler feel warm? The inside feels cool.

—Cindy, Fountain Hills, Az.

Dear Cindy,

It’s normal for the sides of a refrigerator or wine cooler to feel warm to the touch. The compressor generates heat as it runs, and that heat is disbursed through coils that are close to the outside surfaces.

It’s a good idea to make sure that the cooler has room around it to make sure any vents (usually on the back) on a freestanding cooler are clear by at least a few inches so it will not overheat. Choose a front-vented wine cooler if you’re installing it within cabinetry, and make sure you don’t block any vents with rugs or other items.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Storage

More In Dr. Vinny

What does it mean when a tasting note refers to the “midpalate”? How do you experience it?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how—and when—the midpalate is experienced.

Nov 23, 2020

Is my home wine cellar supposed to smell like wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains possible sources of a wine aroma in a bottle …

Nov 16, 2020

What do you call white wines that have a citrusy, fizzy sensation?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the difference between acidity and effervescence.

Nov 13, 2020

Should I be concerned about wine freezing in my car if it’s below freezing outside?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny answers questions about freezing wine.

Nov 11, 2020

Do you recommend any wine clubs? Are they good holiday gifts for wine lovers?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for choosing a wine club.

Nov 9, 2020

Could smoke taint in wine be removed by reverse osmosis?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how reverse osmosis is used as a tool for …

Nov 6, 2020