How to Install a Wine Fridge
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How to Install a Wine Fridge? – Ultimate Guide

David J Sharp
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In this article, we’re going to be discussing how to easily install a wine refrigerator within your home or commercial environment, such as a bar or restaurant. 

We understand that this process can be overwhelming for many, but rest assured that we’ll be providing all of the information that you’ll need to install your wine fridge correctly.

Now, there are different types of wine fridge that you can buy, so we’ll be addressing how to install each type separately, in different paragraphs.

So, without further ado, let’s discuss the exact steps to take to install your wine cooler

How to Install A Built-In Wine Refrigerator

A built in wine cooler, also known as an under counter wine cooler, are simply units that have their vents located at the front of the chassis, usually located at the bottom.

This vent positioning means that they’re able to be installed within enclosed spaces, for as long as the front is not enclosed, without it reducing airflow to the system.

This is extremely important because airflow in and out of the wine fridge is an essential factor in it maintaining a proper cooling temperature.

Measure your wine fridge before choosing a position

Therefore, when it comes to installing the cooler, we recommend sizing up the space where you want to position your wine fridge. The best way to do this is with a tape measure, so that you know to the CM how much room you’re working with.

Incorrect measurements, or estimating the area’s size will ultimately be a risk, as your wine fridge may not fit in the allocated space. Additionally, even if it does fit, there may not be any space,  which can cause contact/vibration issues… For example, if the unit is being installed under a kitchen counter, and it happens to be physically touching the worktop, vibrations will be transferred to the wine cooler. This can subsequently cause your wine collection to age prematurely.

It’s also important to make sure that the position allocated for your wine cooler has access to an electrical outlet Otherwise, it’ll cause an inconvenience where extension cables may be required.

Reduce vibrations by levelling your wine fridge

Additionally, it’s useful to ensure that the ground where you’re positioning your wine refrigerator is level. If not, then you’ll want to choose a wine cooler that comes with levelling legs, which are essentially extendible legs. This will prevent vibrations during operation.

Use a cabinet overlay or trim.

You can conceal your wine refrigerator more effectively with an overlay. A cooler can easily be integrated to match your kitchen cabinets with custom panels and trim. To create a custom look for your built-in wine refrigerator, look up the colour of your cabinet and match it with a painted or stained panel.

Place your fridge in a cool environment

Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that your wine refrigerator is positioned in an environment which is conducive to helping it maintain a cool, chilled temperature range.

And whilst wine coolers generally have tempered glass and sometimes UV resistant glass, it’s highly advisable to make sure that you’re not positioning your wine fridge in direct sunlight.

The reason for this is that UV radiation (ultraviolet light) can cause the tannins in the wine to break down, over a long period of time. This ultimately changes the wine‘s taste, colour and diminishes the quality.

This is not something we want for our wine bottle collection, so plan in advance and choose somewhere that doesn’t have direct sunlight. This is commonly why a wine cellar is extremely popular for storing wines. However, for those who have large wine collections, a wine cellar cooling unit is a great option, alongside storing your wine on a wine rack (usually red wine).

How To Install A Freestanding Wine Cooler

Another popular kind of wine cooling system is the freestanding unit. In general, a freestanding wine cooler will have back or side-mounted ventilation, and therefore they cannot be placed in an enclosed environment, with no space for airflow. 

Know the difference between a built-in and freestanding wine fridge

This is the key difference between a built-in unit, which has front-facing ventilation. However, it should be noted, that a built-in wine cooler can be used in a freestanding position (i.e. out in the open), but as we mentioned, not vice versa.

Measure the designated space

Again, it’s vital that you’ve measured the area where your freestanding wine fridge should go, and include approximately 20-30cm of space at the back or on each side, depending on where the air vents are located. This will give you an accurate indication as to whether a particular wine cooler model will fit in the designated space. 

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we’re going to be addressing all of the questions relating to wine cooler installation that we’re frequently asked:

Can a wine refrigerator be put in a cabinet?

Absolutely, but it has to be a built in wine fridge. The reason for this is due to their front-facing ventilation. Freestanding wine coolers are not suitable, because wine cabinet‘s are usually very small, therefore a freestanding unit’s side or back located ventilation wouldn’t be sufficient for adequate airflow. 

Can a freestanding wine fridge be installed under the counter?

No, as we mentioned briefly above, freestanding units have back or side-facing ventilation, which means there wouldn’t be enough room for the unit to be installed, and still have a good level of air flow. 

Can you put a wine cooler on carpet?

It’s not recommended to position your wine fridge on a carpet. The reason being is that thick carpets can often cause unlevelled ground, which is not something you want when placing your wine cooler.

Wine fridges are more often positioned in a kitchen, wine cellar, bar or restaurant (commercial setting), which have solid floors. Therefore, this is something we advise too.

Do integrated wine coolers need ventilation?

Every single type of wine cooler requires ventilation. Without it, they would simply overheat. 

Is the process of installing a dual zone wine cooler different to a single zone wine cooler?

No, the process is exactly the same. Although both dual zone and single zone units can either be compressor or thermoelectric-powered, so check this and follow the above steps as outlined.


We hope that this article has been useful in guiding and helping answer your questions about installing a wine storage system. Feel free to leave a comment and get in touch if you’re looking to ask specific questions. We’ll then add those questions to the article’s FAQ section so we help others learn too.

David J Sharp is a wine equipment expert, having previously worked with some of the best wine cooler manufacturers within the USA. Today he works as a full-time wine cooler and wine cellar consultant for small and large clients alike. You can find out more about LoveCraftWines here.

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