Guide to Choosing a Commercial Wine Fridge

How to choose a commercial wine fridge

Today we're going to look at how to choose a commercial wine fridge, what features you should look for depending on your business, the purchase costs vs the running costs, capacity questions, usability questions for staff and more.

What businesses benefit from a wine fridge?

In the world of commercial businesses, creating the right ambiance and providing top-notch service are critical factors that contribute to success. One often overlooked element in this equation is the proper storage and presentation of wines. For businesses that involve the service or sale of wine, investing in a wine fridge can be a game-changer. 

  1. Wine fridges for restaurants and fine dining establishments

One of the most obvious candidates for a wine fridge is a restaurant or fine dining establishment. The proper storage and serving of wine are crucial in enhancing the overall dining experience. A wine fridge ensures that wines are stored at their ideal temperature, preserving their flavour and bouquet. It also allows restaurants to showcase their wine selection, creating a visually appealing display that can attract wine enthusiasts.

Restaurants should consider what type of wine they serve and how many bottles they need to keep at the ideal temperature. Many restaurants and wine bars will need at least one large dual zone wine fridge and potentially several single zone wine fridges for the ideal service temperature of reds, whites and Champagne.

Most bars and restaurants simply have freestanding wine fridges around the bar/restaurant but many also keep wine storage cabinets for long term maturation of their very premium bottles.

Brands that are chosen by high end restaurants including Swisscave and EuroCave wine cabinets.

  1. Wine Bars, Vineyards and Tasting Rooms

For businesses that specialise in providing a variety of wines to their customers, such as wine bars and tasting rooms, a wine fridge is indispensable. These establishments often feature an extensive wine list, and having a dedicated space to store and display different wine options at the perfect temperature adds a touch of sophistication to the setting.

Wine bars and tasting rooms, like restaurants, need to serve their wine at the ideal temperature, perhaps even more than restaurants as the wine is the focal point of the business. Wine bars will serve a range of range from bold to light reds and whites of all varieties plus sparkling wines. Once again, a dual zone or several single zone wine fridges might be used.

  1. Hotels and Resorts

Luxury hotels and resorts that aim to offer a complete and upscale experience to their guests can benefit from installing wine fridges. Whether it's for room service, in-house bars, or specialty dining venues within the property, having a well-maintained wine collection enhances the overall ambiance and elevates the guest experience. Many hotel rooms and suites have their own undercounter wine fridges in the room now not only in their bars and restaurants. Dunavox are a great brand for hotel room fridges as they offer many small and well priced units that look premium for a fair price.

  1. Event Spaces and Catering Services

Businesses involved in event planning and catering, from wedding venues to corporate event spaces, can set themselves apart by investing in wine fridges. These fridges allow for the proper storage of wines, ensuring that they are served at the right temperature during events. This attention to detail can enhance the overall quality of the event and leave a lasting impression on clients and guests. These types of businesses are likely not to need long term maturation features or humidity controls like those who want to mature wine or serve them at the decimal point ideal temperature and likely functionality and looks are of equal importance. 

  1. Specialty Wine Retailers

For businesses that focus on selling wine, such as specialty wine shops and retailers, a wine fridge is essential. It not only ensures that the wines are stored correctly but also provides an attractive display that can entice customers. Additionally, a wine fridge allows retailers to offer a selection of chilled wines for immediate consumption, adding convenience for customers. Wine fridges in shops are off-trade, meaning the wine will not be drunk immediately. These types of shops will likely need one fridge for whites and Champagne as customers will potentially pop in and drink these wines quickly upon taking them home. However, for reds, it may be more important to have a maturation cabinet so the fine wines do not spoil, rather than a fridge that can serve reds at the idea temperature.

  1. Country Clubs and Private Members Clubs

Country clubs and private membership organizations that offer exclusive amenities to their members can enhance their offerings by incorporating wine fridges. Whether it's for the club's restaurant, bar, or private events, having a well-curated and properly stored wine selection contributes to the overall prestige and exclusivity of the establishment.

The inclusion of a wine fridge in certain commercial businesses can significantly contribute to their success. Whether it's a restaurant looking to enhance its dining experience, a wine bar aiming to impress its patrons, or a hotel seeking to provide a luxurious stay, the benefits of investing in a wine fridge are undeniable. By recognising the value of proper wine storage and presentation, businesses can elevate their brand and create a memorable experience for their customers and clients.

Many of our private club clients opt for wine walls, these are refrigerated storage solutions that look like art.

Wine Walls Restaurants

What factors should a business consider when buying a wine fridge?

  1. Size and Capacity:

    • Assess the available space in the business and choose a wine fridge that fits seamlessly into the layout.
    • Consider the volume of wine bottles the business typically handles to determine the appropriate capacity of the wine fridge.
  2. Temperature Zones:

    • If necessary opt for a wine fridge with multiple temperature zones, allowing different types of wines to be stored at their ideal serving temperatures.
    • Whites and sparkling wines generally require cooler temperatures than reds, and having separate zones ensures each wine type is stored correctly.
  3. Temperature Control and Stability:

    • Choose a wine fridge with precise temperature controls to maintain consistent and stable temperatures.
    • Temperature fluctuations can negatively impact the quality of the wine, so investing in a fridge with advanced temperature stability features is essential.
  4. Humidity Control:

    • Wine requires a certain level of humidity to prevent corks from drying out and wine oxidation. Look for a wine fridge with humidity control features.
    • Ideally, the humidity level should be between 50% and 80% to keep corks in good condition.
    • Those who wish to store wines over the longer term and do not have a high turnover of wines need humidity controls. If your average bottle spends no more than a few months in the fridge, you may not need to be controlling the humidity nor look for additional features like carbon filters.
  5. Vibration and Noise Levels:

    • Excessive vibration can disturb the sediment in wine and affect its aging process. Select a wine fridge with minimal vibration or one that incorporates vibration reduction technology.
    • Consider the noise level of the wine fridge, especially if it will be placed in a public area where customers may be engaged in conversation.
  6. UV Protection:

    • UV rays can be harmful to wine, causing it to age prematurely and develop off flavours. Ensure the wine fridge has UV-protected glass doors or doors with UV filters to shield the wine from sunlight.
    • Keep your wine fridges away from windows and direct sunlight in their placement, not only for UV light but also to help them not overheat.
  7. Display and Lighting:

    • Opt for a wine fridge with LED lighting that showcases the bottles without emitting heat.
    • Interior lighting should be strategically placed to highlight labels and make it easy for customers to browse the wine selection.
  8. Security Features:

    • Tasting rooms, bars and restaurants may want to consider wine fridges with lockable doors to prevent unauthorised access.
    • Security features add an extra layer of protection, especially in settings where valuable or rare wines are on display.
  9. Aesthetics and Design:

    • Consider the overall design and aesthetics of the wine fridge to ensure it complements the décor of the tasting room.
    • Some wine fridges come with customisable features, allowing businesses to showcase their brand or logo.
    • Consider also if you'd like to display some of the more prestigious bottles, do you need display shelves?
  10. Ease of Maintenance:

    • Choose a wine fridge that is easy to clean and maintain. Removable shelves and easy-to-access components simplify regular cleaning and upkeep. Commercial wine fridges are typically in spaces with high foot traffic, dust and debris will be coming into contact with your machines daily.
  11. Energy Efficiency:

    • Commercial wine fridges get a lot more use than home wine fridges with the doors opening and closing a lot. This means the wine fridge will be working overtime to keep the wines cool. When assessing which wine fridge to buy try to envisage the running costs as well as the initial outlay cost. Look for wine fridges with energy-efficient features to minimise operational costs and reduce the environmental impact. All our wine fridges come with energy labels, study these to find the best value for money.
  12. Shelving Systems:

    • Typically extra shelves in wine fridges can be costly, however, if you run a busy bar or restaurant the last thing you need is your sommeliers pulling out every rack looking for a bottle. If you choose a wine fridge with full stack shelving (a row for every bottle), then you'll cut down on the amount of time it takes your somm to find the bottle and keep your customers happy.

Need help choosing a commercial wine fridge?

We've provided commercial wine cabinets to private members clubs, English vineyards, Michelin star restaurants and wine bars all over the country, as well as having our wine bars in London! If you need help with commercial wine fridges then CoolerSomm is the #1 expert in the UK. Come to our showroom or chat to us live for help and advice for wine fridges in London and throughout the UK.


Sarah newton

Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.