Wine Fridge Ventilation, Gaps and Apertures
When looking for a wine fridge the first question to ask is what size wine fridge do you need and what size is the space you have available for your new wine fridge?
Wine fridges can be found all around the home but are primarily housed in the kitchen either under-counter or integrated into a kitchen design. In the case of an under-counter or built-in wine fridge the height is traditionally the height of a counter-top with most wine fridges coming with adjustable feet with the ability to raise the wine fridge from 82cm up to around 88cm. These wine fridges come in a range of widths from narrow units of just 15cm wide, all the way to standard fridge sizes of 59.5cm and a traditional depth of around 59.5cm also so they fit flush against the back wall and fit nicely into a kitchen setting.
However, there are also integrated wine fridges for the kitchen, these come with their own doors and some can have the style of door already in your kitchen attached to them. These are usually placed up off the floor and look like traditional integrated microwaves, ovens or double ovens and come in height sizes of 455mm (microwave height), 595mm (oven height), 885mm, 1234mm (double oven) or 1786mm (full height). The integrated ranges are almost always 595mm wide and 540-560mm deep to allow for ventilation at the back whilst some integrated options are self ventilating.
Freestanding wine fridges are typically 595mm wide, 595-725mm deep and range in height from 50cm tall to over 200mm. However, with freestanding units you also need to take into account the fact that they need 5-10cm of space all around their circumference to vent and 30cm above too.
All these specific sizes, apertures and ventilation requirements can make understanding the space you have for a wine fridge quite complicated.
To add to the confusion some wine fridges can be used as built-in unit or a freestanding unit (like the Swisscave wine fridges) whilst some can only be used freestanding due to venting from all around their circumference. This guide will look at each wine fridge type and the likely dimensions you will need including ventilation when purchasing a wine fridge.
Freestanding Wine Fridges
Freestanding wine fridges can be placed anywhere around in home, kitchen, living room, garage, cellar, restaurant, bar or any internal location as long as there is sufficient space around the sides of the wine fridge for it vent (5-10cm).
Whatever gap you have for your wine fridge you need to account for at least 10cm gap extra (5cm each side) the same behind and 30cm above. So if you have a gap of just 60cm wide, you'd need to purchase a wine fridge that was 50cm wide or smaller for instance.
Shallow depth and narrow wine fridges
Luckily freestanding wine fridges come in both narrow and shallow depth wine fridge options so even if the space is restrictive, you should still be able to find a wine fridge that fits. Most wine fridges are at least 50cm deep. This may seem strange as a bottle of wine is only 30cm tall, however, when you account for the door, compressor and internal technology of the wine fridge it's simply impossible to design a wine fridge that shallow. The only options shallower than this are wine walls, where the bottles are stored on their side.
Built-in Wine Fridges
The good news about built-in units is that they vent from a panel at the bottom front of the unit, as long as that is not left obstructed then they can be placed undercounter and no extra space needs to be left around the wine fridge for ventilation, although we do recommend not placing the wine fridge entirely flush with the back wall and leaving 1.5cm at the back.
Built in wine fridges have adjustable feet allowing you to adapt them to the height of your countertop and fit neatly in with your kitchen design.
Many of the units have integrated handles so they blend in well too and so no additional room needs to be left for depth due to the handle, although some don't so this is something to take into consideration too.
Some built-in units have special hinges to allow them to sit flush against your kitchen cupboards but most do have an overhang when the door opens so you may need to factor anywhere from 0.5-2cm into the width calculation when buying a built in model.
Integrated Wine Fridges
Integrated wine fridges can be self ventilating, vent from the front or vent from the back and when choosing a unit you'll need to pay close attention to the installation diagrams not only to make sure the unit fits within your aperture, but also to ensure you've considered the space you will need for adequate ventilation.
Integrated units sit off the floor, some allow a door to be attached that matches the rest of your kitchen whilst all come with UV protected glass doors.
Integrated wine fridges have a typical depth of 54-56cm as they require some ventilation behind and come in five heights of of 455mm (microwave height), 595mm (oven height), 885mm, 1234mm (double oven) or 1786mm (full height). They are almost always 595mm wide.
Wine cabinets can be placed in the kitchen, however, these large units are most frequently located in spare rooms, garages, conservatories, utility rooms and cellars as they are large, freestanding wine fridges that are typically used for storing 100 bottles of wine or more and either dual zone wine fridges where large amounts of wine are stored for wine service or single zone, maturation fridges where collectors cellar their wine for decades.
These units will need that 10cm of extra space to the left and right and behind plus 30cm above for clear ventilation.
Wine cabinets are made to echo the traditional storage conditions so may have solid doors for complete darkness. As they are large items often kept outside of the home they often come with winter systems too.
Wine Fridge Dimensions FAQs
I have over 100 bottles, what type of wine fridge do I need?
Those with over 100 bottles of wine to store tend to go for freestanding units as no undercounter and very few integrated units can take that amount of bottles. You could potentially go for a full size, built in option too.
Can I place two freestanding units together?
Freestanding units do need space to vent either side, in the case of wanting to stand two units together outside of a kitchen setting, go for the dual freestanding/built-in classification. Dunavox and Swisscave wine fridges are popular for this option where the door can be reversed and the wine fridges open from the middle outwards.
Does the dimensions of the wine fridge include the handle?
No, you'll need to factor the depth of the handle into your calculations. For undercounter units, a handle-less or push to open or integrated handle option is often the best solution.
Does the dimensions of the wine fridge include the door overhang?
No, you'll need to check what the overhang is when opening the door and how it may impact the width required. Some manufacturers operate special hinges to avoid any overhang and some don't and you'll be required to account for this in your own calculations.
Can a wine fridge go upstairs?
If the fridge fits up the stairs then it can go up the stairs, however, you'll need to take into account the dimensions through which your wine fridge needs to go through to reach its required position in your home, not only the final destination. Be sure to measure gaps through doors and the height, depths and width gaps of your stairs before ordering your new wine fridge.
What would happen if I put a freestanding wine fridge undercounter?
The wine fridge wouldn't be able to vent, would get hot and the unit would work so hard to cool that it would eventually break, usually within a few weeks.
Can I close the door on a freestanding wine fridge in a cupboard?
If the unit has adequate space around and above it could be placed in a cupboard like space, but if you then close the door on it you'll be creating a little oven for the wine fridge which will then overheat and break.
What happens if I buy a wine fridge and it doesn't fit?
If you still have the packaging and have realised very quickly the unit doesn't fit then it could be returned for a return and restocking fee if you still have the box. However, if you've lost or recycled the box and/or the unit has been in use for any time it can't be returned, this is why it's essential to measure the space very carefully for your new wine fridge.
How long is the power cable, do I need to consider the plug depth?
If the plug is directly behind the wine fridge, then yes, you'll need to consider the depth of the flex and the plug on the wine fridge, if however the plug is off to the side then it would be less of a factor. Power cables range from 1m-2m. Consider too if the unit comes with a UK plug or an EU plug plus adaptor.