How to Install a Wine Cooler in an Existing Cabinet


For anyone looking to store wine at home, a dedicated wine cooler is the next best thing to a cellar without demanding too much space.

Why should you bother storing wine in a cooler rather than a fridge, though? This is one of the most common questions we are asked and it’s worth clearing up.

The Benefits of a Wine Cooler

While storing a bottle of wine in the kitchen refrigerator for a month or so is not disastrous, regular fridges don’t work well for long-term storage.

Here are 5 reasons you should store wine in a cooler instead:

  1. Optimum cooling temperature delivered: A regular kitchen fridge is too cold for storing wine at its best. Most fridges have temperatures well below 45F. You should store wine between 45F and 65F so you’ll have better luck with a dedicated cooler
  2. Cooling environment has correct humidity levels: Where fridges remove moisture, wine should be stored at roughly 70% humidity levels. You will not achieve this by popping the bottles in the kitchen fridge
  3. Ability to store red and white wines in dual-zone coolers: If you opt for a dual-zone cooler, you’ll get a pair of independent cooling zones. You can control the temperature in each zone separately. This allows you to store both red and white wine at their best
  4. You can store bottles sideways: Storing wine bottles horizontally keeps the liquid up against the cork and preserves it. You shouldn’t keep wine bottle vertical for long-term storage as they will be positioned in a fridge
  5. Protect your wine bottles from damaging UV rays: Think how many times each day the fridge is opened and closed. Each time you breach the cooling environment, you’ll subject your wine to potentially harmful UV rays. A sealed wine cooler won’t end up constantly opened in this way and you’ll keep your wine better for longer

So, you should now see that a wine cooler is an investment rather than an expense.

Now, if you’re interested in installing your cooler in a cabinet already in place, you need to make certain you buy the right type of cooler.

Freestanding Wine Coolers vs Built-In Wine Coolers

Wine coolers could be broadly cleaved into two types:

  • Freestanding
  • Built-in

As the name makes abundantly clear, you leave a freestanding wine cooler standing alone.

With a built-in unit – and this is the type you need – you can easily pop your new storage solution into an existing cabinet or cupboard.

This type of cooler has a front vent that repels surplus heat efficiently.

We cannot emphasize strongly enough that these two types of wine cooler are not interchangeable. If you try to place a freestanding cooler into a cabinet, the heat will be unable to escape from its enclosure. This overheating could spoil your wine while also damaging your cooler. Don’t take the chance. The other notable point is that installing the wrong type of wine cooler into a cabinet could cost you dearly. As well as the above issue, you’ll also invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.

If you’re stuck for inspiration, browse the best wine coolers right here. There’s no shortage of great wine coolers expressly designed to be configured in this way. Why risk it by using an inappropriate cooler?

How to Install a Wine Cooler in an Existing Cabinet

The most critical step comes before you even think about grabbing your tools and getting to work…

Installing a wine cooler in an existing cabinet calls for the right type of cooler that’s designed to be built in. A built-in model features grills at the front to deal with the warm air kicked out by the compressor. A thermoelectric cooler, by contrast, needs much more air circulating. As such, this type of cooler is not suitable for built-in use.

Once you’ve taken care of that and chosen the best wine cooler for your budget, it’s time to get down to business.

Now for the good news…

Installing a wine fridge into existing cabinetry couldn’t be much easier. It’s almost a case of slipping it into the available space so here’s what you need:

What You Need

  • Wine cooler
  • Manual with ventilation specs
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Scrap wood
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Saw

What To Do

  • Lay down some plastic sheeting to protect the floor
  • We’ll use a trash cabinet as our example as this is the most common location for installing a wine cooler in an existing cabinet. Cut out the base and the top of the cabinet. Remove the drawer glide at the bottom
  • At this stage, you can assess whether you need to alter any of the surrounding trim
  • Slide in your brand new wine cooler but do not plug it in
  • After 2 hours or so, plug in your cooler. This waiting period allows the coolant to settle so be patient
  • Manipulate temperature(s) to suit and load up your cooler with your wine collection


Well, hopefully you can see that you don’t need to be a pro carpenter and you don’t need to spend too much time installing a wine cooler in an existing cabinet.

Follow our simple pointers above, make certain you choose a model designed for built-in use, and you’ll have your wine chilling in no time. As with most DIY projects, your success or failure will depend largely on how well you plan installation. Take your time, choose a cooler manufactured for built-in use, assemble your tools, protect your flooring, and you’re all set!

Bookmark our site and pop back soon for more handy hints on all aspects of your favorite hobby. We have a bust content calendar for the coming month with more reviews of the best equipment and plenty of informational guides. See you soon!

Rate this post

Leave a Comment