Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: January 4, 2024

How to Install an Under Counter Wine Fridge [Simple Guide]

How to Install an Under Counter Wine Fridge

Adding an under counter wine cooler to your kitchen needn't be a time consuming nor complicated procedure, should you do your homework thoroughly beforehand.

In this guide, I'll explain what considerations need to be taken to get your wine cooler fitting snuggly into your under counter cabinet space.

I'll also explain the steps you need to perform to actually install it.

First Steps: Scoping the Installation Site

Before even looking at buying a wine fridge you need to take some important measurements. Some of these are often overlooked and cause real (expensive) problems further down the line.

The preliminary investigation of the installation site is crucial. These are the key measurements you need to take:

  • Width, height, and depth of the designated installation space. 
  • Distance to a power source. Extension cords are a big no for appliances like wine fridges.
  • Ensure there is adequate space for a door to swing open. A fully opened door will extend the length of the wine fridge by the width (L+W). You will also need a slight gap at either side to allow the door to open and close freely (unless the wine fridge has flush mount door hinges).

Important Notes on Installing Under Counter Wine Coolers

  • Don't install in a place that is subjected to direct sunlight.
  • Leave a space of at least 1 1/2 inches at the back and 1/2 an inch at the sides (but check specific manufacturer guidelines for exact clearances).
  • Don't install next to an oven or any other type of heat source.
  • Don't install next to a source of strong vibration (vibrations can be remedied with floor pads)
  • The floor must be hard and completely flat. No carpets!

Once you're armed with all of this information and you're installation site meets these criteria then you can start browsing under counter wine fridge options.

If you already own a wine fridge then make sure it is a built-in model (not freestanding) and has front air vents.

Installing a freestanding wine fridge into a compact cabinet space is asking for trouble as it will not be able to cool itself down properly. 

How to Choose an Under Counter Wine Fridge That Fits Properly

I'm not going to provide a full buying guide here but rather provide some points to ensure that you choose a wine fridge that fits properly.

  1. 1
    Account for the door handle. The door handle will likely add a couple of inches to the length. So be sure to check double check that the handle is included in any stated dimensions.
  2. 2
    If you require a wine cooler to match your kitchen cabinetry you'll need to choose a model with a panel ready door.
  3. 3
    Account for surface clearances. Even built-in wine fridges need small gaps between the sides and the back. Check the manufacturer guidelines (in the manual) for exact measurements.
  4. 4
    Standard kitchen counter height is 36 inches (3 feet) so under counter models shouldn't exceed 34.5 inches.
  5. 5
    Under counter wine coolers typically come in 15" and 24" widths.

How to Install a Wine Fridge In a Cabinet

It's time to get your hands dirty! Installing a built-in wine fridge is pretty straight forward as long as you got all those measurements correct!

You don't need any professional help but it's wise to have some help to move the unit as they're very heavy.

At worst you might need to use a saw and a sander (if cabinets need removed and the floor is uneven) but if all is well you won't need any of these.

What You'll Need:

  • The Manual. Have a read through the manual prior to starting. Pay attention to the installation section and any notes on clearances.
  • Spirit Level
  • Tape Measure
  • Saw
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Sander (or sand paper)
  • Optional: Scrap wood. If your floor is uneven, you might need to make some adjustments. This is despite most wine coolers having adjustable feet, as they're not always great.


  1. 1
    Remove any existing cabinet doors or panels.  
  2. 2
    Attach the door handle to the unit.
  3. 3
    The first thing you want to do before going any further is to move the wine fridge into place and ensure it fits as billed. Swing the door open and make sure it's unobstructed. Can it reach a power supply? (don't plug it in yet). Is there ample clearance at the back and sides?
  4. 4
    If needed, make the necessary adjustments.
  5. 5
    Perform any sanding/painting to the surfaces before installing the wine cooler.
  6. 6
    Check that the floor is level. If it's not, you'll need to level it up using shims or use the adjustable legs on the fridge (most have them).
  7. 7
    If all is good, then give yourself a pat on the back as it's plain sailing from here on!
  8. 8
    Move the wine fridge into place but DO NOT turn on. You need to let it sit for at least 4 hours after transit of any kind. This is to allow the coolant to settle. Your manual will have specific guidelines for this.
  9. 9
    After the required time has passed you can turn it on and set your desired temperature(s). Allow it ample time to cool down before loading it with wine.

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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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