Different types of wine coolers:
Built In Wine Coolers
This type of wine cooler is one of the most popular in the kitchen industry, by built in we mean installed with kitchen cabinets around it and in most cases, there will be a countertop above them.
Designed to sit on the floor but with as little as 0.25cm either side of the wine cooler, they fit into standard kitchen housings with widths ranging from: 15cm, 30cm, 40cm and 60cm.
Most of this type of unit will be installed under a counter top so are often referred to as 'undercounter wine coolers' they require very little ventilation space as there is a vent on the front and behind this there is either one or two fans which bring in the cool air to cool the compressor correctly.
Its very important that the vent on the front of this type of wine cooler is not blocked, if a plinth is installed in front of the vent then there needs to be a grille installed into the plinth in order to allow the wine cooler to breath.
An example of a Built in wine coolers are these models from Dunavox.
Freestanding Wine Coolers
Freestanding wine coolers are often misinterpreted as built in models due to the fact they sit on the floor, however they require different ventilation requirements and shouldn't be used for undercounter use.
Freestanding models come in a range of sizes and cater for many different clientele, depending on the type of wine storage they want - for example there are service wine fridges used for purely service temperatures and there are also ageing cabinets which as the name suggests is used purely for long term storage of wine.
This type of wine cooler is suitable for installation in a kitchen still and will create another talking point, they require the same ventilation requirements as a standard refrigerator and you should allow 5-10cm of ventilation space around them as they don't have their own in built ventilation system, so there needs to be enough free movement of cool air around the compressor area.
Integrated Wine Coolers
A great addition to any kitchen is an integrated wine cooler as they are easy to incorporate with new kitchen designs and look very modern and are available in handle-less models to keep the clean lines flowing throughout the kitchen.
Integrated wine coolers slide neatly into housings designed for normal appliance housings, they come in sizes that match other appliances such as single ovens, double ovens and integrated microwaves. Currently they are available in stainless steel, black with full glass doors and some manufacturers are producing white integrated wine coolers now to keep up with market trends.
An integrated wine cooler is generally installed incorrectly the most though, they have very specific requirements when it comes to installation. There is no in-built ventilation system and they are being installed into a kitchen housing, usually a tower unit, so we need to create an air flow in order to cool the compressor.
Firstly, there must be a vent included in the plinth to allow cool air to be drawn in to the back of the units. There must be enough space between the back of the wine cooler and the wall (usually 4-5cm) to allow the cool air to rise up to the compressor and the warm air to be expelled at the top of the tower unit - otherwise the cooling ability will be hindered and generally this type of wine cooler will just over heat.
An example of an installation diagram for an integrated wine cooler can be found here.
For this article we partnered with Elite Wine Refrigeration who are a UK based distributors of premium wine coolers who supply lots of kitchen retailers, interior designers and architects like ourselves.