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How to Move a Wine Refrigerator Safely & Save Your Wine

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After a few moves, it’s almost a synchronous movement to cover up some dishes, put them in their boxes, tape the box top, and onto the next, but what about wine fridges?! How does one move a wine fridge? Should you drink all of the wine beforehand, or will the hangover and loss of all your wine vestment be too heartbreaking? Fortunately, there are ways to move your wine collection and your fridge to a new home. 

So, the ultimate question is, how do you transport a wine fridge or a wine cooler?

There are three main factors to moving a wine fridge. 

  • Empty the wine fridge or cooler
  • Transport the wine separately
  • Transport the fridge or cooler unit

With enough care and understanding of how the wine fridge functions, and how your wine should be transported, you will be set to enjoy your first glass of wine at your new home. 

To learn how to properly store wine long-term, you need to read my 8 step process for great long-term wine storage.

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How to Move a Wine Refrigerator Safely & Save Your Wine

How to Transport a Wine Refrigerator

The basic precautions, as mentioned, are the three main factors in moving a wine cooler or fridge unit. 

  1. Empty the wine fridge: To move a wine fridge or a cooler, you will need to empty the unit before moving.
  2. Transport the wine:  Depending on the type of wine, you may be able to transport them by car with the careful packaging, but for prestige collections, you will need to hire a professional that can transport them for you. 
  3. Transport the Fridge: For coolers, it is much simpler to move and is similar to moving a fridge. For maturing fridges, the manufacturer may provide tips, or you may need to hire a professional. 

Additionally, check on permit laws. There may be some states that you may be moving to or moving across that may require permits for individuals moving personal wine collections. 

So, depending on whether you are moving a wine fridge or a wine cabinet, the transportation may vary. 

Moving a Wine Cooler 

1. Enjoy the wine you will not pack

With what’s left, pack the bottles in boxes with cardboard dividers and sleeves or bubble wrap. This is generally for a generic brand of wine that isn’t a prestigious $1000 bottle. 

2. During the move

Keep the box of wine out of direct sunlight. Temperature is not as important to these wines, but a very hot climate for only a single hour or even a cold temperature change will change the integrity of your wine. If you want the movers to move your box, make sure it is okay with the movers. Often, they may not be allowed to transport alcohol. 

3. Transporting the fridge

  1.  Unplug the wine cooler. You may want to gather cords and tape them to the side. 
  2. Try to find a box that will fit the wine cooler. This option is best, so you can add protection packing foams around the fridge. If you can’t find a box, use layers of bubble wrap or packing foams to ensure all the sides are safe. 
  3. Use a layer of extra cardboard for glass fronts to prevent any impact. 
  4. Hand trucks are handy. Use hand trucks and straps (similar method to moving regular fridges) to move the fridge with ease. 

Moving a Wine Maturation Fridge

More likely than not, most wines that are stored in maturation fridges are wines that need extra care and attention. The following steps are based on this assumption

1. Enjoy the wine that you want to finish before the move 

For everything else, if you are hiring a specialist company, they will send agents to your home for the removal and packing of the wine. 

If you want to wrap up your wine, you can use divided boxes and boxes that are specially designed to support the neck of the wine bottles. Make sure you do not disturb any sediments in red wines and do it close to the arrival of the truck for delivery.

2. Moving the wine

  • Professionally: Most safely, if you want to preserve wines that cost several thousand dollars, you will want to hire a company with wine collections special handling. Make sure they are specialized in moving wine. 
  • Doing it yourself: Try to avoid transporting wine during hot temperatures and uncontrolled climates to ensure no spoilage or damage. 

If you decide to take it in your car, keep in mind that maturing wine can be easily spoiled with temperature changes, and the vibration of a car’s movement can agitate sediments. It is much safer to transport sensitive wines in climate-controlled transport with climate control temperatures throughout the whole journey.  

3. Transporting the wine fridge 

This may vary on the model and the manufacturer. If you do not have this information, you may be able to reach out to the company for such information. The following is a general tip provided by Le Cache for their wine cabinets:

  • Remove crown or base moldings
  • Support wine cabinet doors from below and prevent hinges from bending. 
  • If doors are to be removed, the integrity of the glass panes and hinge pins must be monitored with care to avoid a negative impact on the vertical pressure. 
  • Do not push or pull on the doors or lift the case by its doors. Any damages to the hinges, door, or frame of the wine cabinet will lose its efficiency in being able to properly maintain the pressure, humidity, and temperature control. 

To learn if you should store a wine refrigerator inside a cabinet or on the carpet, please read these helpful guides before you make a serious mistake. If after moving your wine fridge or throughout its life, it starts leaking water, you need to read this article to diagnose and fix a leaking wine fridge.

Cooler vs. Wine Maturing Cabinets: Precaution purposes

A refrigerated wine cabinet and a wine cooler are very different. First and foremost, the purpose of the two is distinctive.

A cooler or a wine cooler is more commonly seen in most homes that enjoy wine. The purpose of the coolers is for wine that is to be served soon. For this purpose, coolers work very well for chilling wines.

Common characteristics for Wine Coolers:

Common CharacteristicsDescriptionWhy
Inconsistent and Unreliable temperaturesOccasionally, a cooler tends to have inconsistent and unreliable temperatures. In general, it may not stay stable throughout the day.

With most common designs, the cooler will not be able to adjust precisely to maintain the narrow range of temperatures wine ages and develops best in (typically 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just a 5-degree window!)
A wine cooler does not require wine to be at a stable temperature. As long as it is at a certain range, the wine is chilled to serving temperature.
More commonMost households do not have cabinets and easily use coolers.As most wines are produced to be ready to drink and serve, most wine lovers do well with a simple wine cooler. They are great to keep your wine at the perfect serving temperature.
No Humidity controlWine coolers tend to have humidity that often drops below 60%. They rarely keep a strict range or limit, which causes it to dip below-recommended levels.For the wine to be served and enjoyed in a short period of time, humidity is not as prominently important in cork preservation.
Common characteristics for Wine Coolers

Wine Refrigerators, most likely referencing wine maturation cabinets, work more accurately to maintain a precise temperature to mature and age the wine. Most wine enthusiasts that collect prestigious wines and mature for decades to their perfection have a wine maturation cabinet.

Common characteristics for Wine Refrigerator (Maturation Cabinet):

Common CharacteristicsDescriptionWhy
Diverse stylesDifferent racking styles, systems, and designs overallMore designs and purposes depend on the type of wines that will be stored and their aging requirements.
Multiple condition controlRefrigerated cabinets balance and maintain multiple conditions. (e.g., humidity, pressure, and temperature)Cooling units must control tight ranges in multiple conditions in order to avoid harming the aging process. Even with external temperature changes or vibrations, the refrigerator is purposed to balance this internally to keep the wines inside the stable.
Consistent temperatureMore consistent temperatures and purposed to mature the wine and elongate its life under controlled conditions at all times.The main purpose of these fridges is to provide the ultimate condition for proper wine maturation.
RareThere is a small percentage of wines that are produced to be aged after purchase and therefore are less common in an average household.Most commonly, prestige wines are rare to find and big purchases regarding money and care.
Strict humidity controlThese systems are engineered to support advanced humidity control at a precise range. Air circulation is regulated and maintained.The overall taste of the wine inside hugely depends on the cork. The wine that is preserved for several years requires precise humidity control to maintain the longevity of the cork and bottle.
Common characteristics for Wine Refrigerator (Maturation Cabinet)