Updated 9/20/17 from an article originally published 5/23/13.
Chances are if you’re reading this, you know a thing or two about wine. It could be that you have an entire cellar dedicated to your wine collection, or maybe a portion of your kitchen is home to your small but growing array of wine.
One thing is for certain, moving wine, especially fine wine, is not as simple as loading it into a cardboard box and calling it a day.
In fact, professional wine shipping offers the most seamless way to transport large and expensive wine collections to their new homes. Learn how moving wine the right way varies depending on the size of your collection. However, if you’re just interested in finding out how to move a few bottles of wine, scroll to the bottom for more information.
How to Move Large Wine Collections
1. Make an updated inventory.
First of all, assess your wine collection and determine how much of it you’re going to move. If your new place doesn’t accommodate your collection, consider selling some wine or gifting to friends and relatives. The final list of all the wine you’re going to move will help you get a more accurate quote from wine movers.
2. Schedule an appraiser to value your collection.
Understanding the current market value of your wine collection is essential. Before moving wine, it’s important to take out insurance to cover your wine during the transit. To get accurate and cost effective moving insurance, you will want an updated wine appraisal.
Also, remember to take your time to seek out reputable appraisers and avoid the urge just to pick randomly. If you’re at a standstill, ask local liquor stores and distributors to give you some recommendations.
3. Choose from an assortment of wine shipping companies.
Not just any moving company can transport a wine collection. Many interstate movers are forbidden from transporting hazardous materials like alcohol in a moving truck. Alcohol is considered as a hazmat unless the company is authorized by the PHMSA‘s Approvals and Permits Division.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration is the regulatory agency enhancing hazardous materials transportation safety and security. So when looking for movers, let them know about your wine collection before scheduling a consultation.
Before booking your movers, research them thoroughly – from a license check to their online reputation. Confirm that your mover has experience in moving delicate and expensive collectibles.
Finally, obtain comprehensive insurance, which some companies will provide. Accidents can and do happen. If your moving company does not offer insurance, make sure to seek a reliable third party.
Here are some companies that offer wine shipping to get your search started:
4. Plan for optimal conditions and wine storage during the move.
Certain conditions must be met to preserve your wine during the move. Fluctuations in temperature, humidity and light can result in irreversible consequences. Moving wine across the country needs a good plan and extra financials. Make sure the wine shipping company you select can keep ideal conditions at all times.
If the transit will take more than a day to complete, make sure the moving truck can maintain a consistent temperature and humidity throughout the trip. If you don’t have access to your new home right away, discuss temporary wine storage with the company representative in advance.
Wherever the wine is ending up, make sure you arrive at the destination spot in advance, so you can provide the needed conditions for your wine once it arrives.
5. Lookup customs’ regulations for international wine shipping.
If you are moving internationally, then don’t forget to look up is the customs’ regulations. In most cases, you will have to pay tax to have your wine collection imported in the new country.
While household effects coming into the USA may be imported duty-free, alcohol cannot be imported duty-free. The U.S. Customs Border Protection allows you to import up to one liter of alcoholic beverage for personal use that’s free of duty and internal revenue tax. Quantities above that are not exempt from duty and internal revenue tax.
Moving wine internationally is tough. Contact the customs department to arrange the safe transport of your wine collection, and make sure you understand the laws on shipping wine before you make your move.
Moving Smaller Wine Collections
If your wine collection is small enough, not overly expensive and you are moving a short distance, you can transport it by yourself. The most important thing to remember is to maintain a consistent atmosphere for as much of the move as possible.
Make moving a little easier by getting the right boxes. There are sturdy boxes especially for wine bottles that have Styrofoam dividers.
Simply pack the wine on its side and maintain an even temperature between 55 – 75 degrees F in the back seat of your car. It’s best not to pack small wine collections in your trunk or a moving truck.
Moving wine the correct way is an investment that sometimes has to be made. Surround yourself with people who are knowledgeable and have many years experience to make the experience less stressful. When the move is complete, we can help you assess whether or not you’re storing your wine correctly.