Wine Collection Relocation | How to Pack and Move with Ease

Relocating your wine collection comes with its own set of challenges and legalities. Moving wine means more than just packing it up in some heavy wooden boxes filled with confetti shreds. Because it’s alcohol, which makes it a highly regulated commodity, your moving plan also needs to address that issue. That being the case, you should start planning weeks, if not months in advance for this portion of your move. Here are some tips for moving your wine collection.

Getting Started

Before you even pack up your wine, Moving.Tips suggest that you have an appraisal done. Your wine collection is valuable, and knowing how much it’s worth helps you to determine how to proceed. If you don’t already know a professional wine appraiser, you’ll find a qualified one by either:

  1. Contacting your insurance company
  2. Talking to a local wine distributor or wine store
  3. Or by getting in touch with the American Society of Appraisers.

Once this is done, you’ll then want to take an inventory of your wine. Do this by photographing each bottle, writing a description of it, and then making a master list of all your wines. Keep this in a notebook or in some sort of electronic filing system. You’re going to need this information when you move into the later stages of moving your collection. You’ll want to have a list handy for your movers as well, so be sure to make two copies.

Transportation Concerns: Fragility and Legalities

Wine is fragile for a number of reasons. Aside from the danger of bottle breakage, temperature control can be a problem. More specifically, moving your wines at the wrong temperature can destroy your collection. The Wine Inspector reminds wine collectors that moving wine, like moving pianos, is considered a niche business. A large collection – think 1,500 to 3,500 bottles of wine – can cost up to $5,000 to move on a refrigerated truck if it’s being moved across the country. Air freight costs even more.

Understandably, this notion causes some collectors to consider moving the wine themselves, rather than having wine-specialty movers take care of it. If you have a small collection, it is possible to move it yourself in your car.

Movers Dallas says you’ll want to hire professional movers if you have a large collection. Wine is actually considered a hazardous material, which complicates things once your wine goes across state lines. If you do have a large collection, find a mover that specializes in this sort of move and do so weeks in advance of your move. Professional wine movers have refrigerated trucks and are knowledgeable about the rules concerning the transport of wine. (See the Wine Spectator for a list of specialty movers.)

Packing Concerns

If you go with a professional moving company, that company will help you pack up your wine for transport. These companies have all the necessary equipment to get the job done. However, if you’ve opted to transport it yourself, you’ll want to take these steps, according to Angie’s List:

  1. Store corked wine upside down to keep the corks moist.
  2. Pack the wine in boxes that are specially designed to handle wine. These types of boxes have Styrofoam dividers to protect the wine. You can go with boxes that you get from wine stores or specialty movers. Wooden boxes are even sturdier, though they do cost more.
  3. Never pack up wine that has already been uncorked.
  4. Allow for bottle shock after the move: The bottles should rest for about a week after you’ve settled into your new place.

Final Thoughts

Moving wine comes with more considerations than most other types of fragile items. Aside from being breakable, wine is also considered a hazardous material and must be moved with care. This is especially true if you’re moving wine across state lines. Although it can cost you a good deal of money to have your wine professionally transported, it may be worth the cost and the trouble in the end. That said, no matter how you decide to move your wine, do be sure to start this process well in advance of your move.


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