Oct 15, 2021 by Wendy Hoke

Moving Your Wine Collection

Your collection of fine wines requires special handling and storage when moving to a new residence. They have an exquisite character and chemistry that can be altered by exposure to light, temperature changes, and movement. Read on for our tips on how to carefully move your wine collection.

Here are several steps to consider prior to moving your wine collection.

Get an Appraisal by a Qualified Professional Appraiser

Have your wine collection appraised first. If there is any damage during the relocation, you will need the documentation to obtain the full value of the claim. Appraisal fees vary widely. Appraisers usually charge by the hour but can be contracted for a flat fee. The best way to locate a wine appraiser is through a local wine merchant who handles collectible vintages.

Check the Laws Surrounding Relocation of Wine/Alcohol

Some states or countries do not allow the relocation of wine across their borders. It is often regulated differently state-by-state. Double-check with the alcohol control authorities at your destination before you move. Inquire restrictions governing the types and amount of alcohol that can be brought in for personal use to avoid inadvertently breaking the law.

Pack Your Wine Collection with Care

Special care should be taken to protect the wine when packing. If you are packing the wine yourself, you will want sturdy wine packing boxes that are used to transport wine by the case. These are made of Styrofoam or corrugated cardboard and protect the bottles well. You can purchase them at stores that sell wine in your area.

Even if you have packed your wine collection carefully, bottle shock may occur. The wine will shake within the bottle as it is moved. If opened too soon, a loss of flavor may result. Allow the bottles to rest for 7 days prior to opening.

Remember to pack the wine on its side, as it would be stored in your home.

Corked wines should be placed on their sides or upside down in the packing container to keep the corks wet. Opened bottles may not be shipped with the unopened wine bottles. Plan to enjoy those before your move.

Use a Climate Controlled Transporation Method

Changes in the environment may affect the taste and appearance of your wine. Most wine experts agree that older red wines need to be protected from shifting temperatures. They recommend a consistent temperature of 55 degrees for storing and transporting wine. White wines and less expensive supermarket brands are less susceptible to damage by temperature.

For a small collection, you can use your car to move them and keep the environment better regulated. A climate-controlled van can be used to move a very large or rare collection. However, this will add some expense to the move.

If you are moving during the summer or winter months, you may want to consider moving your collection via a commercial airline. If you want the wine to be professionally packed, consult your mover.

Fill Out the High-Value Inventory Form

If you choose to use a professional moving company, be sure to complete the high-value inventory form. This will help you receive the full value of any wine that may be damaged. The mover will prepare an inventory of your shipment before loading. When you reach your destination, carefully check your household goods and wine collection against the form. Should there be any loss or damage; be sure to note it on the inventory.

Ways to Move Your Wine Collection

1. Move it yourself.

This is a good option if you have a small, valuable collection. We often tell families to move the items that are most valuable to them in their own cars if possible. This allows you to have complete control and peace of mind. Just be sure to follow our wine packing and moving tips above. You can also opt to have the moving company pack the wine even if you move it in your own car.

2. Hire a Professional Moving Company

You can include wine in your move along with your other household goods. This is probably the best option if your wine collection is not valuable, or if it is the spring or fall seasons when the temperatures are not extreme.

If the moving company is relocating your wine, ask the company about their wine moving experience and their method for packing and moving the wine. Some moving companies may even be able to refrigerate your wine throughout the relocation. If your wine is valuable and you wish to have the moving company relocate your collection, don’t forget to complete the high-value inventory form for your collection.

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