If you’re someone who enjoys having a glass of wine to unwind over the weekend or a full-blown wine connoisseur, surely you’ll have a fine collection. But when you’re about to move, watch as your prized collection of reds and whites becomes a surprising burden to pack and transport. Wine can be quite finicky to move, and with them in fragile glass bottles, the risk of breakage is only too high.
In case you’re wondering how to pack wine bottles for a move, this is the right place to be! Right from packing and loading to unloading, we’ve covered it all!
Remember that wine bottles are fragile, so the first thing you need to keep in mind is ensuring that they don’t shatter during transit. Boxes and padding materials will be your savior in this regard. Here are all the packing materials you’ll need for transporting your wine bottles:
This is the first material that you need to get your hands on for packing your wine bottles. Corrugated cardboard boxes will be a better choice as they’re specifically made to endure long hours of transit.
On the other hand, if you can get your hands on wine boxes, nothing like it! These boxes have separate compartments (made of styrofoam) within them and can usually hold 6 to 12 bottles. Using these boxes can help avoid risking your precious wine bottles from smashing into each other!
If you’re one of the thrifty movers, don’t bother buying cardboard boxes, rather, go to a liquor store and ask for leftover boxes. There’s a high chance that they’ll have some lying about and will be only too happy to get rid of them. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to reinforce these boxes with packing tape as they may not be entirely reliable.
Stuffing your wine bottles in packing paper or bubble wrap is a good way to absorb any shocks that they may experience during transit. Make sure you use at least two sheets of paper for each bottle and tightly wrap them around the bottle. When it comes to bubble wrap, you’ll need to wrap each bottle with a generous amount of the wrap.
Another shock-absorbing material, packing peanuts are great for filling up any empty spaces in your cardboard box so that your wine bottles don’t move around during transit. If you’re environmentally conscious, look for eco-friendly packing peanuts. They’re biodegradable and non-toxic, don’t pop them in your mouth though!
These aren’t exactly packing materials, so to speak. But marking your wine boxes as ‘FRAGILE’ would ensure you or the movers know to take extra care when handling them.
This is the part where you ensure that your wine bottles will remain safe and snug as a bug!
Wrap Each Bottle Individually
This is the most important step to ensuring that your wine bottles don’t break. Start by taping up the top of the bottle with packing tape. This will help secure the cork in place and prevent it from popping out during transit.
Next, take a sheet of packing paper or bubble wrap and tightly wrap it around the bottle. Make sure you cover every inch of the bottle, especially near the neck where it’s most fragile. If you’re using bubble wrap, you can use your hands to press down on the wrap so that it adheres to the bottle tightly.
Pack The Bottles In A Box
Once you’ve wrapped all your wine bottles, it’s time to pack them in a box. If you’re using a cardboard box, make sure it’s sturdy and fill up any spaces in the box with packing peanuts or crumpled newspaper. An easy trick to see if your bottles are well settled in the box is by shaking it. If your bottles are moving, that means you need to add more packing material!
If it’s red or white wine you’re moving, place the bottles on their sides (or even upside down!) as this ensures the corks stay wet. Why, you ask? A dry cork can easily become loose and let in air; this oxidation can ruin your wine’s flavor.
On the other hand, if you’re moving sparkling wine, always pack them in an upright position to preserve the carbonation in the bottles.
Label The Box
If you’re using a wine box, there’s no need to label the box as the compartments are already labeled. But if you’re using a cardboard box, make sure you label it as ‘FRAGILE’ and mark which bottles are red wine, white wine, etc. This will help prevent any accidents during transit.
Now’s the time to do all the heavy lifting and moving. Remember to take extra care with your bottles, okay?
Keep The Boxes On The Floor
If you’re using cardboard boxes, make sure you keep them on the floor of the moving truck and away from any sharp objects that may puncture the box. Stacking the boxes on top of your other belongings might seem like a good idea, but it has the risk of the boxes toppling and the bottles smashing. And then you won’t even have wine to drink your sorrows away!
Pack The Heaviest Boxes On The Bottom
Not only should your wine boxes be on the floor of the truck, but they should also be packed at the bottom. This way, the weight of the other boxes won’t cause them to fall and damage your wine bottles.
Moving Your Wine The DIY Way
If you’re driving your belongings to your new home, make sure the wine boxes are in the backseat and secure them with a seat belt or rope. This will prevent them from moving around during transit. It goes without saying, but don’t get tempted to take a sip when you’re taking a break!
On the other hand, if you have just a couple of bottles of wine, simply pack them in your suitcase. Just ensure to keep them snug between your clothing!
If you’re not too keen on driving your wine bottles down to your new home, you can always ship them. The only downside is that it can be quite expensive. But if you have a few precious bottles of wine that you just can’t bear to part with, then it may be worth the investment.
Be Mindful Of The Temperature
When moving, the temperature can fluctuate a lot and this can be damaging to your wine. Ideally, you want the temperature to be between 55-65°F when transporting your wine bottles. Extreme weather can spoil your wines. So if possible, try to keep an eye on the weather forecast before your move and take necessary precautions.
In case you’re moving to/from a hot state during the summer months, you’ll need to take extra care when transporting your wine bottles. Extreme heat can ‘cook’ your wine and damage its taste. To protect your wines from heat, consider getting a wine cooler. If you’re thrifty, pack your boxes with no-sweat ice packs.
When you finally reach your destination, it’s important to unload your wine bottles with the same care as you loaded them. Make sure you have a designated spot for them in your new home and try not to let them sit in the sun. Sunlight can also damage wines over time.
You may be tempted to open up a bottle at the end of the day, to congratulate yourself on a successful move. But hold on! You have to wait at least 7 days before popping the cork on a newly transported bottle of wine. This is because the whole process of transportation would have shaken up your wine. This ‘bottle shock’ or ‘bottle sickness’ results in an inferior taste and flavor. Give your wines time to settle down and then they will taste as good as ever!
Things To Keep In Mind When Packing Wine Bottles For A Move:
Wine bottles are quite heavy. If you have a sizable collection of bottles, moving them all can really inflate your moving budget. You could give away a few bottles to your neighbors/family members as a goodbye gift. Everyone loves a good bottle of wine!
Speaking of your wine glasses, don’t forget to pack those too! Fill the glasses with packing paper and wrap them completely with multiple layers of paper. Using a compartmentalized cardboard box would help keep your wine glasses even safer during transit.
If you have a wine refrigerator, make sure you unplug it and defrost it before moving. If you don’t, your wine refrigerator could end up costing you a lot of money in repairs.
If you’re a wine collector and have valuable bottles, you may want to consider getting insurance for your wines. This will give you peace of mind during your move.
Wine bottles should be packed in their original boxes if possible. If you don’t have the original boxes, use a strong corrugated box and pack the wine bottles on their side. This way, the weight of the other boxes won’t cause them to fall and damage your wine bottles.
Packing your wine bottles for a move can be a daunting task, but if you follow these simple tips, you’ll be good to go! Just remember to be mindful of the temperature and take care when unloading them at your new destination. Enjoy your new home and don’t forget to pop open a bottle of wine to celebrate!
FAQs On How To Pack Wine Bottles For A Move
How Do You Pack Alcohol When Moving?
Alcoholic beverages should always be packed in their original containers and kept upright. You can use packing foam, bubble wrap, or newspapers to keep them secure.
How Do I Pack Wine Bottles?
If you have the original wine bottle boxes, use them. If not, pack the bottles in a strong corrugated box and place them on their sides. Fill any empty spaces with packing foam, bubble wrap, or newspapers. Make sure to keep them on their sides so that the corks remain damp.
Do Wine Bottles Break Easily?
No, wine bottles are not particularly fragile. However, they can break if they are dropped or mishandled. That’s why it’s important to pack them securely in their original boxes or in a strong corrugated box.
Can I Pack A Bottle Of Wine In My Checked Bag?
You can carry up to 1.3 gallons (5 liters) of alcoholic beverages in your checked luggage, as long as the alcohol content is between 24-70% and the bottles are unopened. Beverages with less than 24% alcohol aren’t subject to limitations.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.