How to move my wine collection?

How to move your wine collection
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If 1) you happen to be a true wine enthusiast with your own proud wine collection, and 2) you’re about to move to another home, then it’s only natural that one of your first concerns will be the safe relocation of your wine.

Similar to highly specialized household items such as a piano or a pool table, a wine collection is a very unique thing to move to another home because of the fragility of glass bottles, the great value of the entire collection, and volatility of the wine itself. And as such, moving a wine collection is a very delicate process that requires the right approach.

To ensure your peace of mind and the well-being of the wine bottles you’ve been amassing passionately for years, you are recommended to go through several must-follow preparatory steps. In fact, a good preparation stage will almost guarantee the success of this challenging relocation task ahead of you.

How to move a wine collection? As a wine collector who wishes to relocate your wine cellar quickly and safely, you should clearly understand that proper preparation is half the actual transportation, or sometimes even the better part of it. Follow these chronological steps to prepare your wine collection for a move.

Step 1: Get your wine collection appraised

It’s one thing to assume you know how to move wine collections, and an entirely different thing to be actually familiar with the individual steps of the wine moving process. Start the preparations correctly by first having your wine collection appraised by a professional appraiser. Instead of picking one randomly, you want to get in touch with a certified and reputable wine appraiser who will evaluate the current market value of your wine and give you an accurate appraisal.

The professional appraisal you receive will, as you can imagine, help you determine the true value your wine collection for insurance purposes. Yes, you will need to have adequate coverage for your entire wine collection during its transportation in the unfortunate event of you having to make a claim for loss or damage.

But just where to find qualified appraisers? You have a few good options here.

  • Contact your local wine distributor and ask them for recommendations;
  • Contact specialized wine stores or general liquor stores for suggestions;
  • Call your home insurance company – they should be able to help you;
  • Get in touch with the American Society of Appraisers for advice;
  • Ask friends or trustworthy wine collectors you know.

READ ALSO: Should I get moving insurance?

Step 2: Inventory your wine collection

Once your wine collection has been appraised, it’s time for you to inventory it in great details. Keep in mind that the inventory process will take a good amount of time, and depending on the number of bottles, that time can be doubled or even tripled. Photograph each bottle as you’re compiling your inventory list as that will help you document exactly what rare or vintage wines you have in there. If you plan to use the services of a specialized wine transporter, the company will also do a packing inventory, in which case the two lists should be identical.

As a matter of fact, it’s best to use that wine collection inventory to make some important decisions – that is, to decide if it’s better to sell a part of the wine collection or even give away some of the bottles to dear family members or good friends. In case you do decide to optimize your wine collection, then make a detailed list with only the bottles you have decided to take with you to your new home.

Step 3: How to move your wine collection?

A crucial step when moving a wine collection is to determine its best transportation method. In reality, the fundamental decision whether to ship your pricey investment with a professional wine collection mover or move it yourself should be viewed from all possible angles.

Move it yourself

If you own a relatively small wine collection and you’re only moving a short distance, then you should seriously consider moving it in your own car. This decision is especially valid if your collection does not amount to much in terms of value and initial investment. By taking your wine with you, you are bound to save plenty of dollars by not paying for professional wine collection moving services, plus you will be able to control the temperature inside your own vehicle.

Hire professional wine moving services

If you’re moving long distance to another part of the country and your wine collection is a result of a solid and sizable investment, then it’s best to leave the matter to experienced professionals. Moving a wine collection across country is not a joke and the only one who can guarantee the safety of your wine is a wine relocation professional. For you information, standard interstate movers are not allowed to transport hazardous materials in their trucks, and alcohol is considered dangerous. To be able to ship alcohol, cross country movers have to be licensed to transport wine by the Approvals and Permits Division of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

So, make sure you book a moving company that specializes in wine transportation, or at least has a considerable experience with moving wine cellars. Do not assume that all movers can handle wine collections, so arrange that in advance. If moving in the middle of summer or winter when the temperatures are far from being mild and moderate, you may consider asking for an estimate that includes a climate controlled truck. This is also true if you own mostly rare or vintage wine bottles, as fluctuations in temperature, humidity and light can prove to be very harmful for your cherished wines.

Lastly, do all in your power to be present when your wine collection is being picked up to supervise the whole process and to ensure that each and every bottle is loaded safely on the moving vehicle.

Step 4: Pack your wine collection the right way

If you’ve decided to trust professional wine shipping specialists, then you should not worry about how your wine bottled will be protected during the move. Thanks to sophisticated packing materials and refrigerated trucks, professional wine collection movers just know how to approach the entire process so that your prized wine collection arrives in the cellar of your new home in no less than perfect condition.

Yes, professional packers have the required expertise to pack correctly each bottle and ensure its safety. But what about if you plan to move your wine collection on your own? Then you need special care to protect your wine collection. If you’re packing by yourself, get specialized wine packing boxes which are also used to transport wine on commercial airlines. You can purchase them from stores that sell wine or from a local moving company that is licensed to ship wine.

Those special boxes for wine bottles are specifically designed to provide the maximum protection for your precious wine collection – they have dividers made of Styrofoam and are pretty sturdy. Wooden boxes are more expensive, of course, but provide much better protection. Either way, remember to pack corked wine on its side as if you were still keeping it on the familiar racks in your cellar. Also, keep a temperature of around 55-75 degrees F inside your vehicle.

SEE ALSO: How to move wine glasses

Step 5: Final advice on moving a wine collection

Our tips for moving a wine collection end with one final piece of advice on what you should do after the move is over.

Once your wine collection is delivered to your new home by your hired wine moving and shipping service provider, check it very carefully against your personal inventory list and the photos you have taken. If you notice a bottle or bottles to be missing, or if you register any type of damage, note it down on your wine cellar movers’ inventory and contact them immediately.

Also, your wine will inevitably shake within the bottles as the latter are being transported. To avoid a condition known as bottle shock /loss of flavor/, let your bottles of wine rest for at least a week before you decide to open one.


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