Wine Bottle Packing Tips

Bordeaux, Mondavi, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Doceltto, Barbera, Merlot and Riesling, we’re positive that you wouldn’t pick just one to save on that trip back home. Whether you have a stellar wine collection in a cellar or just a couple of well-aged wines in a cabinet, you surely won’t want to abandon them when you move to a new home. However, you’re probably biting your teeth at the thought of packing them safely when moving out.

Hence, we’ll be going over the exact course of action you can adopt in order to safely transport all the variety of  wine bottles you own. Now, packing these glass bottles for a move, like we said, might seem like you’re about to deal with transporting eggs. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take it one step at a time, because there’s ways for them to reach their destination without compromising the profile your wine bottles currently hold.

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Keep reading on to learn more about how to pack wine bottles for a move and let the wine aficionado in you rest easy!

The Planning

While moving to a new home, you would surely have a handful of fragile items also made of glass to cradle with care alongwith the wine bottles. Nonetheless, you have to remember that while packing your wine, it’s not just about saving the fragile nature of the glass bottle that holds the wine, but you’d also require to put some thought into saving the wine itself.

Just like your waiter follows the suggested serving temperature before pouring the wine in your glass, you’d need to be sure that your wine box is also being moved at a certain temperature. We suggest that the wine bottles at least travel at a temperature in the range of 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s best not to move out wine bottles during the summer months, because if it sits in the truck for too long, the taste of the wine can be compromised. The outcome of heated wine could feel like a wine spill even though it isn’t one. But there’s no reason to get worked up even if you happen to be switching homes during the summer months.

You can still consider moving the wine bottles, albeit in the company of a cooler. Making the use of styrofoam wine boxes for packaging is also a good choice in such cases. Styrofoam containers have pockets to place ice packs and this could possibly save the wine from cooking, changing color as well as taste when temperatures soar. Apart from avoiding wine travel when the temperature is nearing 80, your next course of action should be: The Preparation!

The Preparation

Lining Your Inventory

Before you start packing, you must work on a detailed wine inventory. To do this, we’d recommend having an excel sheet where you’ve created essential columns for the wine name, the quantity, alcohol percentage and size of your prized bottles. If you’re not a fan of excel tables, you could also download a wine inventory sheet from the internet and fill it out once you’ve printed it.

When you begin to line your inventory, you get clarity on the bottles you own. The main takeaway from doing this exercise is that you can put a figure on the quantity and weight of all the wine bottles you’ll be moving. Just a single 750 ml wine bottle could weigh upto 24 ounces, so once you’ve organised your entire inventory, you would be able to calculate and categorize every single bottle by weight.

Do note that you cannot take opened wine bottles on this move so it would be wise to finish it before the move. Well, not exactly the day you’re moving out, but you get what we’re trying to point out, right? There’s also a good chance that you’d like to part ways with a few bottles because you don’t want to be carrying more than you can manage. In this case, you can always hand it out to a friend or colleague.

In short, having a detailed inventory allows accurate planning of supplies and you’ll get an estimate of how many wine bottles you’ll be packing for the move. Most importantly, you have a figure on the weight and number of bottles you have. This information will come in handy if you’re moving across state lines. Depending on the state you’re moving to, it’s best to check with alcohol beverage authorities if you’re legally allowed to move into that state with the amount of alcohol you’ll be having with you. There are certain regulations about transporting alcohol across state lines and it’s best to confirm them before your move.

During this stage, we’d advise you to also create sets of bottles depending on weight so you’re able to pre-plan the sets of bottles that will go together in one box. This would make sure you’re not overloading any box during the packing process. Your wine bottles could also be in different shapes – such as Alsace bottles are tall and lean, a Burgundy has a much wider bottom while Bordeaux is cylindrical in shape. You’d probably be having a mix of these shapes, so once again it’s best to mention this as a remark while lining up your inventory. That way, you can differentiate the heavyweight and lightweight bottles.

Just a friendly reminder, ensure you’re not lining up this inventory in the kitchen because trust us, heat and wine bottles could be mortal enemies.

Picking The Box For Packing The Wine Bottles

Picking the right box is the first step of packing. Instead of a cardboard shipping box, you would need a corrugated one because this box works as a glove of assurance for your wine bottles. We’d recommend picking an unused box and taping the bottom surface of it to certify it’s sturdy enough to handle the weight. To avoid this, apply a generous amount of tape at the bottom as though you’re marking the symbol of a plus sign on it. If you sense that the box still feels flimsy, secure the edges as well for some extra security. Locking the bottom with sufficient tape is an essential step to avoid having all your wine bottles use the floor of the box as an escape chute.

Additional Supplies For Boxing Wine Bottles

Styrofoam Containers

Now, you can either choose to pack the wine bottles in a corrugated cardboard box or use styrofoam containers. If you purchase a styrofoam container, it cuts down the effort you need to put into packing. Styrofoam containers are surely an upgrade from the standard packing method of using a cardboard box and padding. But it is a costly option. A 12 Bottle Styrofoam Wine Shipper with a cardboard shipping box could cost you approximately $35-$40.

These containers have cavities in them to hold 1, 4, 6 or 12 bottles of wine. You will need to purchase the container according to your requirement. This is a great alternative to keep your wine bottles steady, covered and intact.

Cardboard Cell Dividers

These are also known as cardboard inserts and work best to keep all your wine bottles in their own individual cells. It would cost you approximately $16-$20 for a new set of cell dividers. It’s definitely less heavy on the pocket compared to styrofoam containers. By this point, you would already know the exact dimensions of the box you’re using too, so you can even pick a fitting cardboard insert from the liquor store or wholesale discount stores, and reuse it for packing purposes.

Wooden Wine Crates

You would probably have a wooden wine crate lying at home when you made a purchase from a winery, otherwise it can get difficult to get your hands on such a crate. These wooden crates would already have dividers made of cardboard or wood to keep individual bottles secure. We’d just like to mention here that wooden wine crates are specially customised by wineries and are ideal for the bottles that originally came to you in that crate. The wooden crate won’t always work in your favor for all your wine bottles, and so you can always opt for devising your own corrugated box instead.

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Packing Wine Bottles For A Move

Once you’ve zeroed down on the box to be used, you would need to let your wine bottles enter the room. While packing your wine bottles, you must keep in mind that the neck of a wine bottle is the most fragile part and would need some extra care in the packing process.

Before moving to the step-by-step guide below, make sure you have the following supplies that you can easily access, while you work on safely packing the bottles. Tape, packaging peanuts, thick bubble wrap, brown or white packing paper, a permanent marker and labels. For tape, we recommend using reinforced plastic tape or plastic pressure sensitive tape.

We suggest that you lay a stack of packing paper right next to the box so you’re able to easily get hold of it once you’re in the flow of packing. Consider this the ‘Mise en place point’ which is a french phrase that translates to having everything in place and ready to go.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 01 – Secure The Box

Secure the floor of the box with packing tape. Use the plus sign method to tape it down and then seal the edges as though you’re marking the letter ‘H’ on it.

Step 02 – Create A Base

Layer the bottom of your box with a thick stack of newspaper or crumpled wrapping paper. This would form the base of your box.

Step 03 – Wrap The Wine Bottles

When you start wrapping the wine bottles, all you’d require to do is white or brown packing paper. Roll the bottles in a good layer or two of packing paper. As you’re coming to the end of the roll of paper, stuff the corners into an opening at the bottom. If the wine bottle has a flat bottom, use a small piece of tape to close up the corners of the packing paper. By this step, you shouldn’t be able to feel the exact shape of the bottle, that’s confirmation that it is thoroughly covered.

Step 04 – Fill The Box

Start placing the wrapped wine bottles in the box. Make sure you’re starting with the heavyweight bottles and the lightweight bottles are on top. While placing your wine bottles, we suggest that you place them down horizontally since it’s a long trip. When the bottle takes a sleeping posture, it keeps the cork moist and ensures that there’s the least possible amount of air seeping into the bottle.

Note: If you’re using styrofoam inserts or cardboard dividers, you can just place the bottles directly in their designated spaces once it’s wrapped.

Step 05 – Cushion The Inside Of The Box

Between each bottle, you must add some crumpled paper, styrofoam peanuts or newspapers for additional padding. Leave some room for more padding at the top of the box too.

Step 06 – Cushion The Top

Layer the top of your box with the same amount of padding you used at the bottom. At this stage, use a thick sheet of bubble wrap. If there’s no space for padding at the top of the box, it means that few bottles should be taken out because it’s overloaded.

Step 07 – Test The Box

For packing the wine bottles, your main goal here is to avoid the bottles hitting each other. To test if you’ve successfully packed your box, just pick up the box to make sure you can’t hear any noise that proves the glass bottles are clanking together. This is just to double-check that the bottles have literally no space to swing around.

Step 08 – Label The Box

Lastly, seal the top of the box. You can simply use the letter ‘H’ method while sealing it with packing tape. Once the opening of the box is shut, always mark it as fragile so the movers are extra cautious of the box. You can use a tape that screams fragile or use a permanent black marker and write the word fragile wine bottles on all sides of the box. Both actually serve the same purpose.

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Things To Keep In Mind While Packing Wine Bottles For A Move

  • Always be aware of the weight you’re packing, especially if you’re going to be lifting the box.
  • Be mindful of the temperature on the day of moving. Have a plan B in case it’s going to be moving in some extreme conditions. Plan B could mean having your wine travel with a cooler and keeping it away from any sunlight during the summer.
  • Which brings us to our next point, always place your wine box in a shady area where it isn’t hit by direct sunlight. If you’re leaving in a car, ensure the wine box is covered from the heat.
  • We know water condenses on a bottle of wine if you’ve just taken it out from the fridge, so ensure it’s been wiped thoroughly before you begin the wrapping process.
  • Once the wine reaches its new home, allow it sometime to rest and do not open it immediately. The wine may have experienced some bottle shock during transit. So, a good rule of thumb is to let it rest for seven days.

See also: Moving Safety Tips Everyone Should Know


Conclusion

We hope the informative tips provided in our guide helps you understand how to pack wine bottles for a move successfully and transfer them to your new home. Packing fragile items like wine bottles surely test your organizational skills and patience. So, you should definitely plan ahead to be able to pack appropriately.

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