Some of the trickiest items to relocate are wine bottles. Home business owners may have them as part of their merchandise or personal collection. These items are fragile outside because of their breakable vessels, and inside because of their perishable and volatile contents.

Another common concern is the existence of alcohol transport restrictions in dry American communities. Depending on your business, wine shipping or moving wine to one of these places may affect your revenues, lifestyle or both.

a styrofoam wine shipper

In this article, we share tips on how you can move liquor bottles to your new place on your own without the headache.


Make an Alcohol Inventory

In our blog, “Money-Saving Tips: 20 Easy Ways to Cut Moving Costs,” we mentioned that decluttering is one of the first things you should do when preparing to relocate. It lets you get rid of unimportant stuff that you don’t want to waste your moving dollars on. Additionally, it lets you inspect your belongings and find out which ones are worth keeping.

Wine bottles are heavy and add to your moving weight and costs. When you survey your things, identify which ones you’d rather keep and those that need to go. Eliminate as much of your moving weight as possible.


Downsize Your Personal Collection

Start the alcohol bulk pruning from your personal collection. Here, you have three groups to consider: the unwanted booze cluster, half-empty bottles and your untouched favorite wine collection.

Unwanted booze usually comes in the form of gifts from people who don’t really know your taste. Don’t hesitate to get rid of them if you’ve never even thought of opening them on your birthday. Part ways with undesired liquor by giving them away to your old neighbors, selling them at a garage sale or serving them at your going away party.

Half-empty bottles must be consumed entirely or thrown away before you relocate. If you feel bad about discarding them, have one drink every dinner time or serve them to the people who help you pack.

As for your favorite wine collection, you must ask yourself if it is worth a fortune or passing on to your kids. If it’s not very pricey, sell it, drink it or give it away. You can always replace it in the next town you move to. But if it’s worth much more, by all means, plan for its packing.


Sell Your Products Now

If you run a liquor business, you should sell and ship as much of your merchandise as possible before the big day. Have your fresh stocks sent to your new place. If you’re anticipating a delay and using transportable storage, have your shipment delivered instead at one of your carrier’s authorized drop-off points. You can pick it up there when you’re ready.

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Deal with Local Restrictions

This is a cinch for liquor business owners. A liquor license makes it easy for them to transport alcohol across city and state lines. Of course, the assumption is that they will never choose to move to a community forbidding the trade of alcoholic beverages. If that is the case, all they need to do is ensure that their liquor license remains valid in the town they’re relocating to.

What about home business owners who do not have a liquor license?

Without a liquor license, transporting alcohol in the US is legally risky for anybody. Each state and town has its own liquor restrictions and allowances. Very conservative communities do not even permit its entry, let alone its consumption. So check to see if you can lawfully move booze into your new county.


Use the Right Packaging Materials

After determining which wine bottles to take, you should make a packing strategy and gather the right materials. Here, you have three choices.

  • Corrugated cardboard box with a Styrofoam wine shipper, sold online and in packaging supplies stores. Boxes for 6 and 12 bottles are widely available. Their main disadvantage is their price, which can range anywhere from $30 to $40.
  • A cell box, which has a corrugated cardboard exterior and cardboard dividers. Professional movers may offer them for $12-15 a set. However, local wineries will sell them at much lower prices or give them to you at no cost. Standard size boxes can hold up to 15 wine bottles. You can line each cell with some newsprint paper or packing foam for added protection, but avoid over-packing the box.
  • A sturdy—preferably new—cardboard box without dividers. This one, however, requires liberal amounts of bubble wrap. The wine transport industry allows this kind of packaging only if 2” layers of bubble wrap are applied around each bottle. You may reinforce the bottom with a 3” cushion made of newsprint paper, bubble wrap or packing foam to absorb road transport impact.

In our blog, “Packaging Tips: How Small Businesses Can Securely Package Items for Shipping,” we mentioned that, when packing breakable items together, they must be positioned vertically inside the shipping box. The same is true when packing wine bottles for relocation. Doing so minimizes clashing between the glass containers and the risk of breakage. Also, you should place your bottles upright to put them in the most stable position during transport.

Don’t forget to support the bottom of the wine box with enough packing tape to prevent its contents from falling. Two or three layers, applied in an H-pattern to close gaps, are usually enough.

wine box


Take Advantage of Moving Labels

Like all your other belongings, you need to label your wine boxes, too. If you have people helping you haul your stuff, labels tell them how to handle moving boxes properly. 

  • Moving labels are the best for boxes you intend to reuse later. They typically come in sets, with labels pre-assigned to each room. They also come with fragile stickers and blank tags. You can fill out the latter to label your wine boxes and make this-side-up stickers. Besides their convenience, moving labels are peelable, so they will not ruin your boxes or delicate furniture.
  • If you prefer to make a color-coding scheme of your own, sheet labels are your perfect alternatives. Just download a template you like, customize and print away!

To ensure that your labels remain visible to the movers, stick one on all sides and at the top. If you have more than one liquor box, write brief descriptions beside each one’s top label so you can easily tell them apart when you unpack.

Looking for Color Coded Moving Labels and Fragile Stickers for Packing and Shipping?


Find a Good Loading Place for Your Wine Box

Your liquor box must be in a place where it can remain in position during transport and away from falling or shifting heavy objects. 

  • Lay it flat on the floor as much as possible. Avoiding stacking this heavy package on top of lighter or unstable loads, as well as surfaces where it can slip and fall.
  • Do not put heavy equipment or furniture on top of it.
  • Keep your wine box away from frames, rugs and other heavy objects that can shift during transport and fall on top of it.
  • Put your liquor box away from swinging doors, which can damage it once they close. Also, the box may shift toward such doors during transport. It can fall the moment you open those doors.

Avoiding wine bottle breakage leaves you with less wasted alcohol and less to clean up.


Consider Expanding Your Insurance Coverage

If your wine collection is worth moving, it should also be worth a little more insurance coverage.

Moving companies will insure your belongings for $0.60 per pound. Other services may offer more or less, depending on the add-ons you choose. Whatever moving services you end up getting, ask if they will cover your liquor collection. If they won’t, consider paying for additional insurance.


Keep Checking Your Portable Storage Container

If you are using portable storage and need to postpone your unpacking for some reason, you should check your wine box every once in a while. Make sure it remains undamaged and in place. Reposition it if you need to. You can also consider taking it to your new place before you unload your other belongings.


Keep Them Closed for another Week

Lastly, when you’ve moved your wine bottles, leave them unopened for a week. This allows the volatile components, such as alcohol and flavors, to settle. Opening them right away will let these ingredients escape, leaving you with flat-tasting liquor.

If you think that doing a DIY move of your wine bottles may be too much for you to handle, you may try other alternatives. First, you can hire a moving company and just let them do their thing. Second, you may use services that specialize in moving wines. Third, you may ship them through an alcohol carrier if you have a liquor license. All these will make your move pricier, but they will help ensure that your precious collection is safe.

packing and moving wine bottles


In summary, moving wine bottles can be quite a challenge for home business owners because of the items’ fragility. To complicate the task further, one needs to be mindful of laws barring the free transport of alcohol in dry counties. Here, we just shared a guide that addresses both concerns for DIY movers. Safe DIY transport tips and alternatives have also been presented.

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