The Bekins Blog

Tips on Moving With Your Wine Collection

June 1, 2023 | Moving Guides & Tips

Wine bottles in a row.

As a wine connoisseur, you can appreciate a rich glass of Merlot or a buttery Chardonnay. Over the years, you’ve visited some of the best wineries and purchased quality vino from around the world. As a result, you’ve assembled an impressive collection of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and beyond.

Unfortunately, the collection goes from impressive to cumbersome when it comes time to move. Of course, you don’t want to toss your bottles in the backseat of a car or throw them into a moving van, willy-nilly. You need to take care of your wine, otherwise you may end up with a lifetime supply of vinegar. Use our tips to protect your investment and keep your collection in grape shape:

How to Safely Move Your Wine Collection in Six Steps

1. Appraise Your Collection

Wine bottle graphic with the words "what's your vino's value?"
Quality wine doesn’t come cheap. If you don’t know how much your wine collection is worth, talk to a qualified appraiser. The appraiser can determine the worth of each bottle and calculate your collection as a whole. 

The final appraisal will help you choose the right insurance policy or protection plan for your wine collection. Should your wine suffer damage during relocation, this will give you an easier time filing a claim for compensation. 

2. Take Photos of Your Inventory 

Camera graphic with the words "say cheese (and wine)!"

As you begin the packing process, you may have a hard time keeping your Riesling separate from your Rosé. To maintain an accurate inventory, take photos of the label on each bottle as well as the entire box or crate you place the bottle in. 

If you want to record additional details about your collection, consider downloading apps such as CellarTracker or VinoCell. These apps will let you scan your wine’s UPC barcode or manually enter specifics about each bottle so you can track your wine with ease.

3. Call Your Moving Company 

Phone graphic with the words "merlot, malbec, moving oh my!"

Even though you trust your moving company, it may not be ideal for them to move your wine, especially across the country. Give your moving company a call and tell them about your wine collection. 

  • Ask them if they ship alcohol 
  • Ask if they have custom crates or cell-divided boxes for your wine bottles 
  • Request a storage space with temperature control, if necessary 

Your moving company may recommend and coordinate a company that specializes in only moving wine.

4. Avoid Extreme Temperature Swings

wine bottle graphic with the words "too hot, too cold, just right"

It is extremely important to keep your wine around 55 degrees Fahrenheit during your move. Here’s why: 

Wine in Warm Temperatures

Warmer temperatures cause the wine to expand more rapidly than the rest of the bottle. As the internal pressure increases, small amounts of the wine’s bouquet escape through the cork.

Wine in Cooler Temperatures

In contrast, cooler temperatures slow the oxidation process. If you store your wine at a colder temperature, you delay the wine’s maturation by several years, and in some cases, the wine never achieves its full character.

If you don’t have access to a temperature-controlled moving vehicle or storage facility, consider moving during the spring or fall. 

5. Research State Regulations

Grape graphic with the words "know your grape guidelines".

If you’re planning on moving across the country, you’ll want to do some research on alcohol transportation. Some states penalize those who bring alcohol for personal use across state lines. 

Pennsylvania, for example, prohibits you from transporting alcohol into the state, with few exceptions. Only members of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, those with an importer’s or direct shipper’s license, or those with a sacramental wine license can transport wine into the state.

6. Allow Your Wine to Rest After the Move

Wine bottle and glass with the words "don't pop the cork just yet".

As a wine ages, the phenolic molecules combine to form tannin polymers. This solid matter gradually falls to the side of the bottle, forming a thin layer of sediment. When you shake the bottle during packing or shipping, you disturb the sediment in the bottle. The flecks floating in your glass will taste bitter, interfering with the wine’s fruity flavor.

After a move, you’ll need to let your wine rest and allow the sediment to settle once more. Although experts debate how long the rest period should last, you should wait at least a week before you open and decant the sediment. For older wines, you may want to wait a few months to let the bottle completely clear up.

Let’s Raise a Glass to a Stress-Free Move—Contact Bekins Today! 

We hope our tips make moving your wine collection a little easier… But wine not let the pros handle your move? Bekins Van Lines can move your wine collection and the rest of your belongings in one fell swoop. Get in touch with Bekins Van Lines today to get started with your hassle-free move!

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