Guide to Boxing and Moving Wine and Other Alcohol

Wine bottles in a moving box ready to ship
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

If you have wine or liquor to move to your new home, it's a good idea to ensure the bottles are properly packed so that you don't lose any of your stock. While it may seem simple to move, bottles can break easily if not packed well.  This guide can also be used to ship your wine or alcohol across the country or fly it to another location. 

Check Your Inventory of What Needs to Get Packed and Moved

Check your inventory and determine what you want to keep before you start packing. Liquor and wine bottles are heavy and if you're paying per pound to move them, consider what is worth moving and what isn't. If you're moving a long distance and don't want to pay to move all your bottles, then consider giving some away to friends and family - it makes a great gift. 

Get the Right Packing Supplies

If you don't have too much to move or if your wine or liquor is valuable and you want to make sure nothing breaks during the move, I suggest purchasing a specialty wine shipping box. Most couriers will sell them, in particular, if you live in a wine region like I do. Check with your local UPS or FedEx.

Wine boxes are available in different sizes that will hold either 6 bottles or 12.  Included in the box are Styrofoam dividers that keep the bottles in place while protecting them from bumping against one another. While expensive, these boxes will ensure your bottles arrive without breaking.

If you're not worried about shipping your wine or bottles of alcohol, then save some money by buying cell boxes -- moving boxes that have cardboard dividers to separate the bottles. You can either purchase cell boxes or visit your local liquor store to pick up free boxes. Unlike used boxes that you might get from a grocery store, used liquor boxes are usually clean and sturdy.

You'll also need packing tape, packing paper (if you're not using a wine shipping box) and a marker for labeling.

Make sure the bottom of the moving box is secure. 

If the bottom of the box feels flimsy, you can try lining it with a piece of thick, stiff cardboard. Secure your box well. Reinforce it with packing tape. Check your box to make sure it will hold the weight. Don't use a box that is too worn or damaged in any way.

Wrap Each Bottle

If you haven't purchased a wine shipping box, then you'll need to wrap each bottle to keep it safe and secure.

Place a stack of packing paper on a flat working surface.

If you're packing opened bottles, ensure they are properly sealed by tightening the caps.

Place a bottle on its side perpendicular to the corner of the top sheet of paper. Leave enough room at the corner to be able to start wrapping the bottle.

Select two to three sheets of paper and wrap it around the bottle, rolling the bottle as you push forward.

Wrap the ends of the paper into the roll as you go. For wine bottles, mold the bottle's neck as you roll to ensure it's tightly wrapped.

Secure the wrapping with tape and make sure there are no loose ends.

Box up the Wine and Liquor Bottles

Place each wrapped bottle into the cell-divided box, making sure the bottom of each bottle is well protected.  Once the box is full, gently shake it to see if you hear any bottles clanging together. If the bottles are moving around too much, add extra packing paper or use other materials to fill the gaps.

Tape the Box

Once you're happy that the bottles are safe and secure, tape the box closed using packing tape. Also make sure you label the box with its contents and mark it as fragile, too. 

Load the Box

If you're moving yourself, make sure you place liquor boxes on the moving truck bed's floor rather than stacking them on top of furniture or other boxes. Not only are they heavy and can damage other stuff if they fall, but also break even though you packed each box well.

Just be smart about how you load the truck, and your wine and alcohol will arrive safely.