A Dream Job: Moving Fine Wines

Katie Smith, January 25, 2019

Moving your collection

Whether you are an enthusiastic collector or well-stocked restaurant; the prospect of moving the contents of a wine cellar can be truly daunting. Fine wines necessitate careful treatment and storage for transportation. Their fragile nature and specific character can be damaged by mishandling, exposure to incorrect lighting levels or fluctuating temperatures. It is always advisable to seek expert help when seeking to move high volumes of valuable fine wines. 

Listing your stock

Enormous monetary value can be accrued via a well-curated wine collection – wine connoisseurs will tell you ‘it is an investment’. You do not want to compromise the quality of the wine resulting in a loss of value (sometimes a single bottle can be worth a fortune). The first step in moving your 'liquid asset' is an accurate inventory. The wine store should be sorted through and its contents listed according to volume and value. It may be wise to have your collection assessed by an experienced sommelier.

Transport restrictions

When you have an accurate handle on your collection’s true size and worth, it is time to consider the journey and destination of your wine. Certain locations may have restrictions on the transport and storage of alcohol. For example, many Middle Eastern countries, and some Indian States, forbid the sale and consumption of alcohol. If you are moving your collection internationally you may wish to avoid moving it through geographies where wine is considered contentious.

Get professional help

The importance of correct, quality packing methods and products cannot be underestimated; after all, these are the protective elements that stand between your wine and a smashed puddle of disaster. Employing the services of a specialist moving company is highly recommended, they will be able to cater for all aspects of the moving process, inclusive of packaging materials. They will also have skilled technicians with the knowledge and skills to pack wine properly.

Packing wine

Expert packers will understand that wine should be packed in such a way that the cork remains wet throughout transport, either horizontally or with the cork at the bottom. Wine should be individually wrapped and packed tightly to minimise “bottle sickness” or “bottle shock” which occurs when fine wines are shaken during transport (aged/delicate wines are particularly susceptible to bottle shock). The wine should also be insulated and travel in temperature-controlled vehicles to reduce damage.

Professional storage

If your collection will be stored for a period of time, specialist moving companies are sometimes able to offer dedicated, secure warehouse facilities for wine. These are purpose-built to house the bottles under optimum conditions; strictly controlled warehouses are technologically state of the art, with regulated lighting and temperature controls. Legitimate, specialist companies will initially assess the collection before carefully acclimatising the wine for storage to ensure a flawless environment.

Unpacking wine

When the wine finally makes it to its new home, it is essential to ensure it is unpacked with as much care and attention as when it was originally wrapped for the move. This should be done methodically in accordance with the inventory, to check for any losses or damage. Most quality, specialist movers will offer insurance options to cover such eventualities, replacing bottles like for like where possible or covering the costs of any accidental breakages.

When your collection is finally and successfully stored in its new location, it is time to celebrate. Why not crack open a bottle and enjoy a glass? Cheers!

Written by Katie Smith, Assoc CIPD, BA Hons | Head of Special Projects - HR, Talent & Content at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd.

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