Whether you are a wine supplier, connoisseur, collector or just amateur enthusiast, if you are planning on moving your wine you need to consider how to do it safely. This is particularly important if your wine collection has a significant monetary value.
Determining the value of your collectionIt really isn’t rocket science, but most enthusiasts and collectors will already have a very good idea of the value of their collection and have it insured accordingly. As with most things of value, it is important to find an insurance company specializing in this type of asset. If you are not aware of how much your wine costs and think it might have a significant value then ask a local wine merchant to advise you. They will be able to give you an accurate real time appraisal and you can decide whether insuring your collection is worthwhile or not.
Before any planned move and particularly if your wine collection is substantial, it would be wise to have a complete inventory list of all the wine including details of where and when it was purchased, the price paid and appropriate photos. This is important for your insurance company and the insurance provider for your moving company.
Packing your wine collectionThe best way to pack individual bottles of wine is in a specialized wine box or you can purchase bottle dividers that can be placed in a cardboard box. The rule of thumb is to try to pack wine upright and separate it well from other bottles. If the wine is packed in a crate then you generally do not need any additional packing materials, as the crate should be sturdy enough on its own.
If you are planning on traveling back with one or two bottles of wine/spirits in your suitcase, then some simple precautions are necessary.
- Put the bottle inside a resealable plastic bag.
- Roll it up inside a pair of jeans or jumper – anything to pad it out.
- Pack it in the centre of the bag or suitcase and ensure it does not touch the sides, particularly if you have a hard suitcase or one with a handle or frame.
Transporting your collectionIf you are flying back with your wine you will be at the mercy of your airline and enthusiastic baggage handlers! However, if you follow some of the simple tips above then you should have no problems, wine bottles are actually pretty tough!
For expensive collections, specialist moving and transportation will be required. To ensure value and quality, wine in particular, needs to be kept at a reasonably constant temperature and not overly agitated. It is really important that you choose your removal company well. They need to be familiar with moving high value and potentially perishable items.
Dealing with Customs and ImmigrationWhere you are moving to is important as some countries place restrictions on the movement of alcohol and you will definitely need help with the importation process in these countries.
Generally speaking, most countries allow the personal import of alcohol including wine. Certain conditions apply and these are related to the strength of the alcohol/wine, whether or not it is intended for resale and whether or not you will be accompanying it. It can all get a bit complex so make sure you have researched the country of importation well before arrival!
If you are flying, the limit is often only 2 liters (so not much of a wine collection), or 90 liters (although this can vary a lot between countries) if you are driving. Limits over these amounts will likely incur Excise Duty and Value Added Tax. If you have a considerable collection then it would be wise to talk to an expert moving company and/or go directly to the Customs and Excise department of the country of importation. Some countries such as those in the Middle East have more rigorous restrictions on the importation of alcohol in any form, so again make sure you do your research or get help.