In the moving world, a good rule of thumb is to ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.  On a recent move, one of our sales representatives encountered this rule first hand, but went above and beyond to accommodate the customer.  When performing a survey, there are always nooks and crannies in homes as well as storage units that can be missed or overlooked.  Sometimes even the most experienced sales representative can complete a thorough survey, but might ultimately miss something that could cause a problem on the day of the load.

 In this instance, our sales representative overlooked a few boxes that contained bottles of wine that had been opened. On loading day, the driver found the boxes and informed the customer that they were unable to move them.  Under normal circumstances, disposing of open alcohol is not a big deal, but for this particular customer the bottles were extremely important.  Why?  Because the contents were heirlooms from when their family had owned a winery! So what do you do in this situation?  Well, our sales representative, after coordinating with the customer, picked up the heirloom wine and decided to store them at the representative’s home until they were able to make arrangements at a later date with the customer to move the remaining boxes personally.

All’s well that ends well, but this is not always the case. So what’s the take away from a situation like this?  For the sales representative, it’s to always be meticulous when it comes to surveying a customer’s home.  For the customer, it’s knowing all the information needed to safely transport wine, and knowing what can and cannot be transported in the first place.

Let’s face it, moving wine can always be a bit tricky. So we at Blackhawk Moving & Storage decided to ask one of our experienced move coordinators for some tips on how to best prepare wine for transport, and here’s what they had to say.


Have your high-value collection appraised by a qualified person. Appraisal fees vary widely from area to area. Appraisers charge either an hourly rate or a flat fee. The best way to locate a wine appraiser is through a local wine merchant who keeps abreast of current values on certain vintages.

  • Photograph your collection to document its contents.
  • Let your moving representative know you will be moving wine or other high-value items
  • Special arrangements may be necessary to ensure your collection will reach its destination safely.

You will need to complete the High-Value Inventory Form to assure that your collection is not limited to minimal liability. The form will be provided by your sales representative during the pre-move survey. Your mover will explain the protection plans from which you may choose. Replacement protection offered by most major moving companies affords you the best possible coverage against loss or damage in transit. If you choose United’s Full Value Coverage Plan, we recommend that you provide copies of the appraisal to your sales representatives.

Legal Considerations

Check with the alcohol beverage control authorities in your destination state before you move. Some states have restrictions governing the amount of alcohol that can be brought in for personal use.


Most wine experts agree the older the wine, the more delicate its flavor.

  • Extreme changes in the temperature may affect the taste and appearance of your wine
  • The best temperature for storing and transporting wine is 55 degrees.
  • White wines and less expensive “supermarket” brands are less susceptible to damage by temperature.

For a small, manageable collection, we recommend transporting the collection by car, where atmospheric conditions can be better controlled. A climate-controlled wine carrier can be used to move a very large or rare collection with additional costs. However, these arrangements must be made early and the additional costs may be more than you wish to spend. Ask your United agent for details.

The best time to move your collection is early spring or late fall. The temperature in the van during the summer months can be very high, and in the winter there is the possibility of the wine becoming slushy, which can alter the flavor. If your move must take place in the summer or winter months, you may want to consider moving your collection with a specialty wine carrier. If you want the wine to be professionally packed and moved, consult your mover for details.


Take care to prepare your wine for the move. United has specially designed boxes to pack fragile items. If you plan to do the packing yourself, boxes may be purchased from your local United agent.

  • Corked wines should be placed on their sides or upside down in the packing container to keep the corks wet.
  • Do not pack bottles that have been opened.
  • Label the box FRAGILE - THIS SIDE UP.

Even if you use extreme care in packing your wine, “bottle shock” may occur from the wine shaking within the bottle as it is moved. If opened too soon, a loss of flavor may result. To prevent this, be sure to allow the bottles to rest at your destination at least seven days for every day your shipment is in transit.

There’s a lot to consider when transporting wine, and Blackhawk Moving & Storage want to make sure that you have to tools to savor every last drop! For more helpful moving tips or to get a free quote on your next move, go to: