Moving Your Wine Collection: London Premier Home Moves

Really good wine is one of the world’s oldest and simplest pleasures. It’s also a famously temperamental thing. Light and heat, humidity and even vibration can permanently alter the taste of a wine. This means that moving your wine collection is a very delicate undertaking, requiring the right materials, logistics and, above all, planning. Careless handling won’t just break a few bottles – it might well ruin your entire stock.

In this post, we’ll lay out the basic rules you should follow when transporting your wine collection. With thought and care, even your most precious bottles can reach your new home safe and sound.

Take stock

As with any valuable collection, it’s important to make an inventory of your wine before you move. This will allow you to plan your relocation as carefully as possible. It’s also crucial for insurance purposes. If your collection is particularly big or expensive, you might even want to consider a specialist insurance policy.

Depending on your needs, it may be advisable to have an expert wine appraiser sort through and value your collection. You should certainly keep a photo record of each bottle so you can check that every one is present and correct at each stage of the moving process.

Sort your storage

If you’re a serious wine lover, no doubt you’ve already scoped out the cellar situation at your new property. If you haven’t, you should certainly do so before you begin planning your move.

It’s best to organise your storage area well in advance so that you know exactly where each of your bottles needs to go. This is also the time to buy and set up any additional storage you’re going to need, and put in place any measures to regulate the atmospheric conditions in your new cellar. Your wine inventory will help here, too.

Plan your move

You might already have decided to use a specialist removal company, like Cadogan Tate, with extensive experience and expertise in relocating delicate and valuable objects. In this case, you should make sure you talk to your removal company about your wine collection and furnish them with any information they need. This should include your inventory and valuation.

If you’ve chosen this route, congratulations! You can let the specialists handle everything while you concentrate on the fun part – settling into your new home. However, if you’re determined to carry out the relocation yourself, you’ll need to plan it very carefully.

You’ll already know that vibration can affect the quality of wine – and smashed bottles are of course a distressing and expensive risk. It’s a good idea, therefore, to follow the same rule that applies to other delicate items such as antique furniture and artworks. Keep handling to a minimum, plan your route to avoid hazards, and make sure you have multiple people on the job. It’s also important to make sure everyone involved uses correct lifting and handling techniques to avoid injuries and accidents. It isn’t just wine bottles that can break.

Pack well, pack safely

You might be asking yourself: how do I pack my wine for a move? If you’re going it alone, it’s best to buy specialist wine packing kits with inserts to keep your bottles immobile and protected from shock and impact. Boxes should be clearly marked as fragile and labelled to indicate which side should be upright at all times.

Wine lovers and industry experts disagree over whether it’s actually necessary to store wine on its side to keep the cork from drying out. What is absolutely certain is that extreme or fluctuating temperatures can irredeemably damage your wine. Dependent on the weather and the ambient temperature in your location(s), you may be able to get away with transporting your wine in a normal air-conditioned van, especially if your collection is relatively small. However, it may be necessary to hire a special climate-controlled vehicle.

If you’re not going directly from your new home to your old one, your wine will need to be stored along with the rest of your possessions. But you can’t just put it in with all your other boxes. A specialist wine storage facility will ensure that your bottles are kept at just the right temperature and humidity level.

Check the paperwork

If you’re moving between countries, whether to or from London, you may have to deal with customs and various regulations. Before making concrete arrangements, it’s important to establish the logistics, legalities and potential costs of relocating your wine collection internationally. Needless to say, a specialist relocation company can save you considerable headaches in this regard.

Take some time

So you’ve planned your move, set up your cellar, packed your wine and brought it to your new home. Now all you have to do is unpack it and perhaps reward yourself with a glass or two. Right?

Not quite. In fact, it’s extremely important to let your wine rest before you open any of it. No matter how careful you are, it’s rarely, if ever possible to avoid all shaking or jolting when you transport wine over a long distance, for instance during relocation. This shaking can temporarily dull the taste of the wine and ruin the drinking experience: a phenomenon called bottle shock.

The standard rule of thumb is to let your wine rest for a week, at least, for every day it has spent in transit. Give it adequate time to recover, and your chosen bottle will be back to top quality by the time you open it.

Transporting wine is a complex and delicate operation. If you’re planning to move your wine collection alone, following the rules above will help you to keep your valuable bottles safe, whole and in great condition.

At Cadogan Tate, we have over forty years of experience in specialist removals, whether that’s fine wine, fine art, musical instruments, or antique furniture. If you’re looking for expert assistance with your London premier home move, why not contact our home removals team in central London for a free bespoke quotation?