Moving wine from one place to another isn't always an easy task, especially when you factor in packaging, customs and legal restrictions. We've put together a quick guide to shipping wine to get you started with the help of ParcelHero.
No matter what you're sending, finding the right box should always be the first step. You should always purchase a new box with every shipment — although old boxes may look sturdy, any weaknesses in the structure could lead to the contents being damaged.
The box should be at least double- or triple-corrugated for protection. Be sure to properly measure the bottles and choose a box with enough space for both the bottles and plenty of packaging material. Our general rule of thumb with boxes is that there should be at least two and a half inches of space on all sides of the contents to ensure that there is enough packaging material to help your shipment arrive intact.
Standard packaging material like polystyrene peanuts aren't suitable for shipping wine, but there are plenty of options. Polystyrene glass bottle shippers are a good choice, as is shaped pulp packaging or cut corrugated containers. It's vital to ensure you use correctly sized packaging materials, and the contents of your package are not free to move around. The more movement there is in the package, the more likely your bottles of wine are to break.
As wine is an alcoholic substance as well as a liquid, and therefore considered a hazardous material, it isn't always straightforward to find a courier. Many couriers will refuse to carry any liquid whatsoever, and others will only carry them under certain conditions. The most important step is to find a courier that you know will carry your wine. There are a range of specialist wine couriers who will know the best way to handle your wine, especially on international shipments. A good provider should be able to advise you of any shipping restrictions to your chosen destination.
If you're not sure whether or not your carrier of choice will ship wine, be sure to check out their prohibited list or get in touch with the customer service team.
Several states within the US have laws that prohibit the delivery of wine. This is a complicated throwback to Prohibition and while it only affects a few states, it has been a much talked-about topic for wine lovers and retailers across the country.
There are severe restrictions on shipping wine to Pennsylvania, Delaware, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah. In addition, there are several states where shipping is prohibited to certain dry counties, including in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Florida and Alaska, and other restrictions apply to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Indiana and Arizona.
If you are shipping to one of these states, it is best to get in touch with a retailer or specialized wine shipping company that will advise you on what you can and can't do.
If you are importing wine into the USA, then you will need to be aware of US customs restrictions and procedures. First of all, it is very important you clearly label the customs invoice with the correct description of your goods. This document will determine how much tax and duty you will need to pay – so ensure it is completed properly and clearly.
If your package has duties or taxes applied, the receiver will be contacted by customs to confirm their tax ID. They will then need to pay the additional costs applied to your parcel. If you want to pay for this yourself then you will need to contact the courier's customer service prior to shipping in order for this to be arranged. This is particularity important if the wine is a gift.
If you are importing the wine as a gift then you will need to mark it on the customs description as such, and it will need to be worth less than $200. It is best to send these to a residential address, as sending it to a business address could infer that it is not a gift, but a standard import.
If your shipment is worth more than $2500 it will be subject to delays as it will need to go through formal clearance.