Packing your wine for transit

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the challenges faced by us (and anyone else in the UK who is involved in the wine trade but doesn’t have their own distribution network) is the unfortunate way that most mainstream couriers manage to break bottles in transit from time to time. The ideal solution is to use a specialist courier and/or expensive polystyrene packaging. Unfortunately this isn’t always an option so I’ve decided to put together some guidelines for anyone sending bottles to us for sale, or indeed to other people who’ve bought wine from you.

1. Ensure your bottles can’t move in transit:

Wine bottles have 3 main weak points you need to be aware of – these are the seam around their bottom, the bottom edge and the neck. If the bottle can move around in transit then one of these points will probably be where the damage happens. This can be overcome by wrapping your bottles in bubble wrap, placing the bottles in to a compartmentalised wine box (easily acquired from supermarkets or companies such as PacknMove ) and then putting packing material on top of the bottles. The pictures below show this.
A wrapped bottle
Bottle in the box
The bottle topped with padding
2. Pack your wine in a box and then box that box
However well your wine is protected within the box it’s in there’s still the issue that a single cardboard box isn’t very strong – especially if you’re sending 6 or 12 bottles. When I pack wine up for distribution I pack it in to a standard wine box (see picture below details) and then ensure this box is securely packed within a second, much larger box. This large box should then be filled with polychips, fine shredded paper or similar. The trick is to make sure the inner box is well padded from all directions and is held in place by the padding material so it doesn’t move in transit. See the graphic below for an example.
A boxed box.
3. Other Points

-Bubble wrap alone doesn’t protect bottles – it doesn’t fill gaps between bottles to stop them moving around.
-Mark your package to show which way is up. This can avoid corks working loose when bottles are shipped upside down. This is a rare problem which occasionally affects old bottles. If it happens though, the results aren’t pretty.


2 Responses to “Packing your wine for transit”

  1. Packaging and delivering wine so that it arrives intact need not be a problem, but it does require care and proper packaging, for which there can be no shortcuts in terms of cost. If you have to deliver a single bottle of wine worth several hundred pounds, the cost of a polystyrene transit pack at around £2.00 shouldn’t be prohibitive.

    We use the Winebox Company for all of our packaging and have virtually no issues with breakage. They will supply in small quantities to private individulas – you don’t need to be a trade customer.

  2. Hi David.

    You’re undoubtedly right – when we’re sending wine out directly we use the Winebox Company’s specialist cardboard packaging as it’s better for re-use and has the advantage of being compostable. I’ve been very impressed at how well this kit works (you can drop a bottle in the single pack from 10″ up on to solid concrete without breaking it – not that I’d recommend it). We do use Polystyrene for export shipping though.

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