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How to Ship Wine Bottles

How to Ship Wine Bottles

If you have a wine business and want to start selling across borders, then knowing how to ship them is vital. You can't just pack all your wine bottles in a shipping box and expect them to stay intact when you arrive. Since glass is fragile, you need to pack it properly to ensure that nothing cracks and breaks. In this guide, we'll show you how.

Is It Possible to Ship Wine Across Borders?


man and woman clinking wine glasses on top of a box
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It depends on where you plan to ship to. Each country has its own rules about importing alcohol, which can include limits on the amount you can send, taxes and duties that must be paid, and specific labeling requirements. For instance, in the U.S., the rules can vary by state, with some states allowing direct-to-consumer shipments and others prohibiting them entirely. Make sure to research the specific laws of the destination country or state to ensure you comply.

Also, you'll need to work with licensed wine shippers to transport alcohol. These services are familiar with the legal requirements and can often help you handle the necessary paperwork and logistics.

How to Ship Wine Bottles

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to ship alcohol:

Step 1: Pack Wine Bottles Individually


hands bursting bubble wrap
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Package wine bottles individually. Use bubble wrap to cover the entire bottle. Secure the bubble wrap with tape so that it stays in place during transit. Make sure to cover every part of the bottle, including the bottom and the neck, which are particularly vulnerable. Bubble wrap helps absorb shock and prevent the bottles from breaking if they are accidentally knocked or dropped.

Step 2: Choose the Right Shipping Box with Inserts


bottles packed in a box
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Select a sturdy cardboard box that's designed specifically for shipping wine. These boxes come with cardboard or foam inserts that fit snugly around each wine bottle. Make sure the box is the correct size for the number of bottles you're shipping—if it's too big, the bottles may shift; if too small, they might be squeezed.

Step 3: Fill Up Empty Spaces


wrapped item with packing peanuts
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Once you've placed the bottles in the box with inserts, fill up any empty spaces between the bottles with packing materials. Use packing peanuts, crumpled paper, or additional bubble wrap to ensure there is no room for the bottles to shift or move within the box. Check the box by gently shaking it; you shouldn’t hear the bottles moving. If you do, add more packing material until everything is tightly packed. Don't forget the close the box and seal it with packing tape.

Step 4: Double Box the Bottles


hands holding up box
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After securing the bottles in the first box, place it inside a larger second box for extra protection. Make sure there is a gap of at least a few inches between the inner and outer boxes. Fill this space with more packing material, like bubble wrap or packing peanuts, to absorb shocks and vibrations during shipping.

Step 5: Seal and Label


hand sticking label and fragile sticker
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Cover all seams and flaps with packing tape on the top and bottom of the boxes to prevent them from opening during transit. After sealing, clearly label the package. Include a "Fragile" label and an "This Side Up" indicator to encourage careful handling.

Also, make sure the recipient's address is visible and correct. If required by the shipping regulations of the destination, also include an inventory list or a declaration of the contents outside the box.

Step 6: Choose the Right Shipping Carrier


happy man and woman standing outside delivery van
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Research and select a shipping company experienced in handling fragile items like wine bottles. Verify that the carrier is licensed to transport alcohol and there's a proper alcohol shipping agreement, especially if shipping across state or international borders. Compare service options and rates; consider factors such as transit time, tracking capabilities, and insurance coverage. Opt for a carrier that offers temperature-controlled shipping if your wine needs to be kept within a specific temperature range. Some common carriers include the United States Postal Service, FedEx, etc.

What Other Alcoholic Beverages Can You Ship?


alcohol bottles laying on a wooden table
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Besides wine, you can ship other alcoholic beverages, including beer, spirits, and liqueurs. Each type of alcohol has its own packaging needs and legal requirements for shipping:

  • Beer: Similar to wine, beer should be packaged in sturdy boxes with dividers to prevent bottles and cans from clashing. Use bubble wrap or foam inserts for additional protection. Since beer is often less expensive than wine or spirits, ensure your shipping method is cost-effective.
  • Spirits: Spirits such as vodka, whiskey, and rum typically come in sturdier bottles but still require careful packing. They may be subject to higher taxes and stricter regulations due to their higher alcohol content. Always check destination laws, as some regions have specific restrictions on shipping high-proof alcohol.
  • Liqueurs: These often come in uniquely shaped bottles, making them challenging to pack. Use customized inserts or extra bubble wrap to accommodate unusual shapes and prevent movement within the box.

For all these beverages, make sure to declare them accurately when shipping alcohol, particularly for international destinations, and choose a licensed carrier that understands how to handle alcohol shipments responsibly and legally.

Tips and Tricks


wine bottle packed in boxes
Credit: Envato Elements/ joaquincorbalan

Here are some tips and tricks when shipping wine:

  • If shipping internationally, research import regulations and taxes for alcohol in the destination country to avoid delays or customs clearance issues.
  • In case of unexpected delays or extended transit times, consider using insulated shipping containers or cold packs to maintain optimal temperature conditions for wine shipments.
  • Keep an eye on tracking updates and be prepared to communicate with the shipping carrier if there are any issues or concerns during transit.
  • If shipping during peak holiday seasons or busy periods, schedule your wine shipment in advance to ensure timely delivery and avoid potential bottlenecks in the shipping process.


Shipping wine bottles requires careful attention to packaging, labeling, and choosing the right shipping carrier. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your wine bottles arrive safely and securely at their destination.

For an added layer of protection, consider using Nice Packs. These insulated boxes are designed to keep your wine at the perfect temperature throughout its journey, making them an excellent choice for preserving quality from your cellar to your customer's doorstep. Shop with us today. 

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