There are a few common mistakes businesses make when shipping wine. This blog post will outline five of the most common wine shipping mistakes and provide tips for avoiding them. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that you’re doing your bit to ensure your wine arrives in perfect condition!

1. Not packaging the wine properly

One of the most common wine shipping mistakes is not packaging the wine properly. Wine is a delicate product that needs to be bubble wrapped and placed in a sturdy box to ensure that it does not break during shipping and retains its quality.

Changes in temperatures

Wine shipments must overcome a unique set of circumstances – sensitivity to heat and cold. When you open a wine that has been kept too warm, it will taste cooked. Similarly, if a wine becomes too cold, its flavour development is temporarily halted, or it might freeze. Both hot and cold environments may cause the cork to expand and compress, causing it to oxidise prematurely.

When wine is kept cold for an extended time and shipped, the vibrations that occur naturally due to transport may cause the flavour to fade and only remain for days or weeks. Vibration can be reduced by utilising specialised packaging, which absorbs a portion of the “bottle shock“.

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Internal packaging

It is essential to insulate your wine bottles so that they do not break during shipping. Bubble wrapping wine is a great way to do this. You can also invest in individual styrofoam casing that wraps around each bottle. Place the bottles inside the smallest box holding them, leaving no extra room to shift around once they’ve been appropriately wrapped. If there is space, ensure other protective materials are surrounding them, such as tissue or cartons. Ensure your box has:

  • Additional flaps at the base to run the extent of the length and width of the box (three-tier protection on base).
  • Stem stabilisers to stop bottleneck movement when packaging is in transit or handled.
  • Dividers that isolate each bottle individually.

If you’re planning to ship wine internationally or in bulk, you would put these smaller boxes into a larger cardboard box.

External packaging

The type of box you use is also essential. A sturdy cardboard is the most common material used for external wine boxes. To protect the wine bottles in transit, cover them with polystyrene sheets and add another layer of cardboard to the outside of the larger cardboard box for additional shock absorption. Ensure you fill up any empty space. You should also cover the bottom of your box with extra-heavy, water-activated tape for added reinforcement and gently tilt your box to test its durability.

2. Ignoring seasons

You can transport your wine any time of the year without risking spoilage using proper insulation and temperature-controlled trucks. Spring and Autumn are the optimal seasons during the year to transport wine as the climate is temperate, that is, not too hot and not too cold. This should give you greater peace of mind! If your wine isn’t adequately cooled or if your delivery is delayed, it at least will not be exposed to overly hot or cold temperatures.

If you need to send it in either Summer or Winter, here are some tips to maximise your wine bottles’ safety:


You’ll need a heated shipping facility with relatively quick truck deliveries for successful Winter delivery. If your wine is stored during winter, ensure it’s at least 40 degrees Celsius inside the warehouse where your shipment will arrive. Your wine may freeze if the temperature drops below 32 degrees Celsius. Also, keep in mind that the shorter the time your wine spends in transit, the less it ages.


You’ll want to take extra precautions with your wine shipment during the summer. Use bubble wrap or styrofoam to insulate your wine bottles and keep them from being exposed to direct sunlight. You should also use a thermal bag or box liner to keep your wine at a consistent temperature.

3. Failing to arrange insurance for your wine shipment

Packaging your wine up is a little more complicated than sending it through the mail. Your package might get lost in the warehouse or even sent to the incorrect address. This is uncommon, but you’ll want to be prepared with a comprehensive insurance plan before your wine leaves.

Your wine shipment is valuable, and you must ensure it’s protected in case of damage or loss. Shipping insurance will give you peace of mind and protect your investment.

Additionally, ensuring your package arrives in the right hands is important. To safeguard your business and the courier company against wine ending up in the wrong hands, couriers must frequently guarantee that they’ve been delivered to the appropriate persons of age with a signature and sometimes ID upon delivery.

4. Failing to label the package properly

Another common mistake is failing to label the package correctly. You need to include a “Fragile” sticker outside the box when shipping wine. This will help ensure that your package is handled with care. You should also have a “This Side Up” arrow to indicate it is a box whose contents need to be kept upright.

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Including the right paperwork

Working with your courier provider to ensure you have the right documents is the most important part of ensuring you have everything you need paperwork-wise to send within New Zealand or overseas.

When shipping wine overseas, you must include the proper paperwork. Different requirements will apply depending on whether you send New Zealand wine or Organic wine. For example, you will need to include a Certificate of Origin (CO), which is a document that certifies where your wine was produced. Read more about export wine requirements.

As with sending any item overseas, you will also need to include a Commercial Invoice, which is a document that provides Customs with information about your shipment, including the nature and the value of the goods being shipped.

There are other documents required under Customs regulations, and it is vital to have a thorough understanding of what’s required. For example, if you’re shipping wine to the U.S., you must include a Customs form. Sometimes the ingredients in your wine prevent it from being classified as such in other countries, depending on their rules and regulations.

5. Choosing the wrong shipping company

When you’re shipping wine, it’s essential to choose a shipping company that has experience moving fragile goods. You need a company that can ensure your shipment is handled carefully and can help provide packaging for your wine to be transported.

We have over 50 years of experience in the delivery industry and are experts in shipping wine. We offer various packaging options to ensure your wine arrives safely, including specifically designed wine packaging from Primepac that also allows you to add your branding to the packaging. Additionally, we offer insurance for your shipment and can provide you with the required documentation for Customs.

Contact us today for more information about shipping wine, or have a chat with your account manager.