Wine Shipping: A Necessary Evil

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Wine Shipping: A Necessary Evil

We all know the wine trade is fractured.  Most collectors acquire wine from sources all over the country or the world.  We have not met a collector who does not have to deal with shipping hassles, whether they be timing deliveries to cool weather or breaking up orders to comply with state shipping restrictions.  Fortunately, we enjoy these challenges and below are some ideas that you may not have considered to ease your shipping woes.


1.  Consolidation is your best bet: shipping is a commodity, and volume counts.  Just like Amazon pays less to ship via UPS than a small local store, so goes wine shipping.  Waiting to ship until you have a large order will always reduce the cost.  Even if you are using UPS or Fedex, ask your retailer to give a volume discount.  Even more importantly, orders over 20 cases are usually less expensive to ship via refrigerated truck. While the trucking industry is confusing, many retailers are familiar with the process, as are some storage companies.  If you do not have a large enough order at one store, try to bundle a shipment with friends or other collectors in your area. At Domaine, even 3 and 6 bottle orders can be consolidated since other storage clients have bigger deliveries en route.


2. Wine shops know you shop elsewhere – some collectors are hesitant to have their wine delivered to another facility.  Take for example auctions, where you have wine at Christies and Zachys.  You can save on shipping by having the two orders sent to a common pickup point, or either warehouse.


3. Insurance – The insurance offered by UPS and FEDEX is a poor substitute for real wine insurance.  Not only is the rate very expensive, but they do not cover spoilage. The claims process is byzantine and any number of minor technicalities can disqualify your claim.  Proper wine insurance will cover your shipments much more comprehensively.  Make sure to watch sublimits for transit, as they can be all or only a part of your total collection value.  Also, for spoilage or extremes of temperature, you must use a refrigerated carrier. To learn more about wine shipping insurance visit our wine insurance partner, InsureYourWine.


4. Consider storage in another city – Given the chance, we would all like to have every treasured bottle at home.  Given that this is not possible for many collectors, the next best thing is usually local storage.  However, for wines that will not be consumed for years, investment wines or bottles you intend to sell at auction, consider a storage account at a facility near where your largest purchases are made.  You may be able to drastically cut shipping costs, and be closer to market when it comes time to sell.


5. Outsource – all the the above steps can be done by any collector, but take time and patience.  Clients have told us that even after outsourcing their shipping and logistics to us, the final cost to them is a fraction of what they had been paying to use big brown or expected to pay us for our services. Learn more about our wine shipping solutions, here.

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