January 06, 2007

Packing Old Bottles

This chapter is about how to pack old bottles for shipment. One might think that this is an easy thing to do. But, unfortunately, I have received bottles that were packed so badly that they hardly survived - or didn't survive at all. Also a good packing job can reduce the damage if a bottle starts leaking during transport. So the following chapter shows how to pack old bottles for shipment in a secure way. So far none of the bottles packed in this way were broken, even old free-blown bottles survived transatlantic transport.

Securing Of The Bottle Neck
Especially with old bottles that wear a wax cover, it is essential to protect the bottle against leakage during transport. Also these wax covers are very easily broken, so you have to take extra care of them. The same goes for straw covers. I use cellophane to wrap the bottle neck with a few layers. Wrap it in a way that about the half of the cellophane juts out at the top. Then you twist this end a few times and tape it to the bottle neck. Another piece of tape goes around the bottle neck.

After that the whole bottle is put into a plastic bag. This bag is either sealed with a foil-sealer (the kind you use for refrigerator bags) or you seal it with a tight knot. Try to get all the air out of the bag before sealing it. This bag will protect the bottle and its labels from humidity during the transport and also might keep the liquids of a broken or leaking bottle inside to prevent them from affecting any other bottles in the package.

The following pictures show you how to do this:

Wrapping a bottle 1

Wrapping a bottle 2

Wrapping a bottle 3

Packing The Bottle
After putting the bottle into a plastic bag, you might want to wrap it in some layers of bubble-wrap. This depends on how well the bottle fits into the bottle safe. The bottle should not be able to move around inside the bottle safe, but you must not pack it too tightly to avoid putting too much pressure on the bottle.

Bottle and bubble-wrap (note that the wrapping & the bag are missing!)

The bottle is put into a bottle safe i.e. a Styrofoam or cardboard container to transport a bottle. This item usually comes with an additional outer cardboard box.

Bottle safe

Two or more bottle safes are taped together in the most compact way, so they will splint each other.

Taped bottle safes

The bottle safes are again wrapped in a few layers of bubble-wrap which is secured with tape.

Safes in bubble-wrap

Finally the package is wrapped in tough packing paper and some tape or cord is wound around the package. This should do the job for even the roughest transport.

Complete package

(PS: The perfect package shown here was packed by Garrafeira Nacional - good job, guys!)