«

»

Print this Post

Wine Wednesday: Tips for Packing Wine in Luggage

If you’re a regular reader, you know we’re oenophiles. Not only do we love tasting and learning about wine around the world, we love bringing some home to enjoy later! And on occasion friends and my dad end up the recipients of tasty bottles of wine. Wine can be delicate to travel with and you never want to arrive home to your clothes stained burgundy from a broken bottle of red. We regularly get questions on how to air travel with wine, so we’ve put together our tips for packing wine in your luggage:

wine bottles

A small portion of our wine collection from around Europe

Checked Luggage Only

This might seem blatantly obvious, but too many travelers overlook this. Whether it be nostalgia for the days before 9/11 when you could carry bottles – or even cases – of wine on or just total lack of awareness of the TSA prohibited items list, I still see far too many distraught travelers reluctantly handing over their bottles of Dom Pérignon for the TSA agents to drink later. Or worse yet, travelers standing on the other side of the ropes while they guzzle their bottle before boarding the plane.

Liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces are prohibited, with the exception of wine and spirits purchased in duty free shops after passing security. Just be aware that if you are making a flight connection in which you’ll have to re-enter security, you won’t be able to bring duty free wine through with you when re-screened. This happens particularly if you are flying international and then connecting to a domestic flight.

Checked Bottle Limits

Nearly all wine contains less than 24% alcohol, so there is no TSA-regulated quantity limit for wine in your checked bag. Check the TSA website for any changes to this policy before you travel. Individual airline baggage weight limits still apply, but you can use up your entire weight allotment for wine if you chose. Note that one bottle of wine weighs approximately 3 pounds, though it may vary slightly since some winemakers use heavier bottles.

WineSkin

Our Greek wine arrives home safely tucked into a WineSkin

Packing Wine in Luggage

The challenge of packing wine in your luggage is making sure you don’t end up with 750 milliliters of Chianti on your clothes. Wine bottles can be delicate and luggage handlers generally don’t handle your luggage with the utmost care. Your luggage is likely to get tossed, jostled, and probably will end up shooting down onto the conveyor belt upside down and backwards.

As frequent wine transporters, we’ve tried it all and have yet to arrive home with a broken bottle. When we’ve not planned in advance to bring wine home, wrapping the bottles up in something unimportant like pajamas, socks, and t-shirts will do the trick. Just be sure to nestle your bottle into the middle of your suitcase and cushion it as best as possible.

WineSkin

WineSkin are contoured to fit 750mL bottles

Now as frequent wine transporters generally bringing home 3 – 5 bottles, we use re-usable WineSkin bottle transport bags. A WineSkin is like bubble wrap in a special leak-proof vinyl bag specially contoured to fit 750 mL bottles of wine. The have an adhesive seal and will keep your bottle safe and the rest of the contents of your suitcase dry just in case the bottle does break. WineSkin are sold in 2-packs for $9.99 (order online from Amazon: Wine Skin WineSkin Bag, 2-Pack) and are often even available in wine shops if you haven’t ordered some in advance.

Direct Shipping

If it all still seems like a hassle, inquire with the wine shop about shipping options. Many wine shops and wineries will ship wine direct all over the world. They’ll take care to package it all up properly and your wine will arrive at your home without the weight and hassle of having to get it there yourself.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. When you purchase Wine Skin WineSkin Bag, 2-Pack or anything else from Amazon, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter who is based in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communications strategist and is an award-winning travel writer. She is also a travel correspondent on Traveling on the American Forces Radio Network. Jdomb's Travels was named one of the top travel blogs to watch by the Huffington Post and has been featured by top publications such as CNN, Buzzfeed , and The Telegraph. Her iPhoneograpy has also been featured on publications such as USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Google+

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusStumbleUponYouTube

Did you enjoy this article?
Share
the
Love
Get Free Updates

Permanent link to this article: http://jdombstravels.com/wine-wednesday-tips-for-packing-wine-in-luggage/

34 comments

8 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. memographer

    Thanks for sharing the info, Jennifer.
    WineSkin is great! I’ve never seen it before. Will keep in mind.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    We’ve just started seeing WineSkin more and more in shops around Europe. A winery we recently visited in Greece had them for sale for €3 each. But you can get a good deal if you order in advance from places like Amazon.

    [Reply]

  2. Marlene Dombrowski

    Great idea. Since we cannot ship wine to Erie the wine sleeve is a great idea.

    [Reply]

  3. thefancyvoyager

    Didn’t know about the wine skin but now I do! It would be a disaster if your wine bottle gets broken in your luggage!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Yes, that definitely would not be good! We’ve had luck in the past with wrapping in clothes or having the wine shop bubble wrap or box wine for us. But we like a little extra reassurance. Since WineSkin is so easy to pack, it gives us that.

    [Reply]

  4. Travel Scamming

    This is very important advice! Thanks….

    [Reply]

  5. Katie

    This post totally reminded me of when I brought 8 bottles of wine back from Australia – in my carry-on in 2005 (they actually didn’t put the liquid limitations in effect until several years after 9/11).

    One thing people need to keep in mind, though, is that there are customs limits on how much alcohol you can bring into the country without paying duties on it. I remember looking at the rules extensively when I brought my wine back from Australia and decided it was a low enough charge that I would just deal with it – in the end, the customs guy barely glanced at my form and ignored the fact that I declared 8 bottles.

    Different US states also have rules about whether you can ship alcohol into the state, so people should check those before shipping anything. I remember deciding against shipping because it appeared I couldn’t legally ship wine into Illinois.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Great points, Katie. Yes, there are still state regulations and taxes for what you bring in. And you should always be honest about what you are declaring as there are hefty fines if you aren’t honest and are caught.

    I totally remember the days when you could carry alcohol on the plane. I think it was also 2005 when we brought back bottles of rum and the like, carried on the plane in a box, from St. Maarten.

    [Reply]

  6. Cathy Sweeney

    I need to start checking luggage so that I can bring home bottles of wine again. I think it might be a bit expensive to ship bottles from Italy to the U.S. Never saw someone guzzling their wine on the other side of security! :) But I guess I can sympathize. :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    You’d be surprised about the shipping. Some wine shops even ship for free. They have to acquire special licenses to export alcohol and often have negotiated special shipping terms.

    [Reply]

  7. Jessica J. Hill

    Great to know! I love wine as well. I saw you’re going to SE Asia soon. Are you also going to Hong Kong by chance? If so, there’s an amazing winery there – they make wine on the island, but they import the grapes from the Pacific Northwest and other great wine regions. I can’t remember the name for sure, but if you’re going, I’ll certainly find out!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    The winery in Hong Kong sounds great! We’ll only be going to Thailand and Myanmar on this trip. But don’t be surprised when I come knocking for that info when we do make it to Hong Kong!

    [Reply]

  8. Arianwen

    This post was made for me!! I usually just shove the bottle in my backpack and hope my clothes will keep it cushioned…!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    The great thing about WineSkin is it is light weight, easy to shove in any kind of bag, and will protect your wine. Plus they’re reusable, so always a win!

    [Reply]

  9. Laurel

    I like the WineSkin idea, I haven’t seen those before. Unfortunately when I travel around Europe, it’s usually only with a carry on luggage so I can’t bring any of the good stuff home with me.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    We travel carry on most of the time too, though we’ll check a bag on the way home to be able to bring home wine. There’s definitely been times where it just wasn’t possible to bring any home though, like from my trip to Napa Valley.

    [Reply]

  10. Frank

    Good article. We’ve become experts at shoving booze into suitcases and getting them home safely. Unless you really have a guilty on your face at customs, they won’t check your baggage. One thing though about Direct Shipping – sure they can send all over the world, but you better make sure that you have all the paperwork in order for when you get home. In Canada the government distributes all booze (here in Quebec the SAQ is the government corporation). They import all booze and sell it through their own stores. A few years ago I had a box of wine shipped to me from Italy and it was a nightmare. Plus I ended up paying about 60% of the value of the wine in fees. I don’t know about the rest of Canada but here in Quebec they are very protective about their monopoly. Whole story here: http://bbqboy.net/the-san-gimignano-and-chianti-tour-italy/
    My only advice is to be very certain that you know all the rules. For instance, I didn’t know that I would have had to arrange the customs paperwork in advance. How would I know that when I was buying my wine spur of the moment? Personally, I will never have wine shipped to me directly again. Better off sneaking it in suitcases.
    Guess you guys in US don’t have to put up with all that government crap?
    Keep up the good work!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    That sounds like a pain for Canada! We don’t know about the shipping rules regarding alcohol outside of the US, so thanks for the reminder for any other Canadians reading this!

    Regulations on shipping vary from state to state, and some states are “dry” states and don’t allow the import of alcohol, like Utah and Pennsylvania. We generally stick to around 3 – 5 bottles to bring home and just do so in our suitcase.

    [Reply]

  11. Jdomb's Travels

    Right, that's a good point. Some state regulations, like in Pennsylvania, don't allow the shipping of alcohol.

    [Reply]

  12. Jdomb's Travels

    Glad to hear you found it helpful!

    [Reply]

  13. D.J. - The World of Deej

    Great tips…I flew up to Atlanta for the day recently and was given a great bottle of wine that I wanted to get home. I weighed the options for quite a while before deciding to check my duffle bag with the wine and pray it made it home. Thankfully it did, and the bottle rests on my shelf:)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Glad to hear your bottle made it safely home, D.J.! We’ve only got room for about 6 more bottles on our wine racks now. Time to order another wine rack or to start drinking more often!

    [Reply]

  14. Wanderlust Marriage

    Great tips! We've certainly seen a few expensive bottles be handed over especially when people are transferring and thought they were safe… yet to see someone guzzle a bottle on the side though ;) Love the wine skins, we're going to have to order some of those!

    [Reply]

  15. Don Enright

    Thanks for introducing me to the wineskin. My sister the oenophile just travels with a big-a$$ roll of bubble wrap. Now I have something to get her for her birthday!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    She sounds serious about getting her wine home safely. Bet she’ll love WineSkin, Don!

    [Reply]

  16. Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com

    Thanks for the tips! I tried to bring home a bottle of strawberry wine once and you’re right, I ended up with soaked clothes when I arrived home LOL

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Oh man! Strawberry wine isn’t what you want all over your clothes. Hope these tips help for the next time you bring some home, Aleah!

    [Reply]

  17. Jdomb's Travels

    It's got to be the worst to have your bottle of wine confiscated, especially an expensive bottle!

    [Reply]

  18. Wanderlust Marriage

    My mum actually forgot when we were in Portugal that she had a nice bottle of port in her hand luggage, I felt soooo awful for her.

    [Reply]

  19. Heather

    We just brought four bottles home from Budapest – one in a wine skin and three wrapped up with our dirty laundry. Baggage handlers can be particularly rough in China so we were thrilled not to find our bags leaking red wine on the conveyor belt!

    Thanks so much for the tip on Faust Wine Cellar! We did the six wine tasting and had an amazing time! Gabor said to tell you hello :-)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Glad to hear your wine made it safely home and that you enjoyed Faust! Gabor is so knowledgable and has the best Hungarian wines.

    [Reply]

  20. Abby

    I should get a WineSkin, since I always seem to be traveling with wine. (The only time I check a bag — ever!) There’s just something about bringing home a bottle from a favorite winery and drinking it at home. They all make winery-only bottles, so it is that special. I love it.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I agree, Abby! I live bringing home a special bottle to enjoy later. It’s like taking a trip down memory lane to the holiday.

    [Reply]

  21. Ali

    Great tips! I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I can imagine Andy wanting to bring back beer at some point.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    We tend to only bring beer home on road trips. I haven’t checked out any packing options for beer for when we fly. But I would have loved to bring home some Red Donkey from the Santorini Brewing Company in Greece!

    [Reply]

  22. Randy Kalp

    I think it’s high time we paid a visit to you guys! Your wine collection looks awesome. I can vouch for the wine skin too. We used it once coming back from Toronto and it worked like a charm. Though, too often than not, we usually just stuff the bottle in between some clothes and pray. :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    We’d love to have you visit! We can take you on a wine tour along the Friuli Wine Road, so don’t forget to pack your WineSkin. ;)

    [Reply]

  23. JR Riel

    Great post and awesome tips! And thanks for sharing it with us at this week’s “Drifter Tips: Travel Smart!”

    [Reply]

  24. vicky

    Just got off the phone with TSA and they report there is a limit of 5L per bag, thus the wonderful 12 bottle winecheck.com shipper I had found won’t work, unless I only fill it with 6 bottles!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Hi Vicky! Actually, and I just doubled checked with TSA again to ensure our information is current, there is no limit for the number of bottles or liters if the alcohol content is less than 24%. As nearly all wine contains less than 24% alcohol, you have no limit.

    The 5 liter limit specifically applies to alcohol between 24 – 70% because it is then considered a hazardous material. Alcohol greater than 70% cannot even be brought into the US.

    [Reply]

  25. Paul

    If travelling in Europe, another option is getting the specialized luggage or bottle protectors from Lazenne. They shop directly to hotels. http://www.lazenne.com

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>