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:
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.
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.
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.
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.