Is there anything nicer than opening a bottle of wine, taking in its fragrant aromas, enjoying its delicious taste and remembering the far away destination where you purchased it? If you are in a destination with great vineyards then buying wine as part of your vacation or honeymoon is a wonderful experience. I often include a tour and tasting at one of these vineyards. It can be difficult to enjoy a visit of this kind without also wanting to bring home at least a few bottles to enjoy later.
The trick, though, is just how to go about traveling home with the wine you purchased, and without causing it to lose some of its charms or even to end up a broken bottle of wine instead of a vintage to enjoy weeks or months later.
Fortunately for you, I have some experience in traveling with wine. Here are three tips that will help you to get your wine home safely.
Consider shipping it
There are boxes and foam inserts designed specifically for transporting bottles of wine and champagne. Some vineyards make them available to guests that purchase a case or two of wine, and some airlines accept sealed boxes for transport. Additionally, some vineyards offer shipping services where they take care of packaging and shipping the wine for you.
Use your garments as bottle wraps
Individually wrap bottles with your heavier and more supportive garments. Think heavier sweaters, thicker pants or jeans and bulky coats, and you’re on the right track. It may be difficult to find packing materials easily, so you’ll need to use garments and pack bottles snugly to prevent them from moving around during transport. And if you worry that a delicious bottle of red might destroy garments, you can always use bags designed for transporting wine which feature liners and seal off the bottle in the event of a leak or break. Here are some that I use, which are inexpensive and reusable, will safely protect your bottles and belongings during your journey home. Bonus - they are flat and light enough that I can always carry one with me in the outside pocket of my suitcase without it adding any weight or bulk.
Always keep a copy of the alcohol transport regulations with you whenever at the airport
It is entirely possible for TSA agents or airline workers to be unclear about the rules around alcohol packed in checked baggage. So, have the printed rules on hand and perhaps even highlight them. According to the federal government, you are allowed to travel with an unlimited number of bottles, Your state may have more restrictive regulations - you can check your states Alcohol Control Board to find the exact details, as they vary by state. Customs rules are in effect, though and more than a liter is subject to a tax.
Traveling on a wine tour or a wine-themed river cruise is a wonderful experience, whether you are a wine connoisseur or not. When you are ready to plan your next trips, I'd love to help. You can contact me here to get the process started!