Wine bottles and travel questions

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Alex A
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Wine bottles and travel questions

#1 Post by Alex A » February 24th, 2019, 3:57 pm

Hey berserkers,

wanted to ask the board members a few questions. Hoping to get some answers.

If you travel somewhere do you usually take your own bottles with you?
If you do, do you ship it or pack it in your suitcase?

How many bottles do you take on average?

If you pack it in your suitcase, how do you protect it from damage?

If you use a wine suitcase, which size do you have? 8 or 12 bottle or smaller?

And finally, has theft during air travel been an issue? I saw the post recently about someone's bottle being lifted from their suitcase by TSA or airport/airline worker.

Thanks!
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#2 Post by Chr!s G|@rn3r » February 24th, 2019, 4:05 pm

I have two wine suitcases which carry 12 bottles each and use them all the time. Sometimes for longer vacations to take wine with us, and sometimes to pack with purchased wine and bring it home.

Before we had the wine carriers, we’d take styrofoam shippers.

For shorter trips I sometimes bubblewrap a bottle or two and put them in with my clothes.

Never had an issue in any scenario. Depending on where you’re traveling, there may be more specific advice that would help you.

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Re: Wine bottles and travel questionsh my luggage

#3 Post by Jim F » February 24th, 2019, 4:09 pm

I have a 12 bottle wine luggage that I can use. e.g., if I go to Napa, it goes empty and comes back full. For ~6-12 bottles, I also box in styro and check it in with my luggage. For a couple, or few bottles, I put them in a couple heavy socks and maybe roll them up in my clothes, an pack. But, in general, I do NOT take wine on my travels. Only when meeting up with wino friends, or as mentioned above, going to wine country.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#4 Post by Steve Brickley » February 24th, 2019, 9:31 pm

Wine Check is my go to wine luggage. The added advantage is when I am done with the 12 pack, the luggage folds up and comes home easily for the next trip.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#5 Post by Tom Reddick » February 24th, 2019, 9:49 pm

I have never had bottles stolen during air travel- that thread really gave me a scare too because I take wine home all the time now since shipping to TX is not possible for retailers anymore.

When I travel with boxes for just wine- I use regular styros. They are going to get pretty much the same handling treatment as they would via a major shipper, and I have never had any troubles. And I have a collapsible luggage rack on wheels that I carry on as my extra personal item in addition to the computer bag.

For wine carried with other things in the luggage, I have a large sized suitcase that is almost exactly the maximum standard dimensions for domestic travel with the major carriers. That gives me room to pack clothing for up to 5 days plus carry a 4 bottle styro shipper (2x2) and two single styro shippers with some strategic placement (would not work for a 6 bottle shipper.) I always keep some large plastic bags and paper towels in the luggage so I can wrap each bottle and seal it up just in case something breaks- but again, never had an issue since luggage is not going to get treated any rougher than your average package being shipped UPS or Fed-Ex.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#6 Post by z_hart » February 25th, 2019, 6:33 am

I'll pack in a styrofoam shipping box, the kind that wine arrives in from the winery and check as luggage. I usually have the shipping boxes laying around, I've never had a bottle broken or stole from one, then at the destination I can throw the box away and not have to worry with the logistics of packing it or taking it home.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#7 Post by scamhi » February 25th, 2019, 6:49 am

I have a vin guard valise for travel. Holds 12 bottles, rolls like a piece of luggage, and weighs just under 50lbs when full.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#8 Post by Jeff P » February 25th, 2019, 6:59 am

Often travel with 2-3 bottles in a checked roller bag. Wrap them in clothes and away from the edges. Never had one break or stolen

Also have a Vin Garde valise for wine country trips or longer vacations. Had to buy another Styrofoam type shipper in France to bring back Champagne since it was wayyyy cheaper than shipping.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#9 Post by Gerhard P. » February 25th, 2019, 7:34 am

I suppose you mean travelling by air?

No, I would never take my own bottles with me in an aircraft - too complicated, too expensive ...

By car I often take some bottles with me - just in case there is nothing acceptable - or as a gift for friends etc.
I use either a 12-bt-cardboard case - or (when it´s going to be very hot) a styopor case. Works fine.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#10 Post by David Gerstenfeld » February 25th, 2019, 7:43 am

I always ship my wine out a week ahead to the hotel where I'll be staying. Too much hassle dealing with it at the airport and my bottles are waiting for me when I get there resting quietly.

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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#11 Post by Chris Seiber » February 25th, 2019, 11:27 am

I use the whole spectrum of options, depending on how many I’m bringing and what luggage I have. Sometimes I’ll put a bubble wrapped bottle or two in the middle of a suitcase. Sometimes I’ll put a 2 or 3 bottle shipper box into my duffel or golf bag. Sometimes I’ll check a six shipper box, or put a case shipper box in the wine check.

Having great wine when you travel, without having to go search it out, settle for pricy and/or inferior selections, pay 2-4X at restaurants, etc. is a great thing.

Never understood why so many of have built up this giant mental block about it being too hard, too expensive, travel shock, you should just drink beer when you’re on vacation, etc.

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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#12 Post by Joel Singer » February 25th, 2019, 1:20 pm

I typically both take and bring back wine. I'll use my Wine Check if the number of bottles warrants. Otherwise, I pack the bottles in my suitcase using commercially available wine shipping bags (a variety of brands from Amazon all consisting of bubble wrap, ziplock closure and fold over with velcro). I like having wine that I've chosen to take to restaurants and share with friends. If I think I may bring back more than a few bottles, I'll often bring a small duffel bag and carry on my clothes on the way home so that my suitcase with the wine is not overweight.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#13 Post by Alex A » February 25th, 2019, 3:42 pm

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. It's very interesting to see the different preferences each of you have and that the theft scare was not an issue for majority of people.

Seems like a lot of people like to take their own bottles when traveling vs buying locally.

Cheers! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#14 Post by Bryan Carr » February 25th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Never taken wine with us but every trip we take where wine might be in the offing we roll our 2 wine checks up and vacuum pack them so they fit in our checked bag easily, then bring our two cases of wine home. Never had any issues at all, except sometimes the customs guys look at us like we're crazy for hauling it all back with us. in the UK they just asked us if they could join us at whatever party we were having. I think we've brought back 2+ cases of wine on the last half dozen trips we've taken, both domestically and international and it's always been easy as pie. Word of warning, getting styroshippers in Europe can sometimes be a bit of a hassle, LeGrand in Paris will sell them to you but otherwise we've had a hard-ish time tracking some down once we're in-country. Someone posted a while ago an online business in Europe that you can buy that sort of thing from in advance and have them ship it to your hotel, but I can't remember it off the top of my head.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#15 Post by dsimmons » February 27th, 2019, 6:24 pm

I take wine on the airlines all the time. I have always used styro or cardboard insert shippers and have never had a problem.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#16 Post by Philip N. Jones » February 27th, 2019, 7:12 pm

I have checked a styro/cardboard shipper several times. No problem. Except that it does not have wheels or a handle. But other than that, no problem.
For two or three bottles, I use neoprene wine bottle bags and wrap them in clothes. No problem. But the luggage must be checked, not carried on.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#17 Post by ToddHansen » February 27th, 2019, 10:31 pm

I usually just shove it in with my clothing in a plastic bag. We took 21 bottles back from Europe in our luggage (2 suitcases each) wrapped in clothes, and the bags were heavy, but didn't pay overweight and have never had trouble. I've seen people check cheap wine in a normal case box with a bad outcome, but from South Africa I checked a wooden six bottle box with a bit of extra padding (wrapped it in cardboard and stuffed the inner box with some styro peanuts) and it survived, much to my relief.
I do check a pulp six bottle shipper (and case shipper) from time to time without issue. When checking a six-bottle shipper, I run a double layer of tape around the perimeter and upon arrival I punch a few holes on either side of the tape with a pen or key to make a sort of handle. Not ideal, but easy. I've debated the Wine Guard Valise, but I usually avoid checking bags on the way home. Still, I might spring for it if I start to travel more frequently.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#18 Post by Chris Seiber » February 27th, 2019, 10:46 pm

Alex A wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 3:42 pm
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. It's very interesting to see the different preferences each of you have and that the theft scare was not an issue for majority of people.

Seems like a lot of people like to take their own bottles when traveling vs buying locally.

Cheers! [cheers.gif]
The biggest thing is don’t be afraid and don’t be deterred. If you love wine and want it to be part of your experience when you travel, it can be done and it’s not that hard or expensive.

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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#19 Post by Howard Cooper » February 28th, 2019, 7:04 am

With the cost and hassle of taking additional luggage on an airplane these days, I don't take a wine suitcase with me anymore. Also, as I am getting older, I am much more likely to have bottles shipped to me by wineries I visit than to put them in luggage if I am buying more than a few bottles. This is esp. true since the place I have historically bought the most from (Burgundy) has a company that will collect wine from various places I purchase from (if I buy six or more bottles from a place) and ship it to me. The shipping cost generally is largely offset by not having to pay VAT.

When I buy a few bottles somewhere or want to bring with me from home a few bottles, I put the bottles in luggage and put them in something like this.
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Re: Wine bottles and travel questions

#20 Post by T.Phillips » February 28th, 2019, 7:34 am

+1 for vin gard valise. Can even remove the sleeves to take a custom number of bottles and pack clothes etc
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