Advice on traveling with nice wine

Hi everyone,

I’ve never flown with nice wine before, so I’m looking for advice.

A friend invited me to Hawaii. I live on the E Coast and to get there requires at least one, and possibly two, plane transfers. We split the cost of two bottles that are the most expensive wine that I’ve ever owned. They’re currently safe and sound in my Eurocave. They are 1982 Mouton and 2000 Chave Hermitage. I worry particularly about the Mouton given its age.

A few questions:
1- Would you fly with these bottles at all? Or ask the friend come to me to enjoy the wine another time?

2- If you would fly with them, how would you do so? Pack them just with clothes in a regular suitcase? Purchase a specialized wine carrier? Any particular ones that your recommend?

3- Would you buy insurance for the bottles? Any recommendations on these?

4- How long to let the wine settle after traveling? I’ll be there only a week at most. Is that long enough to get over bottle-shock?


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  1. I would take them 2. in a two-bottle shipper in my luggage 3. w/o insurance and 4. will defer to others here, but I’d let the 82 rest upright for the week and enjoy the other bottle night one.
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Ship them via Fedex overnight, well ahead of time - to let sediment settle in advance of consumption?


If you think you’ll end up doing it more than this once, get a VinGarde Valise. Used mine often and always great results. Never hesitate to fly with really nice bottles using that thing.

(I actually feel WAY better taking my wine with me this way knowing it will arrive with me quickly, as opposed to trusting it to UPS or Fedex these days tbh).

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  1. Yes, but your alternatives are (i) ship ahead of time per Shan (better) and (ii) your friend flies themselves in (best)
  2. I used to use a Winecheck Elite but it broke and it turned out packing wine in regular suitcases worked just fine. I’ve done lots and lots of intercontinental travel with wine bottles, some decades old
  3. Wouldn’t bother, but you should look up your carrier’s compensation policy if they lose your bag. United’s domestic max is like $3,500 and you need documentation for the value
  4. IMO a week’s not enough for expensive wines you are hoping will be lifechangingly good

I own 2 of the Vinarmour carriers below. I started with 1 as a gift from my wife. Thought it was ridiculously expensive until i used it several times for travel and fell in love with it and ultimately bought a 2nd carrier. When traveling with only 1 or 2 bottles, rhis is my go to carrier for a restaurant or travel in a suitcase.

I also own yhe 3 different sizes of the VinGarde Valise. They are great for traveling with several bottles of wine and I also use 1/2 for clothes and 1/2 for wine but if I was traveling with only 1 or 2 bottles, I prefer to use the Vinarmour.



One nice thing about the VinGarde Valise is how configurable it is. I have 2 of the 12’s. When I’m travelling somewhere for a say a long weekend, I’ll often take out one side of the bottle holders and use that as a regular suitcase. That way I’ve only got one piece of luggage with me, along with six bottles of well-protected wine.


Agree with above. I. just got back from Hawai’i and I put wine in a VinGarde Valise on one side and clothing on the other. Took wine there and returned with saké. Besides the nice TSA lock configuration I put an AirTag in mine so to make sure the luggage was traveling with me. If you want to try one message me and you can use mine.

All that being said if you are going to Oahu I would strongly consider just purchasing wine there. High end wine stores have nicely aged wines worth the cash at no extra hassle of carrying around.


Yeah two bottle shipper in checked bag will work great for 2 bottles. I fly with wine constantly with significantly older bottles than that and have had no issues with travel shock.


I would ship them out well ahead of time to give the sediment in the '82 several weeks to settle.

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I have a VinGarde Valise for larger shipments and Vinarmour for single bottles. If you are serious about wine and will be traveling with it down the road, I would recommend either of these. I have also traveled with wine and had no issue with bottle/travel shock. I do agree with standing older wines for sediment.

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+1 for the VinGarde Valise. Minus the sake, I also just did the same two weeks ago. Took 10 bottles and 2 glasses using the foam glass insert. They sell a chiller pack to keep the wine cold as well for the flight, which is most ideal when you have connections.

I travel with wine all the time, but mostly no longer take anything I expect to have significant sediment. I also don’t usually choose really special bottles that I am invested in showing their best, especially if I have only one. Unlike some others, we have had many disappointing experiences post travel, some types of wine more than others
So now we stick with more modest, younger wines, not things we’ve been saving and anticipating, unless we can ship them ahead.

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I’ve had fewer issues traveling with Bordeaux (though I admit I do it much less frequently). The sediment is less fine and, for Bordeaux, 1982 isn’t quite that old. But, that said, suitcase travel isn’t optimal. If I had a few bottles of the 82 Mouton, I wouldn’t be too worried about traveling with it and making sure I had a proper way of filtering and decanting any sediment off. If it’s only one bottle, not sure I’d necessarily want to take the chance.
I traveled with some 02 Burgundy last month and didn’t have any issues.

agree. Otherwise it’s such a waste. That’s why I usually only bring whites and champagne.


I agree RE: sediment. Ship the bottles out in advance. I always do this for any tasting where I’ll be bringing old wine. I travel with Champagne, white burg & young-ish Napa cab somewhat regularly in checked luggage without issues. Vinarmour sleeves are great for this in small quantities and I also use them for local corkage all the time.

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