I know this question's probably been asked 1000 times but what's the best way to travel with wine? My wife and I are heading to Miami for a week during the holidays and would love to bring some wine but I'd hate to stuff it into the suitcases and as I understand it, you can't carry the bottles on.
Original Post
Some folks use a specialized wine safe, that's really a strong box that'll hold a half or full case. But, they're a few hundred bucks, and if you're toting a dozen bottles, you're likely looking at overweight charges.

Me, I just wrap up my vinos in lots of t-shirts and the like. Make sure they're individually well bundled, and there's no loose space in the suit case for them to clank around, you should be fine. Make sure you don't lock up, as TSA will likely cut the lock, as the bottles will look suspicious in the x-ray.
FedEx or UPS them to your destination, overnight or 2-day.

You remind me of an experience I had at one of the LAX terminal a few years ago, before the ban on liquids and gels. I had just witnessed a fellow go through security with a 4-pack of wine. The wine passed through the x-ray machine without a hitch, and no one asked a single question about it. Feeling a bit annoyed at the long line I had been forced to stand in, I decided to ask the TSA supervisor a simple question: "How do you know what's in those bottles? It could be gasoline." The look of dumbfounded realization that spread over his face was priceless.

It's a good thing the terrorists are really, really stupid.
I have one of these:
ICC and another called a Skycrate which I can't find a link to. They both work well at protecting wine as checked luggage. Buy an FAA approved lock for them. If you just want to through a few bottles in a suitcase, use styro inserts from a wine shipment or even stick the bottles in old (clean Razz) socks.
quote:
Originally posted by RDCollins:
FedEx or UPS them to your destination, overnight or 2-day.


Assuming Bill is in NY just for the sake of argument, overnight would be $240 and 2 day would be $164. Even if overweight charges from the air carrier come into play, it'd be much less expensive to check it as baggage.

PH
I have had good luck using the wrap method, like indybob said. I take sweaters, jeans, anything soft and durable, and wrap the bottles of wine. I then pack it in the center of the suit case where it is most protected, and so far, so good. I have packed as many as 6 bottles this way. Be sure to weigh your suitcase at home, because it's pretty easy to go over 50#. I won't guarantee this method as perfectly safe, I always smell my suitcase as its coming around the metal conveyor in luggage claim. So far, no aromas of cassis with hints a vanilla have come from my suitcase. I have traveled with wine this way at least a dozen times, including three international flights.

I have also just checked a styro-12 pack shipping box as one of my bags. That worked when I needed to bring 12 bottles from France (plus what was in the suitcase). I figured if it was a good enough container for UPS, then it was good enough to protect the wine under the care of Delta.
Yes, whether you can ship ahead or not depends on the states involved.

I'm with PH on this one. When I came back from Napa recently, I just used a big cardboard box with a styrofoam insert. Many of the wineries there have them to sell you in various sizes. I wouldn't imagine them being too hard to find outside of there.

I filled mine up with 12 bottles and was not charged either an overweight or oversize surcharge of any kind. They survived the trip just fine with no damage.

(Of course, if you're checking lots of non-wine luggage also, you might get hit with a surcharge if the wine brings your total number of pieces above your allotment.)

- Jeff
quote:
Originally posted by Bill19:
My problem with the wrapping and placing them in your suitcase is if it breaks, the lost wine becomes the least of your issues! Packing a box with the styrofoam shippers seems to make the most sense. Thanks for everyone's advice.

Exactly. A friend of mine was coming back from Hawaii several years ago, and had a bottle of pineapple wine break in his luggage. Quite a mess.
quote:
Originally posted by Roentgen Ray:
I have had good luck using the wrap method, like indybob said. I take sweaters, jeans, anything soft and durable, and wrap the bottles of wine. I then pack it in the center of the suit case where it is most protected, and so far, so good. I have packed as many as 6 bottles this way. Be sure to weigh your suitcase at home, because it's pretty easy to go over 50#. I won't guarantee this method as perfectly safe, I always smell my suitcase as its coming around the metal conveyor in luggage claim. So far, no aromas of cassis with hints a vanilla have come from my suitcase. I have traveled with wine this way at least a dozen times, including three international flights.

I have also just checked a styro-12 pack shipping box as one of my bags. That worked when I needed to bring 12 bottles from France (plus what was in the suitcase). I figured if it was a good enough container for UPS, then it was good enough to protect the wine under the care of Delta.


I've done it dozens of times on short halls in luggage ( up to two cases) - 1-6 hours.
My friend had explosions with beer in luggage from Asia, I don't think anything already in a pressurized environment should be subjected to a non-pressurized environment.
Especially for hours !
I've never cargo-holded Champagnes. Personally, I don't like the idea, non-presurized with explosive bubbly......
Sounds like a bit of low-pressure bomb. At the least,you could loose all your wine.
I used to carry-on my champs - life sucks in the personal 'smuggling between Provences on flights' racket.
quote:
Originally posted by Mishy:
I don't think anything already in a pressurized environment should be subjected to a non-pressurized environment.


AFAIK, the cargo hold is actually pressurized to the same degree as the cabin (they put pets down there, after all). Furthermore, the cabin isn't "fully" pressurized. It actually will get down to about the level of pressure you'd feel at 8000 feet.

So I wouldn't rule out bubbly explosions in the cargo hold or cabin, although I suspect it's pretty rare in either case.

- Jeff

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