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Case for wine in checked luggage?

I frequently travel for business, and occasionally want to carry a bottle of good spirits I've found home with me. I often travel on Southwest, which has the following luggage policy: "Alcohol (wine and liquor) in checked baggage must be securely packaged in a leak-proof bag with adequate professional packaging designed to fit the proportions of the bottle to prevent breakage." I have checked bottles without obeying this, surrounding them with clothing for padding, but I would prefer to conform to guidelines --- it's only a matter of time until some luggage handler is too rough with my soft- sided travel bag, and a bottle breaks. One idea: a hard-sided travel case, e.g., http://store.thewinebag.com/encore.html . (I don't think neoprene sleves would provide sufficient protection.) But I would prefer something smaller or collapsible, for those trips when I do not find anything worth bringing home. I suspect no such case exists, but hey, there's no harm in asking! Any thoughts?

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  1. I travel with wine all the time. I use a styrofoam shipper and cardboard box. This summer, I had wine with me for two months straight and I noticed it had been opened and reseald by TSA twice. TSA will put tape on it and put the brochure explaining that they opened the parcel in the box.

    So far I have had no issues. My co-worker has had wine stolen from her luggage before though.

    1. I often bring wine home in my checked luggage. I carry with me a box of 2 gallon Zip lock freezer bags, a roll of bubble wrap and some tape. The bottles get the "treatment" before they get lined up in my suitcase. Have never had a problem with anything or anyone related to it...

      1. If you are really serious about it, Pelican makes a rugged wine shipper. www.pelican-case.com. It's a special order type thing. It's not on the website, but you can call them up and they can help you out.

        there's this product called wine skin that is functional enough. http://ftscontent.com/retail.html

        1. We've travelled with wine several times (France-US; Argentina-US and within the US). We have a simple wine-specific cardboard box with foam inserts shaped to secure the wine. It holds a case. We've used it 5 or so times now and though its a little worse for wear, it has always worked beautifully. Our favorite wine shop in Seattle, Esquin, gave it to us and others (Pete's in Seattle) had them for sale so you might check with your local wine store if you don't feel like investing in something more expensive.

          1. I’ve read the article, but I think I’ll pass on the hard case tote. Here’s my reasoning, I recently purchased a cool, trendy and even ergonomically designed NeoBag wine tote which is totally capable of being thrown into my luggage for less then a third the cost and I can tote it around in style to a wine tasting.

            In fact, this wine bag crossover traveling bottle tote is really nice. It eliminates completely that clinking and clunking that normally results in luggage breakage too. Another fact, I’ve taken it to cross Atlantic to Spain then France and back toting bottles of French Vintage 1990, Saint Julien Controlée in my NeoBag from Winebags.com, and I’ve never once felt nervous about my precious ale coming back in my luggage.

            Anyway, you asked and I responded... I mean, this traveling guy likes the Neobag wine tote for its flexibility, spongy insulated fabric and easy space saving design, so I’ll opt this time for the Neo that you can throw in your luggage and also carry to a wine tasting in style.

            Email them for exact details at: wines@winebags.com. Check out their website at: http://www.winebags.com.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nyle

              nothing at the winebags website above.

              http://www.winebags.com/products.asp?C=1

              carries only decorative gift bags for single bottles.

            2. Check out http://www.winecruzer.com/ -- they have cases specifically designed for checking in as baggage with airlines.

              Not cheap, I grant you, but they were designed for the trade and come as large as 24 bottles.

              Cheers,
              Jason

              4 Replies
              1. re: zin1953

                The one thing to keep in mind is that liquid is heavy, and the airlines are charging lots for extra weight.

                1. re: brendastarlet

                  Agreed, but -- as I said -- it was designed for the trade, and when you're flying back east on a business trip, the winery "pays the freight"!

                  ;^)

                2. re: zin1953

                  Wow...Jason, those WineCruzers are James Bond-looking. Impressive, and tres cher. The 12-bottle carrier is $585 before shipping.

                  As a less expensive alternative, the Mummies seem pretty good. In truth, I've used everything from clothes to pre-packed bubble wrap.

                  For more than a few bottles, I'm an old-fashioned styro-shipper-in-cardboard-box, sealed-with-packing-tape, webbing-strap-optional kind of girl myself. I might be in need of an upgrade.

                  Then again, with increased baggage charges, the cost of shipping may be comparable.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Well, truth be known, back in the OLD days (i.e.: pre-9/11), I used to fly with wine all across the country on sales trips -- usually with 12-bottle styrofoam shippers inside of a cardboard box. (You know the type.) The problem today is that many airlines are charging extra for a second "suitcase," but -- again -- if you are on a business trip, this case makes more sense to me for making sales calls once you hit the ground than does the old 12-pack styro, but for trade tastings, I just ship the wine ahead via UPS/FedEx . . .

                3. I love my BottleWise bag! My husband and kids gave me one for Mother's Day...what a unique gift. I recently used it on a trip to Napa and was able to easily bring home a few bottles. The pouches are flexible enough to be tucked into my jammed pack suitcase! I am planning on keeping the pouches in my suitcase at all times just in case I find something liquid to bring home.

                  1. Look for the "wine mummy". google it, or try www.vinoamici.com

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Rizza

                      I love the idea of these Wine mummies! I travel and almost always with wine. I like the fact that these go flat for ease of packing when the wine is gone. I usually travel with a separate piece of luggage for my wine (even on vacation). I am buying some of these today. Thanks for the info. Rizza!

                      1. re: Rizza

                        I love this. I just bought 12.

                      2. Though I have not done much of this post-9-11, I used to always check two empty 12 btl. styro-shippers, a roll of fibre-tape and also two luggage straps. I'd fill these both with wine, seal with the fibre-tape, then add the luggage strap. In many years of doing this, I never had a problem. I fly United most, but US Airways/America West, and also Southwest. None ever gave me any grief.

                        Like I started, I have done little of this post-9-11, so many things might well have changed.

                        Last, Wine Enthusiast has an aluminum case for transporting wines on an airline. IIRC, they also have a ballistic-nylon case, as well. Have not tried either.

                        Hunt

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I think I'm going to go with the standard 12-pack styrofoam insert approach. But because I'll have a bunch of other luggage with me, that makes a case of wine a little difficult to manage.

                          I've seen strap+handle contraptions that you can put on a box to make it easier to carry, but I haven't been able to find one anywhere.

                          How can I get a grip on a case of wine? It needs to withstand about eight flights.

                          1. re: Magala

                            I used to use a nylon luggage band to wrap around the case. I also pack a small roll of filiment tape (in plastic despenser) into the empty case(s) on the outbound flight. I use this to seal the box. Then, I always grab a sky-cap, or get a trolley to handle the luggage. Now, depending on the airport, I might be able to drop the luggage at the curb-side check-in, but often am handling it to get to the counter.

                            I have to restate that I have not flown with wine (other than a few special bottles), post 9-11. Things might have changed, especially with regards to the filiment tape on the box. Still, a flouroscope look should reveal the wine inside.

                            Let us all know what might have changed, and how it goes. Good luck.

                            Hunt

                        2. There is a product called WineSkin that is all the rage in California, Oregon and Washington. I know that they are selling these bags in other States and Europe as well. It is very low tech like the wine mummy. I've tried both - both are good but the WineSkin feels sturdier and i trust the leak proof protection more...i think the website is wineskin.net

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: brooklynpete

                            A lot of these products look like they are fine to prevent breakage, but I'm wondering if any one has experience with temperature issues. My wife and I need to fly with some expensive bottles in a few weeks and don't want to take any chances that 5 hours in a frozen cargo hold will damage them. Does anyone have alternative suggestions to the expensive hard-sided cases that provide enough insulation from the cold as well?

                            1. re: rwkruger

                              With the standard wine shipping boxes, the styrofoam provides a little more temp control than the cardboard inserts. At the airport, they always put 'wine' stickers all over the box, and often times because of this, it will be put in the pet cargo hold of the plane, which is temp controlled. I have travelled all over Europe and the US with some special bottles of wine, and have never had any issue with the quality of wine from transport.

                              1. re: megswine

                                The ability to ship wine as luggage nowadays is useful. As mentioned up-thread, I have not done this, in some years now, but thought little of it in the past. Not one bottle had ever been damaged, and there were no signs of extreme cold, or heat.

                                Thank you,

                                Hunt

                          2. Check out The Wine Check
                            http://www.thewinecheck.com/

                            The great thing is, if you want, once you drink the wine, you can toss the insert and pack the exterior in your suitcase and not have to check two bags on the return flight. This is the most economical wine carrier I've seen

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: zblang

                              +1 on what zblang said. These things are awesome! Never leave California without one...or 2!

                            2. I've had my wine cruzer for a couple of years now. I have the eight bottle unit. I lock it with TSA approved locks. I have to tell you it was on of the smartest investments I ever made. Being fortunate enough to travel to Italy and Spain a few times each year, I'm always coming home with "local" bottles of wine not imported here in the US. Wondeful invention!!