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Dec 28, 2009 12:44 PM

Packing Cartons Available at Wineries?

Hi, all.

I've read that some wineries (in California) provide free packing cartons that are (supposedly) fortified and cushioned so they can be checked through as luggage at the airport. Can anyone confirm this? I'm particularly interested in whether any/some/all OREGON wineries do this.

Thanks, in advance--I'd appreciate any input!


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  1. Most wineries ship direct to consumers in stryofoam wine shippers that you can check as baggage. Assuming the winery ships from their tasting facility, or keeps a supply on hand, they'd likely be able to provide them. Some wineries do their shipping through third-party fulfillment houses, and may not have shippers on site. Trade shipping (to retailers) is usually done in non-protective packaging that would not be suitable as luggage.

    In SoCal you can buy stryo shippers at BevMo so there might be a similar option in Oregon...................... but I'd think calling a few of the wineries you expect to visit would be your best starting point.

    1. Many wineries sell styro shippers but I've never ever seen them free. Though the wineries often sell the shippers at a price not much over their cost to encourage wine sales. The shippers can be checked as luggage, though with a hefty airline extra bag fee (figure 52 lbs. for a case of non-sparkling wine), the price may turn out to be the same as shipping. And with shipping you won't have the hassle of lugging the wine to and fro the airport. Any shipping store in Oregon wine country will also have these styro shippers, in 2-, 3-, 6- and 12-bottle sizes, though they won't be as cheap as they are at the wineries. Price out the options -- winery shipping vs. shipping store vs. baggage-checking -- and determine which option works best for you.

      2 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        Shipping is an option -- if you live in a "legal" state where it's allowed. If a winery can't legally send wine to the state where you live, a shipping company probably won't do it either (and definitely don't try going direct to UPS or FedEx, even if you are sending it to yourself.)

        If you want overnight or second day air, the costs will be in excess of $100 a case so the $50 or so an airline would charge, and the hassle as noted, would make more sense. It can cost $20-$30 just to overnight a couple of bottles.

        Of course the weather is also an issue -- if it's freezing where the wine is headed.

        1. re: MRMoggie

          What I have found is that shipping companies can ship to *far* more states than wineries can. The regulations for "iffy" states are complicated and change often, and the shipping companies are on top of the changes even more than the wineries.

          In this economy with reduced tourism and consumption of "luxury" goods, many California wineries (and this may be so for Oregon wineries as well) charge a low price for shipping. This is a selling point to encourage wine sales.

          Weather is an issue in shipping, of course, but so is the temperature of the airplane's cargo hold. Some holds are pressurized and slightly heated; others are actually hot; and yet others are freezing and completely unpressurized. Hard to tell, and often the airline personnel don't know the details on cargo holds.

          In any case, Bernie, do the math and figure out what works best for you.