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Packing Wine in Checked Luggage?


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I am finishing up a vacation in California, flying back to New York on Saturday. I picked up six bottles of wine while touring the Santa Ynez Valley that I was planning on carrying onboard with me in a handy cardboard box with a handle. Due to the new TSA regulations, I can't carry any liquids on board now. Does anyone have any advice for packing wine in checked luggage? Is this just a terrible idea? Thanks in advance.

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I am finishing up a vacation in California, flying back to New York on Saturday. I picked up six bottles of wine while touring the Santa Ynez Valley that I was planning on carrying onboard with me in a handy cardboard box with a handle. Due to the new TSA regulations, I can't carry any liquids on board now. Does anyone have any advice for packing wine in checked luggage? Is this just a terrible idea? Thanks in advance.

I sent back two cases of wine through checked luggage with no problem. I just got one of the styrofoam packing containers that many of the wineries have available at a small cost. I don't know if they have the same type of cases for six bottles, but you could ask.

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I sent back two cases of wine through checked luggage with no problem. I just got one of the styrofoam packing containers that many of the wineries have available at a small cost. I don't know if they have the same type of cases for six bottles, but you could ask.

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I'm actually not in wine country anymore - I may be able to scour the wine stores in Sacramento for some sort of packing container, but does anyone have any tips for protecting the bottles with more readily available materials?

Edited by khart (log)
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If you have the luggage space, i recommend wrapping the bottles with bubble wrap and placing each bottle in a freezer bag to secure the contents should it break. An alternative to bubble wrap would be those neoprene-like carrying bags with one botle per bag. I still suggest placing individual bottles in their own freezer bags though in case the corks should pop or the bottles break. At least the rest of your luggage wouldn't be ruined. Dirty laundry also makes good packing materiel.

Good luck and have a safe trip!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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as mentioned above . . . peanuts, dirty laundry, ziplocs and (highly recommended) a generous tip to the sky caps (whether curbside or in the airport) and make sure they put the appropriate stickers on whatever the outer-most container is.

We've had really good luck using those measures.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Beverages & More offers various sizes of styrofoam packing containers on their web site.

I don't know if they have them available in their stores. They have several locations in the Sacramento area, probably worth a call to check, if one of their locations is close to where you are staying.

Since it is pretty common for people to buy wine in California and transport it home. I would guess most wine shops would also have these containers.

Good luck and have a safe trip, these new security warnings that we have just heard about are scary.

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Beverages & More offers various sizes of styrofoam packing containers on their web site.

I don't know if they have them available in their stores. They have several locations in the Sacramento area, probably worth a call to check, if one of their locations is close to where you are staying.

Since it is pretty common for people to buy wine in California and transport it home. I would guess most wine shops would also have these containers.

Good luck and have a safe trip, these new security warnings that we have just heard about are scary.

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Also, if you can find any empty whiskey/whisky canisters lying about (any whisky-loving friends that you're visiting?!?), they make great protector-holders for wine in check-in baggage, if you can't get hold of styrofoam containers. We usually wrap the bottle once in bubble wrap then slip it into the canister. Haven't had a breakage yet!

(The sock trick has always worked for me, too - as long as it's surrounded by clothes.)

Good luck with your trip!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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I'm very pleased to report that my wine made it home safely! I was too nervous to put it in my bag with the rest of my clothes, so I packed a separate suitcase of wine sealed into freezer bags and wrapped in lots of bubble wrap. I was told by the American ticket agent who checked me in that they no longer identify bags as fragile with stickers - I don't know if this is just the policy at American, or if I wasn't persuasive enough.

Thanks for all of your suggestions!

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Take the train. Security is much less pain.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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We went to Tuscany in 2001 and brought back a bottle of Vin Santo, Lemoncillo, and 4 bottles of Vino Nobile. I just wrapped them in dirty clothes, and packed them on the inside of the suitcase, and they were fine, all the way to Houston.

Stop Family Violence

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Thanks to eGullet, I made it to the BevMo location in Stockton (just a 30-minute walk from my uncle's house) and picked up some styrofoam shipping containers--my two bottles of wine and one bottle of olive oil made it back to Winnipeg safe and sound! I was going to go the bubble-wrap/plastic bags/old clothing route, but I have some very bad memories of broken glass in luggage from previous trips (no foodstuff in them, luckily).

For anyone flying within or from Canada, I just heard on the news that they are allowing Duty Free alcohol (and perfume) purchases on board for flights other than to the US or Britain. Any duty free items purchased at the airport will be picked up after going through the boarding gate, rather than before. If you made your purchases outside the airport, you'll still have to pack them in your check-in bags, I guess.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...
All you need to do is put the wines in a few socks, and make sure they are in the CENTER of your suitecase, as long as they are surrounded by clothes and not able to bang together, you are fine.  Done this many times.

In theory I concur however after TSA opens your bag and decides to reclose the bag putting all bottles on top with no protection on one side, all bets are off.

This scenario just happened to me and despite all bottles being still protected individually, two broke all over the place... :angry:

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In theory I concur however after TSA opens your bag and decides to reclose the bag putting all bottles on top with no protection on one side, all bets are off. 

This scenario just happened to me and despite all bottles being still protected individually, two broke all over the place...  :angry:

Interesting. I too did nothing but put the bottles separately in the center of a fully packed suitcase in between layers of clothing. We put 9 bottles in 4 suitcases and no breakage occurred.

However, I did not envision that airport handlers would open and inspect the bag as was your case. I think it's careless, if not outright negligent, for handlers to reclose the bag leaving the glass bottles unprotected like that. You should try and make a claim against the airport authorities.

Just wondering whether a note placed inside the bag that says in big bold letters something like "if this bag is inspected, before re-closing, please make sure the wine bottles are placed back in their original position at the center between layers of clothing" would help. At least probably wouldn't hurt.

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