You’re outside on the porch of a charming tapas restaurant in La Rioja, enjoying the aromas and sultry flavors of the best tempranillo you’ve ever had. There’s a faint air of melancholy over your head—you will be returning home in tomorrow, and mourn your last drops as they gradually trickle down your throat. If only you could ship bottles home without hassle! Many a traveler has had this very dilemma—but despair not. Willamette Intl Travel offers some tips to avoid weighing your suitcase down or breaking those precious bottles.
– Pack well: To avoid the risk of breakage, stuff your bottles in a sock and store in a water-tight plastic bag. Smothering with clothes will protect it from shifting during the flight. Make sure the outer shell of the luggage is hard—no duffel bags.
– Share with your friends: If you have traveling companions, talk them into dividing the bottles among you—but beware! Don’t give your wine away to a fellow oenophile, or you may never get it back!
– Weigh the bottle: A bottle typically weighs three pounds, so consider this when you are sticking them in your already overstuffed suitcase. There’s also the price: if you bring more than 1 liter, customs tend to require payment of 3% in duty tax.
– Invest in a wine suitcase: For the frequent traveler/oenophile, consider buying a wine suitcase with a stainless steel shell that protects and withstands extreme temperatures. This can be a considerable investment though, so think before you buy.
– Check the distributor list: Maybe, just maybe, that perfect blend you found in Mendoza ships to the USA. Do the research, and you won’t have to do the hauling.
– Avoid wineskins: These containers have some benefits–and might be a great protective container for land travel–but the downside is that they are not resealable. WIT Agent Nancy has had the repetitive experience of wineskins being opened by the TSA and resealed with duct tape! “At least they didn’t drink the wine,” she says dolefully. “There has not been a time this hasn’t happened.”
– Ship it: laws governing wine shipment differ state by state, but it’s definitely worth it if yours does. Some wineries will even waive shipping charges.
– DO NOT attempt to stick it in your carry-on: Since 2001, TSA safety regulations prohibit liquids larger than 3.4 oz past airport security checkpoints (unless purchased in duty-free stories beyond). They’ll just confiscate your bottles, and you’ll have to say goodbye then and there!
Good Luck and A Votre Santé!