The holidays are upon us and that means parties, gatherings, gifts and traveling. Great for you, difficult on glass wine bottles. You could buy your wine from a box to give to the hostest with the mostest…really? Meh. Or you can take a few tips from us and travel smoother with your bottled wine using a few quick tips.
1. Wine is NOT allowed in your carry on
Back in the day, many airlines permitted travelers to bring a couple bottles of wine on board a flight with them to ensure proper handling. Then came 9/11 and new safety regulations governing liquids. That means all your bottles must be placed into checked luggage with less than attentive handlers. Packing bottles tightly inside clothing helps minimize vibrations that can negatively affect wine and protects the bottles from rough handling by airport TSA agents. One of the best techniques is to wrap your bottle tightly in a shirt or pair of jeans. For extra protection against potential breakage, seal the wrapped bottle in a water-tight plastic bag before nestling it firmly at the center of the luggage. Bottle Packers are sold specifically for this purpose that are leak proof and include bubble wrap.
I recently had the opportunity to use these bottle packers. I was expecting really thin, mail type bubble liners prior to receiving. These are legit, heavy duty plastic, super thick plastic seals (thing Zip Lock bags but stronger, and on top of all that, has an interior lining of bubble wrap. Bag comes with three bottle bags, each one large enough for any standard 750ml bottle of wine or liquor up to and including the odd shaped wine bottle.
These can be used to just transport from home to home in a bag, ship your favorite wine to friends or family or airline transportation with you are forced to check your favorite Bordeaux when traveling home from France. Beats rolling each bottle in your clothing and carefully stacking in your suitcase praying for careful baggage handlers….not that I have ever done that before 🙁
2. For Large Wine Shipments – Use Styrofoam
If you are moving large collections of wine, consider using foam inserts in a corrugated box. They make them now with both top and bottom pieces to completely encapsulate your precious cargo from the evil mail system. This particular one accommodate 750mL bottles, champagne or European long neck style bottles.
UPS/FedEx will NOT accept the foam shipper without a protective corrugated box, which is sold separately. This corrugated box was made to pair with the foam shipper linked above. Safeway wine and champagne shippers are the most durable shippers in the market today. Able to withstand over a 5 foot drop with no breakage.
3. Temperature Matters!
Like any normal liquid, wine cooks in the heat and not in a good way. Think about when you leave a bottled water in a hot car in the middle of August? You get back to find hot water that tastes like plastic. Wine is no different – except it cost more money. That’s why it’s important to consider how to travel with wine in the summer heat.
26°C / 80°F: Your wine is getting hot. The heat causes it to expand upwards. Sometimes causing liquid to seep around the cork, and / or pushing that cork out of the bottle and breaking the seal. That compromised cork also results in oxidation.
30° C / 86°F: After 18 hours at this temperature your wine loses its brightness, the color changes to a brown hue, the sulfur dioxide drops, and chemical damage becomes permanent according to Jancis Robinson.
39°C / 100°F: Damage happens after just six hours.
How do you know if your wine has suffered in the heat? Have you ever opened a bottle that was sticky around the neck or found stains spilling out at the top of the cork? Those are indications of wine heat damage. In terms of taste, a cooked wine shows increased acidity with sour, jammy notes. On the nose you might smell canned or stewed fruits.
Travel with a Cooler
Plan wine travel by allotting a cooler just for wine storage. Try to get one that is light in color as darker colors absorbs more heat. Pack it with ice and try to keep it out of direct sunlight. Regular ice can damage wine labels as it melts. So if you want to preserve them, mitigate this by using no sweat ice packs.
Looking for a solution to your wine travel dilemmas?
Bringing home a nice souvenir or gift from your travels can turn into a nightmare if the liquid that is packed in your suitcase spills in transit. Have you seen how cases and bags get thrown around at airports? The innovative Bottle Packer solves the issue and provides total peace of mind. Not one, not two, but THREE level of protection virtually guarantee that your bottle will make it home in one piece (and maybe more importantly – your clothes and other items in your suitcase are not ruined with red wine or olive oil!)
- bubble wrap inner layer with super tough plastic outer skin
- double ziplocks seals
- double velcro seals
This post is sponsored by the above mentioned Bottle Packers. Opinions are 100% my own. Some links are affiliate links to Amazon. That just means if you happen to purchase, our blog will recieve a small (very micro small) portion of that purchase.