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Mar 31

Traveling with Wine: A Full Case (part 1)

Last week I had this amazing business trip that took me from Cincinnati to Seattle, Washington. I landed back in Cincinnati for 4 hours and then headed out to Orlando, Florida, where I also visited Sarasota and Tampa.

Crazy, right? I love travel, but that was even a lot for me. However, it looks like crazy is the norm for me on about an every-other-month basis this year. I’m okay with that (Medallion status, here I come), but it does require me to always travel with wine. After all, I’ll get more work done if I’m not in the hotel bar and chances are, I’ll bring better wine with me anyway.

First off, I always travel with a corkscrew. Even if the bottle I bring is a screwtop, you can still find at least one – at the moment there are two – corkscrews in my makeup bag. You just never know when you might need a corkscrew to function as it should or to stand in for a bottle opener.

Traveling with wine – and corkscrews – does require checking luggage, which can cost around $25/bag on Delta. On trips where I can actually get away with just a carry-on, I have to eschew the wine. The last thing I want to do is treat the TSA to a free bottle, and your corkscrew? That’s a weapon, apparently. I had one taken away from me once, when I forgot it was in my carry-on.

The TSA does have rules for checking alcohol, and it’s worth mentioning.

Please note, you can’t take alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol content (140 proof), including 95% grain alcohol and 150 proof rum, in your checked luggage.

You may take up to five liters of alcohol with alcohol content between 24% and 70% per person as checked luggage if it’s packaged in a sealable bottle or flask.

As for packing your wine, there are several different routes you can take, assuming you’re not investing in a wine-specific suitcase. If you’re bringing back a case, you’ve got a couple of options:

  • Buy a box and packing from a winery (they sell them cheap) and take it to the local shipping company that will ship it. For instance, there’s a UPS store in Healdsburg and another in Napa that specialize in shipping wine. Both will provide the packaging, although it’s cheaper if you do it yourself.
  • Buy a box and packing and check it as luggage. We did this when we returned home from Arizona. We’d been much more taken by the Arizona wine industry than we’d expected and ended up with a mixed case. We bought a box and packing from Page Spring Cellars and checked it on our flight home. I’ve read that people have mixed results with this, but our box arrived safe and sound in Cincinnati.
  • If you’re buying a case from one winery, you can see if the winery can ship it home to you. Wine shipping laws vary by state and are notoriously difficult, but sometimes when you purchase the wines in person, it opens up a few loopholes.

Tomorrow I’ll give you a few options that are more appropriate for traveling with less than 12 bottles at a time.

Airplane photo used under a Creative Commons
license from Flickr user

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Posted by Michelle at 8:37 am in Travel, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (1)

One Response to “Traveling with Wine: A Full Case (part 1)”

  1. […] there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Yesterday I talked about getting a case of wine to and from (usually from) one location to another. Today let’s talk about the slightly more […]

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