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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)
Jan 19

Blue Plate Diner (Salt Lake City)

On a recent trip to to Salt Lake city, the first time I had ever left the SLC airport, a friend and I stopped at the Blue Plate Diner for a quick bite to eat on the way to a conference. Blue Plate Diner was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

I had a vegan burger and cajun fries. The burger is assembled with beans, cooked oatmeal, onions and plenty of other non-meaty goodness. The burger was served on a toasted fresh bun and was fantastic.

The Blue Plate Diner is a collection of restaurant artifacts from the Salt Lake area. Booths from an old diner, a soda fountain from a general store up the road.

The test of any restaurant is if you would go back. To answer that question, on the way back to the airport, we stopped in again for a pre-flight meal. This time it was Chicken Fried Steak for me.

Served with home fries and 3 eggs over easy, this was an amazing end to a trip to my trip to Salt Lake. I’d recommend the vegan burger over the breakfast, but I was not disappointed in either.

– Kevin

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Posted by Kevin at 8:28 am in Beer-Guy.net, Food and Drink, Travel | Permalink | Comments ()
Jan 14

Captain Tony’s Amber Ale

I’m not much of a beer drinker. Kevin and the Hoperatives would all tell you I like the wheat-y girly beers. But I did quite well with the Captain Tony’s Amber at Captain Tony’s Saloon in Key West. If you’re mulling the phrase “Captain Tony” around in your head, wondering why you’ve heard of it, the good Captain stars in the Jimmy Buffett song Last Mango in Paris. The video below is a mostly me, with Kevin chiming in because I don’t really trust myself to review beer. (Yeah, I know. I need to get over it.)

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Posted by Michelle at 9:10 am in Beer, Beer-Guy.net, Florida, Travel | Permalink | Comments ()
Jan 12

Key Lime Pie on a Stick

This has nothing to do with wine. But when we were in Key West over the holidays, I had some Key Lime Pie on a stick, dipped in Belgian chocolate. Now, longtime readers know that dessert is my favorite part of every meal. This was pretty much a dessert I ate for breakfast. Nothing can compare, so I thought I would share with you. Well, I’m sharing the video; I can’t share the Key Lime Pie – I ate it.

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Posted by Michelle at 1:33 pm in Florida, Food and Drink, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1)
Jan 07

Big River Brewery (Walt Disney World)

Hello all, this is Kevin once again with a delayed review of our trip to Big River Brewery in Walt Disney World during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

We went to Big River after spending an exhausting but fun day sampling wines and our palates needed a little bit of hops and malt to help reset themselves, so we headed out the back door of Epcot and took a boat over to Disney’s Boardwalk for a mircobrew experience. We hope to try Big River again, hopefully with our friends the Hoperatives, who are big fans of the place. I suspect that we were too tired to fully appreciate the experience.

We tried the following:

Southern Flyer Light Lager (3.61% Alcohol by Volume – AbV) – The light cross over beer for people who are comfortable with Bud’s American ale, the flavor had a slight soapy quality similar to what I find in Bud American ale. I believe that quality is from the Liberty hops used.

Gadzooks Pilsner (3.61% AbV) – Standard Pilsner for those who like pilsners. Nother super remarkable, but exactly what is promised.

Steamboat Pale Ale (4.4% AbV) – Traditional Pale Ale. Once again a nice solid entry that hits the expected notes and won’t dissapoint ale drinkers.

Rocket Red Ale (5.3% AbV) – Nice upfront malt, fades to rounded finish. This one is pretty tasty and is memorable. This one is reccomended if you like a malty flavor in a light bodied beer.

Sweet Magnolia American Brown Ale (5.18% AbV) – Has similar taste to a Chocolate Malt. Very little coffee. Kevin’s favorite, Michelle not as much. The sweetness and chocolate would make this a recommendation for Guinness lovers, but it’s not a stout so the overall flavor has a strong hop presence, so try a sample and see if it’s a fit.

Wowser’s Wheat (4.29% AbV) – Traditional German style Wheat beer served with a wedge of lemon. The banana and clove components are balanced and in line with what is expected.

Overall, Big River was a nice diversion from the Food and Wine festival and the standard theme park food that you can usually find. If you are in the mood for a beer and chicken nachos, head over to Big River at Disney’s Boardwalk.

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Posted by Kevin at 8:05 am in Beer, Beer-Guy.net, Disney, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)

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