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Apr 01

Traveling with Wine: Single Bottles (part 2)

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 common practice of getting just a couple of bottles from place to place, without having them shatter in your suitcase.

Remember, wine (and corkscrews) have to be checked luggage, so you need to find a way to pad your bottles. Make sure they aren’t on the edges of your suitcase (where other bags can bang into them) and are well padded on all sides.

  • T-shirts and socks. Wrap your wine in a plastic bag and then wrap it up in t-shirts, pajamas, and/or socks. The plastic is to semi-protect your clothing if the bottle does break. When we first started checking wine, this was our de facto way of getting it places (usually getting it home).  Between the two of us, Kevin and I have brought back a case this way from California.
  • Wine skins. Honestly, wine skins are sort of hard to find if you’re not a winery. I’ve been trying to find a way to sell them myself, branded as Wine-Girl, but the manufacturer makes it very hard. Kevin and I love wine skins, but they are a one-time deal. Once you double-seal that package, you cannot re-use it. In the past, I’ve duct taped the thing closed, so that I could use it again, but that’s really not all that effective. Our Flickr slideshow on Wine Skins:
  • Wine diapers. I positively hate the name of this product, but it really does work. Back in the autumn, I was sent several Wine Diapers and I’m still using them.  They are plastic bags with several layers of padding inside. Wine diapers seal with a ziplock, so they are re-usable. I’ve been able to get about 4-5 trips out of each wine diaper. So far, nothing has broken or spilled, so I can’t attest to how well it protects your clothing if there is breakage, but so far it protects the wine.
    YouTube Video on the Wine Diaper:


Finally, keep the weight in mind. I use a luggage scale when I travel. Wine definitely adds to the weight of my suitcase. Just remember that it matters when you show up at the airport and you’re suddenly at 50.5 lbs, and Delta wants to charge you for Excess Weight.

With all this hassle, is it worth it? Personally, yes. Whether I’ve discovered new wine I want to share back at home or I’m just trying to have a bottle in my hotel room over several nights, I can’t imagine not traveling with wine.

Full disclosure: The Wine Diaper folks sent me the
wine diapers at no charge.
Suitcase image used under
Creative Commons from Paul Lowry.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:38 am in Travel, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (5)
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
Kossy@FINEDAYS

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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)

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