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How to safely pack wine in your checked luggage

Published :2013-9-27 14:24:37

One of the many joys of travel is the opportunity to sample new wines and bring back some bottles of the best for yourself or friends.

We've been known to pick up a top bottle of Argentinian Malbec or French Côtes du Rhone while on a business trip, and after much trial and error (especially error) we've learned the best ways to pack wine in your luggage.

First things first: don't try to carry it on the plane with you.

Frequent flyers will consider this to be a large glass of Bleeding Obvious 2006, but it's easy for first-time travellers to overlook this, and end up leaving their Chateau Lafitte for the airport's security people to drink.

And remember, if you're making flight connections where you leave the "airside" (post-security) part of an airport and re-enter it for your next flight, you won't even be able to bring duty-free wine through with you when you're re-screened. (This happens, for example, when you connect from an international flight to a domestic flight at many airports.)

Once you've decided to put wine in your luggage, there are two key things to consider: cushion the wine from the none-too-careful handling by bag handlers, and contain it in case the cushioning doesn't work and a bottle breaks.

For both, consider a special padded wine bottle-shaped wrapper, like theWineskin (other brands are available at many wineries and online). It's essentially thick bubble-wrap with a mostly leakproof seal at the bottom end of the bottle, and we've seen them on sale at wineries for anywhere from A$5-20.

That isn't too much to shell out if your bottle is worth a couple of hundred dollars. Once you've got the bottle in the sealed wineskin, pack it in the middle of your suitcase.

When reusing a wineskin, our top tip is to seal it with duct tape rather than relying on the original adhesive, which doesn't form as strong a seal the second time.

If you don't have a wineskin handy, your best bet is to first seal it in plastic (a couple of layers of hotel laundry bag and some duct tape from the maintenance department can work well here) and then wrap it in soft material.

When carrying red wine, avoid wrapping it in clothes that you'd mind turning a lovely shade of Burgundy. And if you can, put all the clothes that you really care about in another suitcase or your carry-on.

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