How To Pack Wine In Checked Luggage

Last Updated on October 14, 2021

Travel often involves trying out local products. Often we end up tasting new wines and want to bring back some bottles with us when we return as a souvenir.

Or perhaps you discover a wine at your destination that has a higher quality and a cheaper price than the wine back home.

We’ve written elsewhere about the TSA rules for flying with bottles of wine in the United States. In short, you can bring as much wine as you want in your checked luggage but you need to think about airline weight limits and taxes that you might be obliged to pay when you reach your destination.

The only exception would be extremely strong fortified wine that is over 24 percent alcohol content. Alcoholic beverages that are stronger than 24 percent ABV are limited to 5 liters per person. Alcoholic beverages that are over 70% are not permitted at all.

You might also want to pack a bottle of wine in a suitcase to take it to someone as a gift. If you are staying with friends or family it’s always nice to arrive bearing wine.

Wine is almost always packed in checked luggage because the liquids rule for carry-on luggage means you can’t bring much wine with you onto the plane. Trying to bring full size bottles on to the plane will only end up in your wine being confiscated by TSA agents.

This post will teach you how to pack wine in a suitcase correctly whether you are packing just one or multiple wine bottles.

Wrap Your Bottle Of Wine In Clothing

Incorrectly packed wine could break causing damage to your clothes. Baggage handlers are not exactly renowned as being the most gentle creatures. You need to assume they are going to throw your checked bag around and take precautions accordingly.

It could be a real bummer if you arrive at your destination and discover all your vacation clothes have been soaked in chianti.

And Roger’s address book was ruined by a broken bottle of red.

It can happen to you too if you don’t have enough padding!

Protecting your wine bottles by wrapping them in clothes or towels is a beginner’s method. But it’s the best way to pack a wine bottle if you didn’t plan on traveling with a wine bottle and need to come up with a solution at short notice.

Wrapping in clothing works best if you only have one bottle of wine. Multiple bottles of wine are much more challenging to pack since they can knock against each other and knocking bottles risks a breakage disaster.

Here’s how to pack wine in a suitcase using clothes as padding:

  • Step 1 – Pack the wine bottle in a sealed shopping bag.
  • Step 2 – Then place the bag in a pair of socks.
  • Step 3 – Wrap the bottle with the thickest clothing that you have.
  • Step 4 – Place the bottles in the center of your suitcase away from the sides.
  • Step 5 – Use your clothes and shoes to provide support so that the bottle will remain in the center of the bag.
  • Step 6 – If you have multiple bottles make sure they are not touching inside your suitcase.

You will want to center your wine bottle or bottles in the middle of your travel bag. If a baggage handler throws your bag around the impact will be at the edges of the suitcase.

Another option is to put the bottle of wine inside a pants leg or a sweater arms and then stuff the surrounding area with socks and other small garments.

It’s better if your case is fully packed otherwise all your contents could shift and the bottle could move around inside the case.

Package Up Your Wine In Protective Wrapping

If you know there is a good chance you will end up with wine in your suitcase then you can do a lot better than wrapping the bottles in clothes.

Regular wine buyers should at least pack some bubble wrap and some sticky tape. This way you can properly wrap your bottle.

A step up from bubble wrap would be using a wine protector sleeve.

Wine Skin is a popular brand:

These products claim to not only protect your wine bottle from breaking but also to stop leaks from staining your clothes.

But the best way to avoid turning your whites to red is to avoid breakages in the first place.

Here is how the pros do it…

Fly Using A Dedicated Wine Suitcase Or Wine Travel Bag

This suggestion is for dedicated wine lovers. If you are going on a wine tasting vacation or traveling to a wine-producing region you might be planning to bring home many bottles for your wine collection.

And this won’t be your average cheap supermarket plonk either. Special wine deserves a special wine travel suitcase. VinGardeValise makes a great range of suitcases for traveling with wine.

Or maybe you just like to get drunk! Hey, I’m not judging. A dedicated suitcase to transport wine is perhaps the best way to do it if you are bringing expensive bottles.

Shipping Wine

Checked luggage usually means paying a fee.

It’s worth mentioning that you can ship wine.

You can pack one or two bottles in your luggage and it won’t weigh you down.

But if you are transporting a lot of wine check out the shipping prices. You might be surprised.

The Verdict

Wine Skins or similar leak-proof packaging for packing wine is probably the best bet.

A dedicated wine travel bag is too much for most casual travelers.

Flying with wine isn’t all that complicated. Use as much padding as you have available to you. If you have time to prepare… then prepare! If not wrap up the bottles as best you can and pray!

For completeness, I should also mention that you could pack a tiny little bottle with wine in your hand luggage that is under 3.4 oz and put it in your toiletries bag. This would be only useful as a tasting sample and half a glass of wine isn’t enough to satisfy anyone.

Next time you fly to California, Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, or Chile make sure you at least pack some bubble wrap so you can safely bring some of that delicious wine back home!

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