The Ultimate Guide to Packing Wine Like a Pro

With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, loads of lovers will be traveling with wine and other indulgences. Speaking from experience, it’s all great until a cabernet bursts in your bag and turns your white pants maroon. 

Because nothing’s more romantic than being prepared, we put together a comprehensive guide for packing everyone’s most beloved aphrodisiac: wine.

Rules and Regulations

As tempting as it may be to pop something in your carry-on, checking your wine bottle in a suitcase is a must. For those traveling internationally, it is legal to bring back most alcohol in the US, however:

  • If you are only taking a carry-on and not checking in any bags, you cannot take any liquids more than 3.4 oz in a quart sized bag. In this case it is best to buy alcohol at a duty-free shop — remember to always keep your receipts!
  • If you’re checking in luggage, there is a 5 liter restriction on alcohol between 24-70% ABV, and alcohol above that percentage is prohibited. All alcohol must be kept in unopened retail packaging. 

Choosing the Right Bag

At the risk of sounding too obvious, using a hard shell suitcase is your best bet when traveling with wine. Soft shell or canvas bags can be risky, and if you’re going to be traveling with bottles often, investing in (or renting) a hard shell case is a solid decision. Hard shells minimize the effects of any impact and allow you to travel with a little less anxiety. 
(We’re a bit biased, but we recommend renting our Away Aluminum suitcase or Samsonite Omni Expandable Hardside.)

How to Pack Wine

Once you’ve got your suitcase picked out, it’s time to get organized:

  1. Start packing your suitcase with a soft layer of clothes to form a cushy foundation.
  2. Wrap your bottle tightly in a plastic bag. This will keep the rest of your items safe in case your bottle breaks from being in a low-pressure cargo hold.
  3. Wrap your bottle in thick clothes, like sweaters or pants. If you have bubble wrap available, even better — it makes a fantastic first layer before adding on clothes.
  4. Put your bundle in the middle of the case, far away from the edges. Give it support by packing the bottle densely on all sides so it stays in place. If you have multiple bottles, put a barrier between them (pro tip: flip flops are great for this).
  5. Finish with another layer of soft clothes and voila — you’re all set!

    Travel Accessories, Bells and Whistles

    For any amateur sommeliers (*raises hand*) looking to step up their wine packing game, we’ve got you covered. If you travel with wine frequently, here are some handy items we can’t recommend enough:
    • Wine Skin 

    This can replace the plastic bag and bubble wrap combo we recommended earlier. It ensures your bottle is padded and can easily trap leaks in the worst case scenario.

    Our picks: Wine Skin, JetBag 

    • Neoprene Bottle Bags
      Basically a wine skin but thicker. Their additional cushioned layer makes them a trustworthy choice.
    Our pick: Neoprene Bag
    • Inflatable Wine Bags
      These bags come with a small pump that can be inflated to protect your bottle. It sounds a little loony, but it’s nearly impossible to break a bottle wrapped in this bubble chamber.
    Our picks: Inflatable bag, Vinni Bag
    • Wine Suitcase
      Strictly for the pros: if you’re going to travel with multiple bottles, this is a solid investment.

    Our pick: VinGuard Valise collection

    Wine Country Couture

    Feeling fancy? These high-end bags are specially designed to carry a bottle of wine in them:

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