Food & Drink
Tips for traveling with wine  

Tips for traveling with wine  

We’re spending Christmas Day at home with our family. I have two luxury escapes from the holiday chaos.

The first was last weekend’s trip to Four Seasons Westlake Village. Next week, we will depart for our second-holiday getaway. We hope the weather cooperates because we are scheduled to swim in the Bahamas.

Sometimes I travel with wine, which might seem strange, as the luxury hotels where we stay have lots of wine.

A bottle of wine is a good idea. Packing a bottle of wine occasionally makes sense, as I want to avoid a glass of wine after a long journey or busy holiday.

Sterling Vineyards provided me with a very generous holiday inspiration kit that focuses on traveling home for the holidays. It included gear to make packing, opening, transporting and serving wine more convenient while on the move.

Given the many holiday travelers, I thought it would be a good idea to share my reasons for bringing wine with me, how to pack it, and other considerations.

Why not pack your own wine?

Enjoy your journey. Holiday travel can be stressful, unpredictable, and sometimes even delayed. It is something to look forward too, having a bottle of water on hand.

It’s possible you won’t want to wait. Our weekend in Westlake Village began at 9:30 p.m. and we left San Diego after my daughter was asleep. It would have been too difficult to walk down to the bar if I wanted to order a glass of wine and not wait for room service delivery.

You’re sure to love it. The Sterling Platinum 2012 red blend is my current favorite. It was also included in my quarterly Sterling Vineyards wine club shipment, so I bought that. Their premium reds are my favorite.

It may be more economical. I have seen wine prices rise due to markup, tax, and service fees.

This is a great way to make use of additional luggage space. It is said that hard-sided luggage is less likely than a full bag to scuff. You can fill up extra space with wine.

To share your special bottle. No matter where you are, the holidays are a great time to share that special bottle you have been saving for a special occasion.

How to pack wine

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You can transport your bottles safely by train or car with a padded case. This one carries two bottles and the wine accessories kit I love.

A cold Chardonnay in an Insulated Bag is a great option if you are just heading to a house party nearby.

Accessories are important. It’s not the worst thing to realize you forgot to bring a corkscrew or a bottle wine. Although many hotels have them in their minibar, there are occasions when they are not available. One time, I had to pay for a terrible plastic corkscrew through room service at a Hilton hotel. It is best to be prepared.

A good stopper will preserve an open bottle for the next day.


To prevent any impact, you should cover the bottles with as much padding as possible. If they are not stored in a hard-sided container, wrap them in bubble wrap or clothes.

Experts recommend investing in hard-sided luggage if you plan on traveling frequently with wine.

Wine Skin’s reusable wine bags are genius. It’s easy to pack a few more bottles in your suitcase in case you need them, such as during a weekend at Sterling Vineyards.

You need to seal the bottom of the container completely to prevent liquid from escaping.

Tips for Flying with Wine

TSA prohibits alcohol from being transported in luggage containing more than 70% alcohol per volume (140 proof). It also limits alcohol consumption between 24-70% and 5 liters. The good news is that wine typically falls below 24% alcohol per volume, so there is no limit to the weight of check-in luggage.

Cool allowances are available from a few airlines. Alaska Airlines, for example, will fly a bag from Sonoma to your home at no cost. This is rare, however.

A standard bottle of wine cannot be carried in carry-on luggage. It will exceed the TSA allowance of only 3.4 oz. You can bring on board duty-free purchases made at the airport after security checks have been completed.

This sounds like a great reason to bring a TSA-approved Corkscrew onboard. However, it is against FAA regulations to consume alcohol onboard a plane that has not been served to you by a certificate holder (for all intents, flight attendants).

Know what you can bring to your destination when traveling internationally. You should also be aware of the customs requirements if you plan to transport wine from abroad. At this time, any alcohol exceeding one liter is subjected to a 3% tax. The U.S. For more information, see Customs and Border Protection and TSA Notes.

Driving with wine

Driving is the best way to take wine with you. You can take one or two cases, or more, depending on your preference. Be aware that an open wine bottle with a cork inside is considered an open container. Check local laws. It should be stored in a safe place. To prevent any breakage, make sure that bottles are well-padded and cannot slide across the trunk.    

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