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Bottle service: Expert tips for traveling with wine

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Souvenir in a bottle

Sometimes the best souvenirs come in a bottle, but how do you transport that amazing Malbec without worrying about the glass shattering? We're getting some expert tips for bringing your favorite bottles home in one piece.
Woman with wine bottle

We asked Ken Chase, wine consultant for American Airlines, for his tips on getting your bottles back home safely.

Why bring wine home?

There are endless items we can bring home to commemorate a trip, from magnets and key chains to T-shirts and jewelry, but we think wine makes an even better souvenir. Chase agrees. “Usually a wine has a history or neat story behind it that relates to the person purchasing or receiving it, making it a more personal memento,” he explains. “In addition, good wines often have a specific flavor and regional style that provides a wonderful learning experience.”

Wine and travel: Check it in

If you’ll be bringing a bit of your vacation back with you in the form of wine, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first: Check in your bottle. “One of the biggest mistakes people make when traveling with wine is forgetting that they can't take liquids through security,” notes Chase. “I have seen many fliers have to leave the security checkpoint, after standing in line, to go back and check wine in their luggage. Wine needs to be checked in when traveling on an airplane.”

Think about temperature

As you prepare to travel with your wine, another thing you need to think about is temperature, which is an important factor when it comes to wine storage. “It can’t be too warm but also not too cold,” says Chase. The best way to ensure your wine stays at a suitable, consistent temperature while you travel is with the help of bubble wrap. “Wrap your wine in at least two layers with tape at both ends and put it in a plastic bag in between your clothing in your suitcase.”

Shop smart

When you’re shopping for a souvenir bottle of wine, consider buying it from a winery. “Most wineries that consumers visit today have proper Styrofoam packages, designed specifically for wine, that come in packs of two, six or 12,” says Chase. Outside of wineries, he recommends shopping and purchasing wine at stores that provide proper packaging for travel and notes that most good wine shops today are very travel savvy. “The easiest and safest way to travel with wine is using the Styrofoam packaging specifically designed for wine bottles.”

Tips on choosing a souvenir bottle

Not sure what kind of wine to bring home? It really is up to you and what you like to drink, but a souvenir bottle of wine should be representative of the area you’ve visited, says Chase. “For example, if you traveled to Germany on the Mosel River, Riesling would be the grape to choose,” he suggests. “You can do a little research and ask locals to find out which vineyards are best and purchase your wine from them."

If you’re worried about cost, Chase says most wineries have different levels of wine and prices, allowing you to purchase the best items for your budget. But when it comes down to it, choose something with meaning. “The most important element is the history or story behind the wine.”

Tell us

Do you bring wine home as a souvenir? Share in the comments below!

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