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Traveling With Wine and How To Properly Take It With You

April Sullivan
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Traveling With Wine and How To Properly Take It With You

As the world reopens for tourism — after two long and painful years — it’s time to start visiting wineries and traveling with wine again. However, traveling with wine isn’t as simple as placing it in your suitcase; you’ll need to follow specific tips to avoid issues.

After all, can you think of anything worse than buying an expensive, delicious bottle of wine and ruining or even losing it during travel? 

Here’s how you can avoid any wine nightmares when you travel:

1. Buy a Wine Bag 

Wine bags are almost always the best option to prevent damage. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they vary in price. If you only travel with one or two wine bottles, wine bottle protector sleeves are fantastic; they can cushion the blow if your suitcase falls. 

You can also use bottle guards and small bottle dividers if you’re traveling overnight or on short-haul trips. However, if you're a wine professional who travels regularly, invest in something robust and sturdy, such as a hard sell suitcase with a bottle divider. 

2. Use DIY Methods to Protect Your Wine Bottles

For various reasons — including financial constraints — you may decide against purchasing a wine bag. It’s not the end of the world; you can still use DIY methods to protect your wine. 

Here are some of the best DIY methods:

3. Purchase Fragile Stickers For Your Suitcase 

If airport staff see fragile stickers on your suitcase, there’s a strong chance they’ll think twice about mishandling your suitcase. You can ask for fragile stickers at the airport counter; usually, they will provide them to you. However, you can purchase fragile stickers from Amazon or eBay at affordable prices. 

4. Print a copy of the TSA Alcohol Regulations

Although you’d expect airline officials to understand alcohol-transport regulations, this isn’t always the case. There are countless nightmare stories of travelers losing their wine because airline officials didn’t understand the TSA’s alcohol regulations

Thankfully, you can print off a copy of the regulations and keep it with you at the airport. So if you have any issues, you can refer to legal documentation to support your case. 

5. Ensure Your Wine Meets The TSA Regulations  

There's no point in having a copy of the TSA regulations if your wine doesn't meet the regulations. The amount of wine you can bring depends on your wine's alcohol content. 

Wines With Less Than 24% Alcohol or 48 Proof

If your wine's alcohol concentration is below 24%, the TSA doesn't have limits on how much wine you can bring in your checked luggage. However, if your baggage exceeds the maximum weight offered by the airliner, you may pay an extra fee. In addition, you may need to pay extra taxes, depending on the travel destination.  

Wines Between 24% and 70% Alcohol or 48–140 Proof

Although a high alcohol concentration in wine isn't common, your wine may sometimes have over 24% alcohol concentration. If so, you can only bring a maximum of 5 liters. The TSA also requires the wine to be completely unopened and in its package. What’s more, you can't take wine with over 70% alcohol concentration in checked or carry-on luggage. 

Bringing Wine on International Flights

If you're 21 years or older, you can bring wine on international flights. However, ensure you check with your airline first and understand your destination's alcohol laws.

Travelers bringing up to 1 liter of wine into the United States don't need to pay tax. However, travelers bringing over 1 liter of wine into the United States may pay duty and Federal Excise tax. The Port of Entry will assess upon arrival. 

You should declare your wine at the Global Entry Kiosk or write it on your customs form. Make sure you specify how much wine you're bringing into the country. If you're bringing more than the exception, you may have to pay a fee on top of the price of the wine, which is often 4% or more. 

Final Thoughts 

If you follow the tips above, you can significantly reduce the chances of your wine breaking. And once you've landed, you can enjoy your delicious wine.

Some wine drinkers believe travel shock exists; they think you should leave a recently transported wine bottle alone for a week or longer after flying. However, there's no scientific evidence to support this. 

What's more, a dozen wine connoisseurs completed a blind tasting on wine that had been in space for a year. They suggested the wine even showed more floral notes due to spending a year in a zero-gravity environment. 

Are you ready to travel with wine? It's time for your Melier moment with a Melier wine subscription membership to an invitation to a community of wine tastings, outings, and events. 

It’s time to get your suitcase ready.