How much did you buy?

No judgement here but the amount you purchase absolutely determines how the wine should be transported. Frankly if you are under four bottles I think you can slip it into your checked baggage without major issue. Wine Skins – are awesome, reusable and easy to use and reasonably priced. Keep in mind every bottle of wine weights about three pounds and that it adds up fast. Weight limits tend to be 50 pounds per bag- going over will result in a fine. If you are heading out on a domestic wine trip- carry a collapsible duffle  in your check bag so you can check either check it  with clothing as padding, or take out some things to carry on to keep your weight down. Due to some of the new crazy rules for carry on bags it may be less expensive or the same price to check multiple bags for your vino.

Once you go over six it tends to make more sense to with a Styrofoam mailer– the expense is present but they are extremely sturdy and tend to be reusable. They can be difficult to find at post offices unless you are in a tourist driven wine region. Amazon does have them for sale if you are looking for them domestically. It will be about a hundred dollars total (box, tax and shipping fees) to get your wine from vacation spot to home. You can also take a foam box as a checked item on your plane. If you do this often- there are bags made especially for the Styrofoam mailers. Personally I find them extremely expensive when you can simply tape the box closed and call it a day.

The wine is subject to TSA check as is all luggage. The airline will not take any responsibility for the wine breakage or leakage. Some airlines have limits of how much per customer domestically, so check with your airline so that you don’t get blind sided by airline regulations.

Always remember check to see if you need to bring wines home. I’m not telling you that the Chardonnay you are having in Sonoma isn’t worth brining home, but I am going to gently remind you that lots of wine are sold in your local market. You can always ask at the winery if they sell them in your state, some things are smaller production and are ‘winery only,’ these wines are what you should buy when you are there. Don’t be tempted by the discount offered to buy things you can get at home- the cost of shipping this wine home will negate that discount.  Pleasedevelop a relationship with your local wine shop, most owners are delighted to order you whatever you desire so that you can purchase it at home. It is not a bother- these folks got into the industry because they enjoy wine- your excitement about a new favorite may lead to it being sold at your favorite shop.  Know the details of the wine- take a picture of the label so you don’t forget any details- vintage or single vineyard can make a huge difference as your new shop owning friend orders it for you. Most wineries will also ship your wine home for you, if you are buying more than three bottles from one property I highly recommend this option- the prices tend to be very far and so simple! Also who doesn’t love having wine show up on their doorstep?

Where are you shipping it to? Please check your state laws for the legality of shipping wine. Don’t lie about what is in your package-  lying to the Postal Service can get you into major trouble.

For International Travelers: Per TSA regulations, if you purchase liquor from a duty-free shop and it’s able to be screened (i.e., not in an opaque, metallic, or ceramic bottle) and is in a secure, tamper-evident bag (called an STEB), you can transport it in your carry-on. I haven’t yet (fingers crossed) had issues with wines not purchased at a duty free shop- but the sealed bag is important- it helps keep the liquid out of your things if the worst happens.

If you bring back more than one liter, customs regulations require you to pay duty tax based on the percent of alcohol (generally $1–2 per liter for wine). So if you and one other person are traveling you can generally get away with three standard size bottles without issue. Because you are sitting at 2 ¼ liters you technically have nothing to declare because you are under the limits. Don’t lie to customs agents if you have more. Sometimes they won’t even make you pay the tax if you are polite and the wine is for personal use. Always be nice to these folks- they can simplify your life so much!

Happy Traveling!