Wine Gadgets: Traveling With Wine
Few weeks ago, a fellow wine blogger Jeff, better known as The Drunken Cyclist in the wine blogging world, decided to challenge the wine bloggers to create blog posts relevant to the specific theme (this is a very popular trend among photography bloggers). The theme of the first challenge is Transportation. The post I’m about to present to you was supposed to the written in any case as part of the Wine Gadgets series, but it also very conveniently fits the theme of the challenge, so here we go.
A little intro: this is the fourth post in the Wine Gadgets series, where we are discussing different tools enhancing wine appreciation. In case you missed any of the prior posts, here are the links: Series Intro, Wine Pourers, Wine Preservers.
Can we use the words “wine” and “travel” interchangeably? Of course not, what kind of silly question is that! But think about your travel for a second. How often your travel plans include visiting the winery, no matter where you go? If you are reading this blog, I can safely say that for the most of you, if you are within the day travel from the winery, you are willing to make a detour. Do you visit the wine stores when you are visiting a different state or a different country? Of course you do! Thus it is safe to assume that your travel includes some happy encounters with wine.
But (oh, you knew the “but” is coming) – how many of you dreaded the trip back home, with all that wine you fell in love with, especially if that trip home include the scary, shiny beast called…a-e-r-o-p-l-a-n-e? The thought of the bottle of red wine in your luggage and then red liquid thinly covering your favorite shirt and dripping blood-like from the suitcase all over the luggage carousel can be paralyzing, no questions. But – there is no reason to be afraid of that scary, shiny beast. All you need to do is to use … of course, the wine gadgets.
So let’s talk about wine travel tools which you have at your disposal. And of course, not all the trips which include carrying of the wine include air travel – most of them will not, absolutely – thus we will talk about different tools, suitable for long distance wine travel and not.
Here is the list of some of the useful wine travel tools:
- Wine Picnic Carrier (can be called a Picnic Tote) – usually a short haul solution
- Wine Skin – pretty universal, but more applicable for the long haul
- Wine Luggage/Wine Transporter – mostly for the long haul
- Wine Tote – there are multiple versions, all for the short haul
- Wine Bag – definitely short haul, but most useful when visiting the wine store
Now, here are some pictures:
Now, let’s talk about these tools one by one.
Picnic wine carrier is a simple tool, suitable for short distance travel, or at least a travel where your luggage is not a subject of rough handling – having that wine tote in the trunk of your car is really not considered a “rough handling”. Added bonus is thermal insulation – if you will put a cold bottle of wine inside, the temperature will be preserved for a while. Many different kinds of the picnic tote are available, with capacity varying from 1 to 6 bottles.
Wine luggage is a serious tool. I bought mine about 5 years ago. For the most of those 5 years, I kept contemplating whether it is suitable for the trip or not. Problem is that this suitcase is really suitable just for wine, so traveling with two suitcases in the times when you only want to have carry on, doesn’t really sounds exciting. Besides, every time I would look at that suitcase, a fearful thought would visit – will it be actually able to protect the wine? Finally, for my last trip to Portugal, where I knew I will be around the wine I decided that it was now or never moment, and just went ahead. That was actually an excellent decision – wine suitcase performed perfectly, and I brought home 12 bottles of wine, all safe and sound. As you can see in the picture above, all the bottles are secured by the two straps, with the dividers between them. The suitcase also has sturdy sides and top and bottom, which protects your precious content quite well. From now on, when my plans will include carrying around substantial amount of wine, the wine suitcase is “it”.
Wine Tote is a simple tool to conveniently carry around a bottle or two of wine, also keeping it at colder temperature if it was previously chilled. I typically use it when I need to bring a bottle of white wine to the party. Then again, if you primarily travel by car, this tool has very limited value. If your travel includes public transportation and/or long distance walking, this can be quite convenient.
Next tool is called Wine Skin. Bubble wrap padded thick and sturdy plastic poach cut in the shape of a bottle – this tool is pure genius in my opinion (here is a link which explains how wine skin works). The poach has a bottom flap with adhesive, so you can completely enclose the bottle inside, air-tight. Even if your bottle will somehow break, the liquid will stay inside. Theoretically, this is single-use device, but I have my set of wine skins which I’m using and reusing for the past 4-5 years, and yet didn’t discard a single one – the adhesive still holds quite well. The great thing about wine skin that it has no weight, and it takes literally no space in your suitcase. Thus you have it with you in your trip, and in case you come across the wine you want to bring home, you can do it safely and without worrying – and if you don’t, that’s okay too.
Last tool for today is Wine Bag – at some point many wine stores carried them, and they were typically sold for $2.99. The wine bags are great for their intended purpose – to bring wine back from the wine store. Same way as it is popular now to go to the store with your own bag, the same idea works here. Wine bags are definitely a lot more convenient than a cardboard box which is hard to carry and then they should be disposed of, or the paper bags. But – I guess the problem is that a lot of wine store visits are very spontaneous, and people forget to bring the bag! Anyway, I have a few of those, and when I remember (!), I always bring them over.
If you are interested in any of these wine travel tools, here are few links from Amazon: Picnic Wine Carriers, Wine Skin, Wine Totes, Wine Luggage. Also, specifically for the wine luggage, I believe IWA Wine (an online/print catalog) has better selection than Amazon – take a look here.
And as we have done before, here is our gadget poll:
So, what do you say? Do you have your preferred wine travel tools? What do you think about tools we discussed here?
In the next Gadgets post, we will talk about chillers. Until then – cheers!