Home > Gadgets, Travel, wine accessories, Wine Writing Challenge > Wine Gadgets: Traveling With Wine

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:

DSC_0700 wine bag

Wine bag

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 TotesWine 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!

  1. June 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    My fear of red spills makes me only transport Riesling…;) Just kidding. You know I usually just use wine boxes that I put in a suitcase for transportation. The bottles are then wrapped in shirts to protect them more. Works just fine. Great post!

    • talkavino
      June 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      I have done that too many times ( boxes, wrapping in the shirts, etc. The convenience of the wine skin really beats it – and at a price of around $3.50, it really makes it an easy choice. Also, shirt wrapping works when you are carrying a few bottles. If you want to actually bring home a case, it will be very difficult to do.

      • June 21, 2013 at 8:38 am

        Well, I beg to differ. I easily bring a case home with that method: wrap each bottle, put it in a paperbox case, put that case in the suitcase. Works for me. 🙂

        • talkavino
          June 23, 2013 at 10:32 am

          I guess this can work, but then I still have the wine suitcase 🙂

        • June 23, 2013 at 10:35 am


  2. PSsquared
    June 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Of all your options, I only have the last one. And I have about 6 of them, because I kept forgetting to take them to the store. And Trader Joe’s only charges 99 cents for them! But when I remember, I also use them for cans of dog food, coffee creamer, and anything else that fits, when it’s not filled with wine. 🙂

    • talkavino
      June 21, 2013 at 6:13 am

      Yep, those totes are pretty convenient. The key is to remember to take them when needed : )

  3. June 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Even though you are jumping the gun on the transportation theme, I do have to admit that I am envious of your wine luggage. I have several wine bags, two double bottle totes and one three bottle tote. Also for a fancy event or for some show stopper wines I have a two bottle leather tote. They are just so handy when you are going to another house for a party.

    • talkavino
      June 21, 2013 at 6:17 am

      I also have two bottle leather tote – but I find it to be most restrictive of all, as mine has pretty narrow compartments and I remember struggling putting a wider bottle inside. The wine luggage is convenient if you plan to bring a case of wine from somewhere far away. Not that you can’t just check-in just a box of wine, but not too many wineries have in stock special packaging which will make it safe to transport the wine on the plane…

  4. June 20, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I have used all but the wine luggage… I never even knew that existed! I can’t honestly say that I use many of these often; most of these items are tucked away somewhere. But this post certainly encourages me to pull out some of the old stand-bys for summer. A picnic sounds lovely now : )

    • talkavino
      June 21, 2013 at 6:19 am

      well, wine luggage was my least used tool – the rest of them I use pretty regularly… Yep, picnic is always a great idea : )

  5. June 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    So far I have been carrying wine for the long haul the same way Oliver did. We’ll se if that changes in the future! Cool post, Anatoli: there’s plenty of options out there!

    • talkavino
      June 21, 2013 at 6:21 am

      considering your travel, Stefano, you should definitely think about the wine luggage : ) . Nothing is wrong with shirts, but they work only for 3-4 bottles in the average size suitcase.

  6. June 21, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Great post! My general rule for buying wine when I’m traveling is this: Can I get this at home? If I can’t, then it comes home with me. Otherwise, it stays. And I try to ship as much of it home as possible (in the US). With airlines charging for extra bags and extra pounds, it ends up being a wash from a cost perspective. For international wine & travel, though, shipping is often prohibitive. So we have a wine suitcase (with styrofoam inserts). It can hold 12 bottles, and I’ve never had a bottle break. Sidenote, I will be brining home exactly zero bottles of wine from The Bahamas . . . 😉 Saludl!

    • talkavino
      June 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Thank you! I completely agree with your approaches – but many wineries today have “special bottling:, “club only” etc. selections which are not available anywhere in the stores… So more often than not, the wine have to travel home in the suitcase…

  7. June 23, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Must. Have. Wine. Suitcase.

    • talkavino
      June 23, 2013 at 8:17 am

      You made me laugh : ) This is definitely not something one can’t live without, but at the same time, if you want to bring a case of wine home, it does come handy…

  8. December 19, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Reblogged this on the drunken cyclist.

  9. December 19, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I just loved seeing the wine suitcase! I’ve got a few wine/picnic cases, but I’m going to check into the suitcase right away!

    • talkavino
      December 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks for the comment! The suitcase works very well, but you really have to know “I’m buying wine” to bring it on the trip. Cheers!

      • December 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        I haven’t found that particular one yet, but it looks just great. I have to admit, I try to tell myself NOT to buy wine when I leave the house, but it seems that I always come home with something. I’ll be heading out for the holidays with lots of wine in tow, and wish I had that suitcase already!

        • talkavino
          December 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

          I bought my suitcase at IWA (wine catalog retailer) 6 or 7 years ago, and it seems that there is nothing like that available anywhere on internet 😦 Everybody are trying to sell overly expensive and ugly looking stuff, unfortunately. Take a look at this one available at IWA: http://www.iwawine.com/wine-check-set.html?sc=75&category=41054 – it is hard to judge from the picture, but at least to me, it looks semi-decent…

        • December 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm

          That does look pretty good – thanks! And Happy New Year!

        • talkavino
          December 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm

          Thank you! Happy New Year to you too!

  10. December 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Reblogged this on mwwcblog.

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