There is a certain magic we experience when touring the famous wine regions of France: the breathtaking views, the fascinating history, the proud people, and, of course the delicious wines. Wine is a very indicative reflection of what we see and experience in the region it comes from. It is a reflection of the terroir, its own evolution through history, and of course its winemakers. Many of us fall in love with our, albeit too short, experience in France, and wish we could somehow transport, some of it, back home. Wine is, in essence, that experience bottled up, giving us the ability to relive and share our memories with family and friends while we sip.
Unfortunately, the subject of travelling with wine bottles tends to confuse even the most seasoned traveller. Does the airline allow alcohol on the airplane? What about duty and taxes? How do you safely protect wine bottles without them breaking?
Most people don’t realize that taking back wine bottles with them on the airplane is not only less complicated than they thought, but it’s often the easiest, safest, and most affordable way to get you wine back home.
Rules and Regulations:
Wine is allowed on the airplane, but there are some things you need to know before you fly with your wine. The best way to transport your bottles is in your checked baggage (also known as hold baggage in the UK). This is because carry-on baggage liquid restrictions do not allow liquid containers of more than 3.4 ounces (100 ml). The only way to get around this rule is by purchasing alcohol after security from a duty-free shop. Wine in checked-baggage is treated like any other goods.
The only restriction relates to alcohol content. Travelers can’t transport bottles with more than 70% alcohol content, and can only take 5 litres of alcohol between 24% and 70%. There is no limit on liquids with alcohol content below 24%, and wine fits into this bracket.
We do of course have to ensure that we meet the airline’s baggage weight limits. For reference it is good to remember a typical wine bottle weighs between 2.4 and 3.3 lbs (1.1 and 1.4 kg).
Next is the subject of duties. We advise to always declare your alcohol.
One large point of confusion is between duty-free allowance and what happens beyond that allowance. The US, for example allows one duty-free litre of alcohol per person. However, the duty over the 1 litre, for wine destined for personal use, is $0.75-$2 per bottle. Due to the fact that it’s so low, most customs agents do not bother to collect it. Check out this handy Flying with Wine and Alcohol 101 guide for alcohol duty rates in other countries.
How to protect your wine in transit:
If wrapping your wine bottles in clothes feels too risky, there are a number of wine accessories that will give you peace of mind. For one or two bottles there’s the reusable WineHug, which inflates around your bottle(s) and protect them in your luggage. You can use a Styrofoam bottle protector, which comes in a variety of sizes (for 1, 3, 6, and 12 bottles).
If you would like to transport a larger number of bottles, its worth to invest in the Wine Check luggage. This easy-to-transport case, which features wheels and a handy strap, can carry 12 bottles of wine in its replaceable container comprised of Styrofoam and cardboard. With the bottles packed, the carrier still meets the airline’s checked-bag weight limit. Have a look at the YouTube video to see how it works.
You can order the abovementioned wine travel accessories and more from Lazenne who can ship directly to your hotel throughout France and Europe, or contact us for more info!