Whether you want to take souvenirs back home or bring along your favourite wine bottle to drink at your destination, you need to know how to travel with wine like a pro. Travel regulations on alcohol are not stringent and you can fly with wine, but be prepared because customs will check it and impose any relevant laws of the land.
Wine bottles are fragile and they have to be well-padded to avoid breakages when passing through the baggage handlers. It’s advisable to invest in a hard suitcase that will handle the impact effectively and protect your wine. Avoid canvas suitcases because even small shoving will cause damage to the bottles inside.
Customs allow liquids in containers smaller than 100 ml in the carry-on luggage; although this might seem obvious, do not be one of those travellers who overlook this fact. Anything large than that will be seized, and later on enjoyed, by the customs agents. On the checked baggage, any drink containing more than 70% alcohol is prohibited, above 24% is limited to 5 litres per traveller, and below 24% there is no quantity limit. However, the international luggage weight limit of 23 kg still applies.
There are plenty of bags in the market, but what matters more is how you pad the bottles. First of all, use your clothes and other soft items to provide padding around the bag. Put the wine in the middle; this is vital for canvas suitcases in particular because the only protection against a hard surface and your wine is the thin layer of material.
Place the wine bottle inside a wine-skin before putting it in the suitcase. In the undesirable event the bottle breaks, the skin will prevent wine from pouring onto the other contents of the bag and ruining your clothes.
Now that you know how to pack wine the right way, ensure you adhere to the customs rules. International customs guidelines allow you to carry unlimited alcohol amounts provided every bottle has less than 24% alcohol content.
Although you’re allowed to travel with an unlimited amount, the US will only give you 1-liter duty-free, and then charge tax for the rest. The 3 percent tax is very low and worthwhile, especially if you’re taking wine brands that are unavailable in the US.
In Europe, on the other hand, travellers are allowed to carry up to 90 liters tax-free between the European Union countries, the UK included.
There are many local wine producers in the world with top-notch wineries, but most people do not get to sample and enjoy their drinks because they do not export. Bringing such a bottle home with you is a thrilling experience indeed. Keep in mind that the tips discussed in this guide do not cover international shipping of alcohol and wine, which comes with requirements such as import licences, country laws, and alcohol bans in particular countries.