12 April, 2019
Beyond the Bubbles: How Six Industry Insiders Travel With Wine
What is the best way to travel with bottles of wine? "Carefully!" Rit Bradley H. Groper, Vice President of Sales, Long Meadow Ranch Wine Estates.
Groper flew 50 or more times a year and estimates that he carries some 20,000 bottles worldwide during his 35 years traveling with wine. His biggest fear is a bottle or two of cases that disappear into the black hole of the plane baggage. This never happened, he says, although once a case has disappeared for two weeks.
The sellers and air transport authorities assure Groper and all of us that corkscrews, not theft, are the main victims of security checks at wine-related airports. We thank the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for protecting us and our bottles.
The TSA was created – transferred from the Ministry of Transport to the Department of Homeland Security – in 2001, in response to 9/11. TSA's ban on the sale of liquids for a period of 3.4 ounces was launched in response to a transatlantic threat in August 2006.
Shortly after, Aaron Snyder, lawyer and wine lover based in Beverly Hills, was traveling with a transfer to London. His experience has inspired him to create the WineSkin, a bubble jacket designed for wine bottles. Until then, like most everyone else, Snyder said he used "the habit: socks, underwear, shirts, bubble wrap, travel cartons provided by wineries, as large as they were. "
Today, its WineSkins are used by wineries, supermarkets, promoters and vendors like Groper. WineSkins offers options ranging from simple use to reusable to inflatable, highly absorbent to recyclable. There are other types of sleeves designed to safely guide wine from one terminal to another, including JetBag, MonTien, VinoLock, WineHero and WineWings.
VinePair is maintained with frequent wine professionals to determine the best travel escort for your bottles. The amount of bottles plays a bigger role than one might think, just like the type of luggage, the route (connections? Delays?), The shape and weight of the bottle. Rest assured, it is quite possible to analyze and plan your wine from one point to another point in advance.
Aaron Snyder, a lawyer and wine enthusiast, created bubble envelopes after the TSA regulations changed in 2006. Credit: WineSkin.net
Irene Lozach, PJK Wineries Sales Manager, Healdsburg, Calif. , traveling with wine for 25 years. . Recently, she bought a bunch of wine sleeves and put them to the test.
She used the JetBag on a New York-Atlanta flight. "It's like packing the bottle in a diaper," says Lozach. "It works, but only [slightly] is better than a thick sock in case the bottle really breaks, as it would absorb."
Lozach packed several bottles in his suitcase with Wine Wings on a flight from Laguardia Airport in New York to O'Hare Airport in Chicago. "One of them broke, even though the wine was completely contained in the bag with no leakage," she says. Despite the broken bottle, she described the experience as "quite impressive".
However, her favorite purchase was the Montinen wine bottle protector, with which she carried a small number of bottles from New York to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Lozach praised his thick bubbles, his soft plastic as well as his easy cleaning and storage. "The winner!"
Michael Quinttus, CEO of Vintus, importer of fine wines, rides a plane 25 times a year. He travels with no less than three bottles at a time. His greatest fear is neither rupture nor confiscation: it is a delay.
Wine is often the only reason he has checked his luggage. "With proper packaging, breaking is not a problem," says Quinttus. "We all have stories about people who have broken bottles, but it's usually when they try to pack bottles with their personal belongings."
Quinttus protects his cargo by customizing sleeves and suitcases according to the number of bottles he carries. When he flies with one to three bottles, he uses a cardboard loader with pulp inserts, like the Landsberg 3 pack. "Just add some tape," he says.
When traveling by plane with four to six bottles, "you have to use a WineCruzer," says Quinttus. It is a rigid, foam-lined, airtight and waterproof (polypropylene copolymer resin) housing, available in 10 shapes and sizes, with and without wheels.
Weight can be another problem with luggage at the airport. Each airline has its own weight restrictions. Stay within limits or get ready for a fee, which will likely be cheaper than the shipping costs. In addition, the TSA, other agencies and all countries have regulations governing the transportation and shipping of alcohol – VAT, quantity and taxes. Be sure to check before traveling and / or shipping.
Groper speaks on behalf of all industry players when he suggests planning in advance when flying with 12 bottles of wine (about a crate) or more. Last month, he checked 24 bottles in "shippers", boxes of professional wine shippers, during a trip to Hong Kong. It was a chore. "Send it!" Exclaim Quinttus without hesitation.
"Industry and connoisseurs are looking into one or more cases with airlines at professional wine shipper kiosks," agrees Shawnda Hansen, Napa and Sonoma's former wine tour guide. "However, it is difficult to manage a box book without wheels or handles. "
About 10 years ago, while Hansen was running vineyard tours, she realized that the main reason people did not buy wines they enjoyed and liked was the difficulty and cost of recovery bottles at home.
"There was, and there is always something new, expensive luggage dedicated to wine," she says, "but many of those who travel with wine would rather spend that money on wine, not on luggage. The latter, she says, could collapse or "could easily drop a case of wine beyond the 50-pound weight limit, which would impose a higher cost."
She associates with Todd French to create the Wine Check. Launched in 2010, the Wine Check is a foldable padded cabinet that holds up to 12 bottles of wine. According to Hansen, customers, mainly tourists, send him pictures of the product at airports around the world.
Another consideration is the size and shape of the bottles themselves, which may vary by region. If the bottles you need to carry are outside the usual shapes and sizes – too high, too bulbous, too gigantic – you can be left to yourself. This is why Sophia Zaïme, founder of Madame Wine, a service based in Paris that puts wine lovers in the service of wine, changes the packaging accordingly. The bubble film is his favorite.
Groper agrees and also suggests shippers to be designed for magnums, champagne bottles, and so on.
If you do not fly, Groper, his team and countless other manufacturers in the industry recommend a Chill'nGo. "He's been the leader in this field for decades," he says. According to the company's website, the six-bottle seller's bag is the most popular.
Your priorities will guide your packaging decisions. Zaïme, for example, says that boxes beat bags every day. "It's safer," she says. To break his suitcase is his greatest fear.
"I do not care about my clothes but I'm interested in wine," she says. We could not find anywhere a wine lover who does not agree.
When traveling by plane with four to six bottles, "you have to use a WineCruzer," says importer Michael Quinttus. Credit: Winecruzer.com
Best way to fly with one or two bottles
For transportation of this size, pack your bottles in sleeves and place them in your luggage – be sure to check the air transport regulations in advance. Bradley H. Groper of Long Meadow Ranch loves WineSkins; PJK sales manager Irene Lozach tested several rounds and said Montien was her favorite.
Best way to fly with 3 bottles
Vintus President and CEO Michael Quinttus enjoys using cardboard shippers with paste inserts, such as this 3-pack from Landsberg.
Best way to fly with 4 to 6 bottles
WineCruzers are airtight and lined with moss. They come in 10 shapes and sizes, with and without wheels. (Quinttus loves the wheels.)
Best way to fly with more than 12 bottles
Check the boxes of professional wine shippers as if you were transporting luggage with your airline. Shawnda Hansen, a former Napa tour guide, has partnered with Todd French to create The Wine Check, a foldable crate that holds up to 12 bottles of wine.
Best way to fly with bottles of unusual shapes
The bubble film is the reference of the founder of Madame Wine, Sophia Zaïme. Groper also suggests planning and packing shippers designed for magnums or champagne bottles.
Best way to bring wine when it was not flying
Chill'nGo offers temperature-controlled bins with ergonomic shoulder pads (the six-bottle seller's bag is the most popular, according to the website) that Groper calls "the leader in this field".