Best Wine Travel Bags – Wine Suitcases, Luggage, & How To Pack Wine
We consider ourselves professional eaters. We also sometimes joke that we are professional drinkers, but that is not as socially acceptable. How ever you want to call it, we often find ourselves flying with wine or other alcohol. I never thought we’d become experts at traveling with wine, but here we have it. That’s why we wanted to offer suggestions and tips on the best wine travel bags. The options we offer include wine suitcases, wine luggage, wine totes and other ways to pack wine.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
Our Experience Flying With Wine
I would like to say that we travel with wine solely because of our profession as food and drink writers. The truth is that we’ve been purchasing wine and traveling with it for almost two decades. In that time, we’ve tried almost everything. During early years, we would purchase a case or more from winemakers and have them shipped from Italy or Spain back to the US. We’ve on occasion stuck a wine bottle in our luggage, or a bottle of gin or whiskey, wrapped in an old t-shirt and hoped for the best.
In recent years, though, we’ve done a lot more research on how to travel with wine. After all, wine is one of our favorite souvenirs to bring back. We are not going to stop traveling with wine. Eventually, we knew our luck would run out and one of those bottles wrapped in a t-shirt would break. Wine is delicate and it must be packed with care.Check out the Top Wine Suitcases on Amazon
The Best Wine Carrying Cases
In this post, we offer a wide variety of options of wine bottle carrier bags. I include full reviews of each option below. Most of them are specifically designed for air travel. Some work well on the ground too. If you are short on time, feel free to use the table below, which includes all our recommendations. I also include travel tips on how to pack wine bottles in different ways and how to keep up-to-date on rules about traveling with wine.
All of these options are available on Amazon. We like Amazon for a couple of reasons. First, they have a good variety of options for wine bags for air travel and local travel, at every price point. Second, we try to recommend products that are part of Amazon Prime, which provides purchasers with free and often super-fast delivery. (Get 30 days of Prime free here.)
Can You Take Wine On A Plane
This is really a two-part question. The first question is whether you can bring wine in carry on luggage. The second question is can you pack wine in checked luggage? We will answer both questions, in great detail, and hopefully this will answer all of the questions that plague travelers who want to pack wine. Taking wine on a plane is not all that difficult once you understand the rules.
Can You Carry Wine On A Plane
With all the restrictions on liquids, you cannot bring liquor or wine in carry on luggage unless it is less than 100 ml (3.4 ounces). That means travel-sized wine bottles, which do make good souvenirs, can be carried on in your luggage. But, they need to be placed in a small plastic bag, alongside your shampoo and other toiletries. It’s possible, but it’s a real pain.
The only other way to carry on a wine bottle is if you purchase it from duty free. We always hear stories of travelers being caught off guard and leaving Champagne behind for the security guards! Check out the TSA rules here.
Traveling With Wine Pro Tip
If you purchase duty free liquor in Europe before traveling to the US, if you have a connecting flight there are additional rules. For example, if you fly from London to New York and then connect to Detroit you will need to collect your checked luggage in New York. Then, you need to re-check your bag to continue onto Detroit. You will need to add your duty free liquor purchase into your checked bag before continuing on to Detroit. Just be warned.
Can You Check Wine In Luggage
This is where it gets interesting when it comes to bringing wine on a plane. If you travel with wine, it has to be in your checked luggage. There are a lot of factors that go into packing wine. These rules apply to flying with wine, Champagne, or any other bottle of alcohol. You don’t need to do anything special with the airline when you travel with wine. The real question is how to pack wine in luggage.
We will cover each of these options in detail. If you are a wine professional or travel frequently with wine, then a wine travel suitcase is probably a good investment. These would be checked as an additional piece of luggage, so be sure to check what your luggage allowance is. On average a bottle of wine weighs about three to four pounds. This works well if you don’t want to ship a case of wine directly from the winery.
If you only generally travel with a couple of bottles of wine there are some wine sleeves for airplane travel that are best.
Traveling With Wine Pro Tip
People ask us all the time if it is okay to place Champagne or sparkling wine in checked luggage. Cargo holds, the space underneath the plane, are pressurized. The way sparkling wine is produced, the bottle and the cork are made to withstand that kind of pressure.
Things To Consider When Purchasing Wine Carriers For Travel
In order to determine which wine bottle travel bag is perfect for you, it helps to ask yourself some questions in order to determine your needs. I can certainly give my opinion on which is the best wine travel bag, but if it isn’t the right one for your needs, it’s certainly not the best.
Are You A Wine Pro?
If you are a wine pro or finds yourself traveling with wine on a regular basis then something like a wine bottle suitcase is probably best for you. This is particularly true if you travel with samples to conferences or bring samples home from winery visits. These suitcases are specifically designed to carry wine. The inside of the suitcase is layered with wine bottle protectors to prevent breakage and other damage to the wine while in transport. Some of the wine luggage options are dedicated only to wine whereas others you can pack clothes and wine. These rules and suggestions also apply to someone who is an avid wine collector.
How Often Do You Transport Wine?
If you are not a wine pro or wine collector, whether it is on a plane or on the ground, think about how much you travel with wine? Are you visiting one winery a year and bringing home a few bottles? Or, do you make several trips a year with the intent of bringing wine back each time. Do you bring a bottle or two of something back every trip you take – domestic and international? Do you find yourself taking wine to people’s houses for dinners or picnics or BBQs?
When answering these questions, if you fly with wine often, wine bottle luggage might be worth the investment. If it is only once or twice a year, then wine sleeves for travel might be sufficient. If you want to transport wine locally, a wine carrier tote or insulated wine carrier might be best. These protect bottles when you carry them with you, or keep them cool for picnics or BBQs. We share recommendations for each of these options below.
How Many Bottles Are You Carrying?
The most important of these questions comes down to how many wine bottles you pack or travel with regularly. If you plan on packing six or 12 bottles on a regular basis, then it is worth it to invest in quality wine luggage carrier or suitcase. Particularly from a reputable brand that will last for years to come. If you only pack wine on occasion, then some of the more casual options are probably best for you.
The Best Wine Suitcases and Wine Luggage
If you are a wine professional, like we are quickly becoming, you may need to travel with a good amount of wine. This option also works for wine aficionados who know when they leave home for a trip that they are bringing back a good amount of wine. A quality wine suitcase will ensure than any checked wine is well-protected to avoid any breakage.
Most of these options are hard-sided wine travel suitcases. They are rugged and made to withstand airplane travel. Some also have a little bit of elegance or class to them. There are few types of wine luggage in this category. One type looks like typical wheeled luggage and from the outside no one would know the case contained bottles of wine. Other types look a little more like they contain wine and range from hard core to practical in style. All of these options have wheels to make it easier to move.
I don’t spend time in the wine luggage reviews below on dimensions of the case or carrier. This is because they are all roughly the same size. It is also because they are checked luggage so there is no need to worry about carry-on luggage dimensions.
VINgarde valise wine luggage
VinGardeValise is the market leader in quality wine bottle packing for travel. What I like about the VinGardeValise Grande Bottle Wine Travel Suitcase is that it looks like regular luggage. This 12 bottle rolling wine bag even has 360-degree spinner wheels so it is easy to maneuver. It’s perfect for both a wine pro and a wine enthusiast.
The wine suitcase holds up to 12 bottles of wine or 10 bottles of wine and two bottles of Champagne, or similarly shaped larger bottles. The interior is flexible, meaning it can hold six bottles along with clothes, or 12 bottles. The case weighs only 13.5 pounds, which means full with 12 bottles it will weigh less than 50 pounds.
This case includes a TSA-approved lock rather than a hard padlock, which keeps the wine secure, but allows TSA inspection. It also comes with HomingPin, which is a lost luggage locator system, sort of like a lo-jack for wine suitcases. It comes in black, silver, and burgandy. They also sell versions with personalized name plates, which are a nice touch for a wine gift. The luggage also comes with a 10 year warranty.
It’s hard not to say that this is the best wine suitcase on the market, based on features and reputation. The foam inserts are high-density and well-made. The luggage has a new ribbed design along with a reinforcement bar and corner guards to protect the wine inside.
- Holds 12 bottles of most shapes
- Interior is customizable to hold wine, wine accessories, and even clothes
- Airline approved and satisfies requirements of TSA and FAA, including TSA-approved lock and HomingPin luggage locator
- Full loaded it weighs under 50 pounds
If the VinGardeValise is a little too much, then the VinGardeValise Petite 8 Bottle Wine Travel Suitcase might be the perfect solution.
This rolling wine bag has a lot of the same features as the larger version. It transports up to eight bottles and has flexible inserts to carry wine or clothes or personal items. Empty the wine luggage weighs about 12 pounds, which is a lot lighter than the 12 bottle version.
It includes the HomingPin lost luggage locator and a TSA approved lock. It comes in blue, silver, and burgundy all of which can be purchased with the customized name plate. The VinGardeValie Petite has a limited 10 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Other Wine Suitcase brands
The CasePro 12 Bottle Wine Travel Case takes things up a notch from the VinGarde Valise. The CasePro holds 12 bottles of wine. It is thermally insulated to maintain wine temperatures during flights. This is a great feature when traveling with high-value wines. There is also space for wine accessories, like corkscrews and aerators, which you might not be able to carry on the airplane.
The insulated foam can hold almost any bottle size. There are foam neck caps to hold bottles in place. The case is insulated against heat, cold, and is waterproof. It also protects agains shocks and vibration, which is important with wine transport.
The CasePro also comes as an 8 bottle wine carrier suitcase and in larger sizes, up to 24 bottles. When comparing the CasePro to the VinGardeValise, I would suggest the CasePro is best for wine professionals whereas the VinGarde Valise would work for wine pros and wine enthusiasts. The case weighs 25 pounds, which would place the total weight filled with 12 bottles of wine at around 60 pounds.
The T.Z. Case International 7-Bottle Wheeled Wine Roller Bag is a happy medium between the CasePro and the VinGardeValise. TZ Case International is a specialist in travel cases, for beauty products, sporting products, and wine.
It holds up to seven wine bottles in a rugged molded polypropylene case with flexible foam inserts. The inserts can be removed to hold clothes and other personal items. The luggage is both water and dust resistant. It’s also lighter weight than the other options, weighing in at only 10 pounds and about 35 pounds loaded with wine. Although not specifically marketed as TSA or FAA approved like the VinGardeValise there are no reported problems carrying it domestically or internationally.
I actually like the shape of this, which is less bulky and would make it easier to carry along with regular suitcase. It’s a good value option in comparison to the others. The TZ Case Case International is smaller, with less bells and whistles, but also is less expensive.
Similar to TZ Case International, MC-Cases specializes in travel cases, but of a pretty rugged variety. They specialize is cases for high-end cameras and drones, so they are known for transporting high-value items.
The Winebuddy Wine Travel Luggage is made in Germany and stores up to eight wine bottles. It really is a dedicated wine suitcase because the inserts are not as flexible as the VinGardeValise. The inserts are made for standard 750ml bottles. Although it doesn’t come with a TSA-approved lock, it has holes in the case for one. The case is waterproof, dust-proof, and durable.
The Province Winefit 12 Bottle Wine Luggage Bag is an entirely different style of wine luggage. It’s for the wine enthusiast who wants an elegant option for packing wine.
The leather is wrapped around an aluminum framework to provide structure to the wine carrier. The interior’s foam inserts can regulate the temperature of the wine bottles up to 18 hours.
This wine suitcase comes in several leather colors, including black, dark brown, and tobacco brown. It also comes in a 16 bottle option. It also comes with a one year product warranty. I do like the look of the style of the Winefit, but the hard-sided wine carriers give me a little more peace of mind.
The Wine Check Luggage is a great alternative to the more hefty wine suitcases, above. It is made of high-quality nylon with reinforced stitching.
Here’s how it works. There are two pieces that are sold separately. There is a wine check bag and the styrofoam inserts. Here it is sold as a complete set. The wine check bag is collapsible and foldable, making it easy to store when not in use. The bag and inserts only weigh about five pounds, making it the lightest option on our list. Even when filled with 12 bottles of wine, the total weight would be well less than 50 pounds. It is approved by the FAA and the TSA.
Wine Sleeves For Travel
When it comes to how to pack wine in a suitcase, the biggest concern is how to protect the wine from breakage during the flight. One of the best ways to do this is to buy a wine sleeve, which acts like wine bubble wrap. Our favorite brand is WineHero.
This is a six pack of bubble wrap wine bottle protectors, but it does a lot more than simple bubble wrap. It’s leak-proof and water proof. They work for wine, liquor, beer, olive oil, and other liquids that are similar shape. After our recent trip to Speyside in Scotland, we fit a rather wide bottle of whisky in ours too.
They work by using a combination of ziploc and velcro closures to make the wine sleeve reusable as well. What I like about these is that they travel flat, so you can add a few to your suitcase on the way out and use them if you need to on the way back.
Wine Tote Bags And Insulated Totes
The main purpose of this wine accessory blog post is to help travelers fly with wine. I wanted, though, to share our recommendations for a few wine totes. Here, I focus on insulated wine tote bags. The insulation helps to protect the wine as well as to keep it chilled. This makes it a great option for bringing white wine or sparkling wine to a friend’s house. They are also great solutions for picnics and BBQs.
A wine tote bag makes a great wine gift, but it’s also a worthwhile investment for frequent wine drinkers. Wine bottles can break easily, even when carrying them short distances. Not only is that wasted wine, but it can destroy a purse or the back seat of a car in seconds.
The Premium Insulated Wine Bag by Opux is the perfect wine tote. It holds six bottles, although there is a four bottle option too. The bag comes in three colors: heather grey, black, and black with tan striping.
The interior of the travel wine cooler bag includes padded wine bottle protection as well as temperature control. Although it doesn’t chill the wine, it will keep chilled wine cool for hours. There’s a detachable shoulder strap as well as padded hand straps for easy carrying.
The Tirrinia Insulated Travel Wine Cooler Bag is a smaller alternative but equally functional wine tote. There’s a sturdy leather handles and an adjustable shoulder strap. It is padded and insulated. This protects the wine and keeps chilled wine cool. It holds two bottles of wine or sparkling wine. It can be used for other beverages as well.
In addition to red, this tote comes in grey as well as black, black with colors, and white with black, all in pretty contemporary designs. It also makes a great wine gift.
FAQs - How To Pack Wine Bottles
When talking about shipping or packing a case of wine, people often start with asking how many bottles of wine are there in a case? In the US, a case of wine often includes 12 bottles. In Europe, though, the standard is six bottles in a case.
There are a couple of rules when it comes to wine transport into the US. I spoke above about the liquid limitations in the US, which are the same as much of the rest of the world. According to the TSA, for alcohol that has below 24% ABV (alcohol by volume) there is no limit on how much you can carry in your checked luggage. This includes wine, which is normally no more than 15% ABV. For alcohol that is between 24-70%, there is a limit of five liters per person. The average bottle of alcohol is normally 750ml. The ABV of most rum, gin, vodka, whisky, etc. falls within this range.
That said, there might be tax charged on anything over one liter according to the US Customs And Border Patrol. If they stop you at the airport you might need to pay $1 or $2 per liter for wine, but possibly more for liquors.