IMG_5681If you visit France, of course you want to take home one of its most famous specialities: wine. Whether for yourself or a gift, you can get some amazing wines in France from wineries that are too small to export, or, even if they do export, that aren’t easy to find.

How do you make sure your treasures get home safely? We have used this method for more than 15 years and have never had a broken bottle. It’s easy and nearly free.

You need one cardboard wine box for every two bottles; scissors or a box cutter; duct tape or some other strong tape. (BTW, I read once that it’s smart to pack a small roll of electrical tape in your carry-on for emergencies. It saved me once when my suitcase appeared on the carousel completely open, with all three latches broken. Of course this wasn’t in any way the airline’s fault. Anyway, the tape let me get the suitcase shut enough to get out of the airport.)

IMG_5686First, cut the box so it opens flat.

Roll the bottle and cut where it goes all the way around.

Wrap tape around the middle.

Bend the bottom like wrapping a present and tape well.

Squeeze the top–the cardboard will pleat around the narrower bottle neck. Tape well.

IMG_5700Tape the whole thing like crazy. It goes through the X-ray machines just fine, and we’ve never had them questioned or opened.IMG_5701Sometimes for good measure we first wrap the bottle in bubble wrap and then do the cardboard. And sometimes we then put the wrapped bottle into a plastic bag so that if, heaven forbid, it breaks, it won’t seep out all over your clothes. At least not as much.

This method has worked well for us, though. Even when we’ve dropped our luggage. Even when we’ve dropped the wrapped bottles.IMG_6307FYI, the wines shown here are beyond excellent, from small wineries that do export. We featured la Tour Boisée earlier; le Château Villerambert Julien also is fantastic. Both are from the Minervois A.O.C. (appellation d’origine contrôlée–the official guarantee it comes from a certain region and meets strict standards). Minervois is just northeast of Carcassonne. Look for it!

19 thoughts on “Wine to Go

  1. Very useful, thanks. I brought home a bottle this spring, wrapped in bubble wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in dirty laundry (the old college standby). It got back safely, but I hadn’t realized how much heavier it would make my suitcase.

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  2. This is a great tip! We tend to travel with just a carryon, but AirFrance lets you check one bag for free (as of this writing- I know things change!). We have checked a case of wine, in it’s original cardboard box, as our extra piece of luggage. If you tell the check-in person that it is fragile, they have you put the box on a tall metal cart at the end of the row that receives special handling. Only once did they require us to take it around the corner to be wrapped, by a vendor, in bubble wrap. That was a pain as we then had to go through the check-in line again. We have done this several times, with AirFrance at CDG. Hope it continues – as you said there are many small vendors whose wines never make it to the US. It’s an especially nice souvenir to bring home a case of something you really like.

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  3. Excellent tips for travelling with wine. The rules here are 2-3 bottles and we generally bring that amount. My husband is in charge of the wrapping and we have not had a mishap with his technique so far but I will share this with him because, as you can imagine, the bottles we bring back are full not just of wine but of very precious memories of the place we call home and can’t live in for the moment 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You said it perfectly–they are bottles of precious memories. I wish it were easier to bring, say, 5-6 bottles of wine per person. I have asked–ready to pay a duty. But it’s either 2 or a container; the customs people didn’t want to be bothered with a small number.

      Liked by 1 person

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