How to pack wine in your suitcase

We uncork simple yet practical tips on how to safely pack and travel with wine bottles in your checked luggage.

By Chris Ashton, April 20 2023
How to pack wine in your suitcase

There are a lot of upsides to travelling. For wine lovers, one of the biggest is the chance to visit new vineyards and sample fine wines, and maybe even bring a bottle or six home with you.

Opening a bottle of fine wine or spirits sourced on holiday evokes memories of your travels that can sometimes transcend enjoyment of the wine itself.

We’ve been known to pick up a bottle of Argentinian Malbec or French Côtes du Rhone on trips, and, after many trials and errors, have since learned the best ways to pack wine in your suitcase.

The VinGardeValise suitcase is designed for serious wine lovers
The VinGardeValise suitcase is designed for serious wine lovers

The number one lesson? Don’t try to carry it on the plane with you.

Frequent flyers will describe this as simply stating the obvious, but it’s easy for novice travellers to overlook this and end up leaving the airport security team with a lovely bottle of Chateau Lafite to enjoy.

Once you've decided to transport wine in your suitcase, there are two things to consider: how to protect the bottle from rough handling, and how to contain the wine in case there is an unfortunate break (there’s nothing worse than red wine going all through your bag).

Rather than unleashing your creativity with plastic bags and duct tape, there are off-the-shelf options that allow you to safely transport wine in a suitcase with added peace of mind.

Buy a sealable or reusable wine travel bag

Three of the best-value offerings are WineSkin, Bottelo and a Wine Travel Bag.

WineSkin is a bottle-shaped bag with a bubble-wrapped interior that seals tight to catch any drops. The original version is single-use, so not the most environmentally friendly option, but a newer model is made from stronger vinyl and comes with a velcro strip.

WineSkin is available in single-use and reusable versions
WineSkin is available in single-use and reusable versions

Simply pop in a standard 750ml bottle of wine, seal it up, and then layer it inside clothes in your bag for extra padding. The single-use WineSkin is around USD $6 for a pack of two, while the reusable one is about USD $7 each.

Bottelo is more like a diver’s wet bag. Created by the same team behind WineSkin, it features a thick, vinyl outer layer with a bubble-wrap interior and sturdy triple fold and snap-close system.

The Wine Travel Bag, on the other hand, is reusable from the outset. It doesn’t have bubble wrap inside, but there is an absorbent layer that will soak up any unfortunate spills that may occur.

The Australian-owned Wine Travel Bag is reusable and even soaks up spills
The Australian-owned Wine Travel Bag is reusable and even soaks up spills

A basic three-pack of the Wine Travel Bag starts at around $29.95.

Invest in a special wine suitcase

If you’re serious about your wine and really want that added protection, you could invest in a ‘VinGardeValise’ Fly With Wine suitcase that comes in five, eight or 12 bottle variations.

The VinGardeValise features a hard-shell exterior with flexible, removable inserts that allow you to customise the interior of the bag to suit your needs. It also has a sturdy handle and wheels to make transport a breeze. 

VinGardeValise has a hard-shell exterior and flexible padded inserts
VinGardeValise has a hard-shell exterior and flexible padded inserts

You even have the option of a special insert to carry two wine glasses should you decide to lighten the load during your trip. It doesn’t come cheap, with the smallest option starting from US$279, although you can still use it even when you’re not travelling with wine.

Wrap your wine bottle in clothing

If you don't have a WineSkin or the like handy, your best bet is to first seal the bottle in plastic (a couple of plastic bags and some duct tape does the job) and then wrap it in soft material.

Next, line the base of the bag with some thicker clothes to create a good layer of protection, place your precious cargo in the centre, and then layer your clothes on top and either side to stop the bottle rolling around inside the suitcase.

After that, all you can do is say a little prayer to the travel gods for a safe, spill-free journey.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jul 2017

Total posts 15

I place my new acquisition (or 2 or 3) in a plastic bag, then put said bag in a sock, then in another sock. I can highly recommend explorer socks. Thick enough to provide cushioning, I have never had a bottle break on me, using this method. Obviously also packed in the centre of my bag, and not on the edges where my tasty treat could be smashed by impact.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2015

Total posts 27

Preventing fluid damage to other contents is the key, bubble wrap is good, with plastic and Gaffa tape the odds are with you!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 32

The best solution I have found after carrying wine to Japan on at least 30 occasions is Transbottle.  I throw it in my suitcase which usually gets handled by two different airlines and crews and there is never a problem. Every other solution I have tried has backfired in some way.

31 Dec 2014

Total posts 46

I carry a strong cardboard 6 pack box with good dividers. Then I put each bottle in a sports sock, then tightly pack every spare spot in the box with clothing. Then a tightly wrap the box with packing tape then surround it with jeans etc.

It only let me down once at Stockholm Arlanda airport (all my baggage mishaps have occurred there). My bag was the one on the conveyor belt with red liquid dripping from it. I then did the walk of shame until I could repack the bag of broken glass and white shirts I had packed for a funeral.

The culprit was a bottle that had thinner glass than normal.

I think I might invest in one of these bags.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 706

Can I just say, the latest 'inflatable air-column plastic sleeve' bottle protector is far cheaper and save a bottle of vintage Pol Roger from carnage last night atop the Imperial Hotel Rooftop (Melbourne).  Some "ladies in training" for the 'Fillies Libation Handicap' during the Spring Racing Carnival got a little too . . . robust (?) with the cosmopolitans and, to the surprise of we gentlemen watching, unintentionally (neglectfully ?) let it roll from a high-top bar table.  Time seemed to slow as we watched its decent . . . but a safe crash landing ensued.  Apologies to Chris, wish I knew the trade name, but oh my God do they work.  And they can be deflated and used again !!!  

Do people bring in more then the duty free limit of 2.25L? I can't imagine the value of a 5, 8 or 12 bottle special suitcase for wine when you'd be taxed through the roof when going through customs.

Unless you regularly bring lots of wine out of the country, or purchase rare exotic wines from overseas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 May 2016

Total posts 11

Not every reader lives in Australia! Though for those that do, Australia allows pooling of limits, so a couple can still 6 bottles and be under the 4.5L limit - in that situation these suitcases can be handy.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 May 2016

Total posts 11

Agree with Boeing-Tragic. I've probably carried somewhere in the order of 200+ bottles internationally over the years and never had a breakage...and almost always use those "Inflatable Air Column" bags. Buy them in bulk (50+) and you can get them for well under $1each. You can even re-use them, though it's not recommended. Not the most environmentally friendly, but super safe IMO. Pack them strategically towards the middle of your bag, and you're set. Last trip we took back 12 bottles across two suitcases (where I live, that's within duty free limits!) and they all arrived no worries.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Nov 2013

Total posts 2

Always ask for a fragile label for your luggage when you’re checking in. I’ve always used ziplock bags wrapped in clothes and have never had a problem. 

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