Raise your hand if you’ve brought wine back home in your suitcase after being abroad. Yup, I’m raising my hand… you too? If you’ve brought wine home in your checked luggage, you know that nervous feeling at baggage claim all too well. There’s always a moment of panic when you hold your breath as your suitcase comes into view. Did the wine break or did it arrive in one piece? I’ve been lucky and have never had a bottle break en route, but it happens. Perfect way to ruin an amazing trip, right? But what about when you want to bring back 12 or 15 bottles or just want to avoid the possibility of breakage entirely?
I have the perfect hassle-free solution. It’s a wine suitcase and just what you’ve been waiting for.
A wine suitcase: How to bring wine on a plane
So let me set the scene. You’re on vacation in a far-off place like France or Italy and discover so many excellent bottles of wine that you can’t find at home. From winery visits to wine stores, you’re in awe of all the new-to-you varietals you’ve been sampling on your trip. You buy a few bottles to enjoy while abroad, but you’d also like to take a few bottles home with you. You’ve heard horror stories of bottles breaking in checked luggage and aren’t even sure how many bottles of wine you can bring on a plane. Fees to ship the wine home seem really high.
So you accept the fact that you’ll go home empty handed.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Let me introduce you to Lazenne.
They’re a European company specializing in wine luggage. Lazenne’s site explains that their “mission is to solve the common problems tourists regularly face such as, for example, helping them transport newly acquired wine and other alcohol bottles back to their home country.”
Ooooh, I’m liking this already.
Lazenne sent me their bestselling wine suitcase called the Wine Check to test out. It’s a stress-free, economical way to bring up to 12 bottles of wine back home on a plane as checked luggage. No need to worry about packing the bottles in your luggage or breakage.
On a personal note, after testing out this top-of-the-line wine suitcase, I SO wish I’d heard of them sooner.
My parents could have used the Wine Check last year when we cruised the Canal du Midi. We bought an embarrassing amount of wine on our trip, and aside from the 3 bottles they managed to safely pack in their luggage, the other 20+ wine bottles are making their home in my basement. They would have absolutely opted for the Wine Check if they’d have known about it then. That way, a nice selection of wine could have arrived safely along with them in Miami.
As you know, wine is such a huge part of French culture. If you’re a wine enthusiast, bringing back a bunch of bottles as souvenirs is something special. They serve as reminders of a wonderful trip and the people you met and places you saw along the way. You can introduce a taste of France to friends from home over a delicious meal and reminisce about your trip.
In many cases, small French producers do not export to the US. Many wineries here in the Loire Valley and elsewhere do not ship abroad meaning if you’re not in France, you’re out of luck. The Wine Check helps you take a piece of France home with you.
Here’s how the Wine Check works.
All you do is simply place the bottles into the polystyrene crate, zip up the suitcase, check it at the airport, and board your plane. That’s about as easy as it gets. Upon arrival at your destination, pick up your wine suitcase at baggage claim with your other luggage.
What is the Lazenne Wine Check bag?
It’s what every wine-loving traveler has been waiting for. Simply put, the Wine Check bag is a reusable piece of luggage made specifically for transporting wine as checked baggage.
Depending on the model, you can safely pack 12 or 15 bottles of wine (including sparkling, other spirits and even olive oil or vinegar), roll the bag into the airport, and check it worry-free like any other piece of luggage. Fully packed, the Wine Check comes in under most airlines’ weight limits and will get your wine from Point A to Point B unscathed.
It’s airline, TSA, and EASA approved meaning you can legally bring your wine on the plane like any regular piece of checked luggage.
The best part is that Lazenne wine luggage is impact tested and certified so your wine will arrive in perfect condition even in the case of rough baggage handlers or multiple flights.
Another cool feature is the luggage maintains a constant temperature so wine quality isn’t affected by temperature fluctuation in the plane’s hold. This is also handy during the hot summer months. There’s no need to worry about accidentally “cooking” your wine in your rental car if you’re out doing multiple winery visits. Just put your wine bottles in the polystyrene crate and they’re protected from the elements.
The wine suitcase also has rolling wheels and a handy strap so you can wheel it around and not have to worry about any heavy lifting.
A detailed look at my Lazenne wine suitcase
The Wine Check model has:
- Sturdy outer shell that zips closed and folds flat for storage
- Rolling wheels and carrying strap for easy handling
- Replaceable polystyrene insert (good for 5-10 uses)
Who is a Lazenne wine suitcase for?
- Wine enthusiasts who want an easy, safe way to bring multiple bottles of wine home with them after a trip. The wine luggage holds up to 15 bottles, depending on the model.
- Frequent travelers who bring back wine often. The Wine Check bag is reusable.
- Those who don’t want to stress over the possibility of broken bottles and ruined clothes that comes with putting wine in your suitcase. The wine luggage is just for wine (or vinegar or olive oil) so you don’t have to worry about the wine damaging your personal belongings.
How many bottles of wine can you bring on a plane in a wine suitcase?
Since I’m American and most of my readers are in the USA, I’ll mention USA regulations briefly here, but be sure to check out detailed info about what’s legal in your country.
Note that beverages with more than 70% alcohol are prohibited in checked luggage (as per International transport security body regulations) and there are restrictions on beverages with more than 24% alcohol. But regular wine? You’re golden.
So, how many bottles of wine can you bring back?
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no limit on how many bottles of wine you can bring back with you from Europe to the USA (in a wine suitcase or your luggage). But legally customs agents have the right to tax all wine imports for personal use in excess of 1 liter per person. So if you bring back 12 bottles of wine, be aware that you might have to pay a customs duty and IRT (Internal Revenue Tax). But let me emphasize the word might. In my experience, I’ve never paid a cent in import fees. Even if you are charged, the import fees are quite low.
Always be sure to honestly declare what you’re transporting.
More from US Customs and Border Protection:
“There is no federal limit on the amount of alcohol a traveler may import into the U.S. for personal use, however, large quantities might raise the suspicion that the importation is for commercial purposes … A general rule of thumb is that 1 case of alcohol is a personal use quantity – although travelers are still subject to state restrictions which may allow less.”
Things to keep in mind about a wine suitcase
Depending on how many checked bags you have in addition to the Wine Check, you may end up paying a fee to check your bag. In most cases, that fee is worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing your wine will arrive home at the same time you do and in one piece. To avoid any surprises, check with your airline before traveling.
Also, French wine that’s exported to the USA (if you can find it) will be much more expensive than when you buy it in France due to importer and distributor costs.
As I mentioned, the Wine Check needs to be transported in the plane’s hold as checked baggage (once you’ve packed it with wine or other liquids). It cannot be a carry-on. Liquids in quantities over 100 ml (or 3.4 oz) cannot be transported in your cabin baggage. Purchases from duty-free shops after going through security are the exception.
If you’re not sure if you’d use a wine suitcase or not, keep in mind that you can order it online and have it delivered right to your hotel or apartment rental. Lazenne ships super quickly. So if you find yourself in France or Italy with a bunch of wine bottles you want to take home, you’re covered.
Here’s a quick video I put together of my Lazenne wine suitcase:
Is wine luggage something you’d use? Talk to me in the comments!
This is a sponsored collaboration with Lazenne. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Oui In France. All opinions, as always, are my own.
Thank you to Philippe and team at Les Compagnons Cavistes for letting me photograph the Wine Check in their beautiful shop.