Wine and spirit enthusiasts are often faced with a dilemma when they want to travel with a special bottle from their cellar, or bring back a liquid souvenir from their travels— how to get the bottle back safely. Most of us have had white-knuckled flights with a bottle wrapped in clothing in our luggage, praying that when we get to baggage claim we won’t find our suitcase wine-stained red. You can find plenty of highly protective “wine suitcases” on the market, and they are intended primarily for those who work within the beverage industry and transport multiple bottles at a time. The majority of us are just looking for a lightweight, reliable, and portable option to transport one or two bottles. That's why we were inspired to take a look at the 5 best options available which can help you travel worry-free and arrive at your destination with your special bottle intact and the contents of your luggage free from wine stains.
Best Overall: The Vinarmour Wine Carrier (SRP: $298)
Best on a Budget: Wine Wings (SRP: $22/4pack)
Most Protective: Wine Baby (SRP: $30)
Best Lightweight: Vinnibag (SRP: $30)
Best for Two Bottles: Vin2Go (SRP: $40)
Best Overall: The Vinarmour Wine Carrier. Though not inexpensive, the Vinarmour clearly stands out as the best wine travel bag available. Don’t let the good looks of this bag fool you—underneath its luxurious Scottish waxed canvas and leather exterior is a Kevlar-reinforced and leakproof lining, making it the first and only wine bag that prevents puncture, in addition to being impact resistant and leakproof. A big bonus is that it is not for just for travel. It maintains wine temperature twice as long as neoprene for taking a chilled bottle out for a picnic, and it’s style and elegance allows one to carry a bottle into the finest of restaurants.
Advantages: Only portable bag to prevent against puncture, impact, and leaking; thermally protective; versatile/multipurpose; excellent esthetics; foldable/compact when not in use; has little footprint with bottle therefore takes up little luggage space; simple closure.
Disadvantages: Cost; not quite as impact resistant as hard cases; weight (2lbs—doesn’t seem like much, but when you are traveling, every pound counts!).
Best On A Budget: Wine Wings. Most of us are familiar with these types of bottle protectors, made with sturdy, industrial plastic bubble wrap. They are inexpensive, portable, reusable, and can be found ubiquitously online and in most wine tourism destinations. Wine Wings specifically has a triple-seal closure to help prevent leakage. Disadvantages are in that the bubblewrap is not as impact resistant as one would think and plastic may be easily punctured if the bottle breaks, soiling the rest of your luggage.
Advantages: Inexpensive; folds flat/very compact and portable; takes up little footprint within luggage carrying a bottle.
Disadvantages: Not very impact resistant; may puncture from broken glass and leak; if not closed correctly, the ziplock may give a false sense of security thinking it is completely sealed.
Most Protective: Wine Baby. This one may indeed keep your bottle intact even if the plane goes down. Made with ABS plastic, this is virtually unbreakable and leakproof. Has a nice neoprene liner with an adjustable internal volume for different bottle sizes. This option is very affordable and is probably the safest of options. Drawback is that it takes up considerable space in your luggage when not in use, so it is not very portable.
Advantages: Extremely impact resistant; leakproof; relatively inexpensive; somewhat thermally insulative; simple closure, relatively lightweight.
Disadvantages: Not very portable/takes up luggage space when not in use.
Best Lightweight: The VinniBag. The VinniBag has an imaginative design, with the bottle essentially inserted into a sleeve, within an inflatable bag. The plastic is much thicker than what one finds with bubble-wrap style bag, so less likely to puncture. Once inflated, this does take up a large footprint and if you are bringing two bottles you will have little room to pack anything else in your suitcase. Although it is quite cumbersome to employ (2-step blow-up process, rolling and buckling the bag), it offers good overall protection, folds compact and light when not in use, and its design is quite the novelty to show to friends.
Advantages: Moderate to good impact protection; moderate puncture resistance; portable and lightweight; a conversation piece.
Disadvantages: Several step process to blow up and seal; takes up a lot of space within luggage.
Best For 2 Bottles: Vin2Go. From the company that also makes the heralded VinGarde Valise wine suitcase, this is a solid option for those who like the convenience of having a two-bottle carrier, and is quite versatile. The shell is semi-hard offering modest impact protection but unfortunately no leak protection. The molded and cushioned inner layer may be removed to turn it into a regular small case for other uses, and a carry handle allows for easy toting around town.
Advantages: Lightweight; versatile; decent impact protection; may carry 2 bottles or one wine glass and one bottle; easy closure.
Disadvantages: Not portable; large footprint when not in use; not leakproof.
***all prices noted at time of publication***