Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Carrying Wine Home from Italy
Robert Rainey (Robert)
One of the joys for many slow travelers is to bring wines home from their Italian trip. For many, is is partly trying to capture, in a bottle, the spirit of a magic place; for others, it is just a memory of a magic moment.
One of my solutions has been to use a 12-bottle wine shipping box, as noted below. This type is two pieces which fit together. They can be purchased from most large wine stores or you can try www.boxvendor.com. The two pieces protect the bottles and fit together into a cardboard box the same size - the top is sealed with tape. Usually I seal the box before arriving at the airport. I have extra tape just in case they want to look. If your airline FOR SURE allows it, this is a good strategy.
12-Bottle Wine Shipping Box
Potential problems with this strategy: Some airlines do not allow these boxes to be checked (Alitalia, for instance). You also cannot depend on finding these shippers in Italy. Yes, it is possible (MAYBE) but do you want to have 24 bottles of wine the day before you go home and find out that the local supplier is back ordered 2 weeks? The one time I was relying on this strategy, it failed (luckily) in the time when you could "carry on". So, you need to check these empty from the US. Another Problem: it's a heavy box with no handles. I like my new strategy see below.
Another strategy that I used is a stackable type of Styrofoam (see photo below), three (3) bottles in each layer. In the past I took 18 bottles in one suitcase, but it was slightly overweight with a 60 pound allowance. If you can find a suitcase the correct width, (mine was a skyway), this might work, but maybe for 12 bottles. You would need to make sure there is no movement of the Styrofoam layers using cut foam or clothes. The Styrofoam tends to last only one trip and generally has cracks etc.
Stackable styrofoam containers - 3 bottles per layer
I think my newest solution is also the easiest and most reusable solution: to rely on the 6-bottle cardboard wine containers that wine is virtually always sold in everywhere. These containers are generally packed so there is very little movement. I just keep the boxes sealed, but you can open them and use bubble-wrap (bring it with you), or you can use socks, etc.
However, those things are not necessary if you do the following:
If you like, bring two empty 6-bottle wine boxes (or four for 2 suitcases) on the way to Italy, just in case you buy individual bottles only. Also, bring tape and bubblewrap if you think it's necessary.
It is up to you whether it's worth it to bring bottles home but, for me, I bring two suitcases just for wine and one for all my other stuff.
See information about Wine Tours in Italy.
Find more information about Planning a Trip to Italy.
See Robert Rainey's Slow Travel Member Page
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