Wine transport expert Paul Budny of Lazenne helps us answer these important questions!
Transporting wine home from France – by Paul Budny of Lazenne
With wine playing such an important role in the lives of the French, Paris is naturally chock-full of wine stores, wine bars, and restaurants featuring excellent French wines. For those wishing to go a little closer to the source, there are wine regions that are within a few hours drive from Paris, such as Champagne, Burgundy, or the Loire Valley. Being around so much extraordinary wine, often from small producers who do not export, many naturally want to bring some of it back home.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to bring back your purchased wine with you on the airplane and this is easier than you may think.
Wine is permitted on the airplane in your checked baggage (also known as hold baggage in the UK). The only restriction relates to alcohol content. Travelers can’t transport bottles with more than 70% alcohol content, and can only take 5 litres of alcohol between 24% and 70%. There is no limit on liquids with alcohol content below 24%, and most wine fits into this bracket.
Please note that alcohol is not permitted in carry-on baggage (also known as cabin baggage in the UK), due to the liquid restrictions that ban liquid containers of more than 3.4 ounces (100 ml).
We do, of course, have to ensure that we meet the airline’s baggage weight limits. For reference it is good to know a typical wine bottle weighs between 2.4 and 3.3 lbs (1.1 and 1.4 kg). International flights typically permit baggage up to 50 lbs (23 kg), Inter-European flights have varying weight limits, which are dependent on the airline’s policy.
Next is the subject of duties. We advise to always declare your alcohol.
One large point of confusion is between duty-free allowance and what happens beyond that allowance. When flying between European Union countries we are entitled to a generous duty-free limit of 90 litres of wine for instance.
As another example, the United States allows only 1 duty-free litre of alcohol per person. However, the duty over the 1 litre, for wine destined for personal use, is only $0.75-$2 per bottle. Due to the fact that it’s so low, most customs agents do not bother to collect it.
Protecting your wine bottles for transport:
If wrapping your wine bottles in clothing feels too dicey, there are a number of wine accessories that will give you peace of mind. Lazenne specializes in these types of wine travel products. Based out of France, they can ship directly to your hotel.
For one or two bottles there’s the reusable WineCradle, which inflates around your bottle and protect it in your luggage. This handy protector can handle a regular-sized bottle up to a magnum!
If you would like to transport a larger number of bottles, it’s worth investing in the Wine Check luggage. This specialized wine carrier, which features wheels and a handy strap, can carry 12 or 15 bottles of wine in its replaceable polystyrene and cardboard insert. With the bottles packed, the full baggage still meets the airline’s checked-bag weight limit of 50 lbs (23 kg). Insert removed, it’s foldable, which makes it great for storage, and bringing over for your next wine trip.