- with special guest contributor Christina Vidal.
There’s something magical about drinking a great glass of wine that reminds me a lot of traveling. In one sip, you can be transported to a whole other world. And so often, the wines we drink while we travel become permanently paired with the memory of those destinations. The feeling of sipping that ice-cold chenin blanc overlooking table mountain in South Africa. The fruity malbec in a steakhouse in Argentina. The California pinot watching the rain fall down over Big Sur.
But, I’ve got to admit, as a wine lover and California native with pretty high wine standards, I often find myself lacking in wine choices when I’m traveling abroad (which is almost all of the year as a travel blogger). I’ll find myself desperately looking for my favorites to pair with amazing days and destinations, only to find a wine list full of cheap, mass-produced imported wines that do anything but complement the occasion.
So, whether you’re traveling to celebrate a graduation, a honeymoon, an anniversary, or a 50th birthday, you want to make sure you bring along some of your favorite wines to match the occasion. But how do you do it?
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. As everything from TSA liquid regulations to weight restrictions on airplanes get more and more strict, it’s becoming harder to know how to travel with our favorite wines. Which is why I’ve rounded up these 5 tips for enjoying your favorite wines, wherever you are in the world.
If you don’t want to risk losing your nicest bottles to the TSA workers at the airport, it’s important to look up the regulations in the countries you’re visiting ahead of time. In the United States there are no limits to how much alcohol you can bring as long as it is intended for personal consumption and not resale, so you can bring home as much wine as you can fit from those wonderful old-world vineyards in Europe.
In Bali, however, I found out that the Indonesian government regulates your checked baggage to one bottle of alcohol per person (wine or any other alcohol), and will confiscate anything more than that. Not only that, but they tax imported wine in stores to astronomical prices (for decent-at-best wines), so it’s important that you take advantage of bringing in that one bottle! I was able to pack one bottle of En Route's flagship Pinot Noir, "Les Pommiers," for my trip (which I saved for my birthday dinner at a stunning luxury resort in Bali), since I had looked up the rules ahead of time.
Invest in a couple wineskins ( http://amzn.to/2Ay7Fxz) or use heavy clothing or bubble wrap to protect bottles when placing wine in your checked luggage. I’ve never (knock on wood) had a bottle break in my luggage, but I always use my wineskins.
If you don’t want to deal with packing it yourself (or maybe you’re having a destination wedding or party to which you want to send a whole case of your favorite wines), a great solution is to ship to your hotel directly before your trip. Make sure you use a shipping company that has tracking, and try to time it so that it doesn't arrive too much in advance of your arrival - a day or two is fine.
There is nothing worse than realizing you forgot a corkscrew when going to open your favorite wine. Most hotels will have one in the mini bar but sometimes you just don’t want to risk if they don’t. I once had to pay to use a horrible plastic corkscrew through room service... It’s best to be prepared. Also, a good wine stopper will keep an open bottle preserved for consumption the next day.
My final tip is a simple one - but one I always do on each one of my trips. A special bottle of wine makes a memory, and gives you something to look forward to from the second you pack it in your suitcase. Too many times, we let the best of our wines rot in the cellar, waiting for the “right” time to drink them, as opposed to being a part of truly the best days of our lives. After all, do you think your favorite wine would taste better at a stuffy dining room table or with a side of sunset views?
Christina Vidal is a leading luxury travel blogger and instagram influencer and is known for always having a glass of the next best wine in her hand. She's authored trends-driven travel, wine, food and luxury lifestyle content for the past 5 years - founding her travel blog Jetset Christina in 2012. Christina has been ranked as a top 8 Luxury Travel Instagrammer by Travel & Leisure, and was most recently on TripAdvisor’s Top Travel Blogs to Follow. Based in San Francisco and in Bali, Jetset Christina calls Napa Valley her home away from home.
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