When travelling with wine, savvy wine lovers know that they can transport up to 120 standard wine bottles, between any two EU member countries without paying any duties, pending the booze is not for resale. This, of course includes individuals bringing back wine to the UK. Hopefully, with all the Brexit turmoil and associated speculation this rather useful law will remain in place.
For travellers visiting wine producing countries such as France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal it makes sense to take advantage of this generous duty-free limit if only because wine purchased from within the UK carries a much larger price tag. This is in part because for every alcohol bottle purchased locally at large portion goes to the taxman. Britain and Ireland are known for some of the highest alcohol duty rates in Europe, alongside Scandinavian countries.
Aside from the economics, there is a certain magic of buying wine directly from the winery, after wine tasting and selecting exactly the wines you enjoyed most. Europe’s wine regions are littered with amazing family-owned, artisanal wineries that simply do not produce enough wine to export outside of their region, let alone to other countries. Often, your only option is to buy these bottles directly at the cellar door.
Some wineries and wine stores can ship your wine home, but that pesky excise tax will need to be added along with additional alcohol import costs. E.U duty-free limits do not apply to shipping. Shipping wine and alcohol by non-licensed individuals into the UK is illegal.
If you’re driving back from your wine holiday you can stock up on wine in your car. Many however don’t realize that you can also bring it back with you on the airplane as long as you follow these simple rules below:
If wrapping your bottles in clothes seems too risky, there are a number of bottle protection products that will give you peace of
mind. For transporting a few bottles you can pick up a bottle sleeve, such as the reusable Bottelo, available from Lazenne. It’s made out of tough, durable and flexible plastic, cushioned with a layer of air-filled bubbles (similar to bubble wrap). It has a secure sealing system to prevent the spillage of liquid, should the bottle break. When packing place these near the centre of your suitcase and you’re travelling in style and with piece of mind.
Seasoned wine lovers will appreciate a dedicated wine luggage like Lazenne’s 12-bottle or 6-bottle airplane wine carrier. This specially designed wine suitcase can be checked like any other baggage and can take all that baggage handlers throw at it, protecting your precious wine. It works with a range of bottle types from standard, up to most sparkling wines. Its minimalist design means that when fully loaded it weighs 18-20 kg, meeting most airline luggage weight limits.
Guest Post by Paul Budny from
I have been recommending the beautiful wooden wine coolers made by Rob Thomson for some time now, but I thought I really should provide some evidence to back this up. Yes, they are beautiful and an asset to any wine lover, but do they really keep your wine cool? I decided it to put it to the test for this wine cooler review.
I decided to compare the temperature of wine bottles, all chilled in the fridge overnight, in three different categories – a control bottle, left on the table at room temperature, one in the wooden cooler, and one in a terracotta cooler I bought a few years ago at a Jamie at Home event. I measured the ambient temperature at the time of each reading, and measured the temperature of each bottle at 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 minutes.
I didn’t wish to open three bottles at the same time so used an external wraparound thermometer (“Connoisseur” from Barcraft). I am unable to verify its accuracy. The scale goes up in two degree intervals so some readings, for example, fell between two readings and are given as the number in between e.g. 12-14 was recorded as 13.
The results can be seen in the table and graph below:
It is quite obvious that in the first hour especially after removing a wine bottle from a fridge that Rob’s handcrafted wooden wine cooler keeps the wine markedly cooler than either no cooler or the terracotta cooler, in fact 4° cooler than the control after 30 minutes. Throughout the whole three hours, the wooden cooler was consistently more effective than the terracotta cooler or no cooler at keeping the wine bottle cool.
After 150 minutes, the wooden wine cooler still maintained the bottle’s temperature 3°C cooler than the control and 2º cooler than the bottle in the terracotta cooler, and after three hours there was still a 4º difference compared to the control bottle.
Unsurprisingly, since wood is a heat insulator, Rob’s wooden wine cooler is effective at keeping chilled wine 3-4°C cooler than either a terracotta “cooler” or no cooler. The difference is greatest in the first hour after removing bottles from the fridge. Therefore, I will happily continue to recommend Rob’s coolers.