Could the altitude pressure in an airplane pop out a wine cork?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am flying across the country and I want to bring some homemade wine with me. Could the altitude pressure pop the cork out and ruin everything in my suitcase?

—Austin H., Searcy, Ark.

Dear Austin,

Traveling with wine is usually pretty simple and worry-free, as long as you take some precautions. You don’t have to fret about wine exploding in the cargo hold. And luckily, it stays pretty cool and constant in there, so there's no concern about heat damage.

The real concern with transporting wine this way is breakage. Do your best to insulate the bottle from any potential rough treatment of your luggage—bubble wrap is good, and Styrofoam shipping containers are even better. I wrap it in a plastic bag or two, too, just in case.

The only other thing to be concerned about—and I’m not just pointing this out because it’s a homemade wine—is if the wine has a leaky cork, or if the wine itself is in any way unsound (the presence of bacteria can create the potential for an unintended secondary fermentation inside the bottle). In either case, all of that jostling might tempt fate, and endanger the wine’s seal.

—Dr. Vinny

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