Is wine safe in a checked bag on an airplane?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

You recently answered a question about taking wine in checked luggage which was very helpful. My question is: Is it safe (for the wine) to travel in checked luggage during summer months? I’m flying from Texas to Florida, and it’s 98° F outside ….

—Tim, Austin, Texas

Dear Tim,

All of my research points to pretty cool and constant temperatures in the cargo hold of an airplane. After all, it’s pretty nippy up there at 30,000 feet or so. I’ve been told the cargo hold is usually around 40° to 50° F while the plane is in the air (areas where pets are transported tend to be slightly warmer). Of course that doesn’t account for any delays on the ground during loading and unloading or sitting on the tarmac. Make sure your wines are well-insulated to help avoid dramatic temperature swings in either direction.

Likewise, you should be concerned about protecting your wine from breakage. Consider using bubble wrap and/or Styrofoam shipping containers, and consider using plastic bags to protect the rest of your luggage if a bottle does crack. There are even specially designed wine suitcases you might want to look into.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Storage

More In Dr. Vinny

What's the best way to warm up a cold glass of wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for warming up a glass of wine.

Jan 20, 2020

What is a "grower" Champagne?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what a récoltant-manipulant is, and what makes …

Jan 17, 2020

How do you identify flavors in wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how.

Jan 15, 2020

How long does an open bottle of red wine keep?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains oxidation, and how to delay it.

Jan 13, 2020

Is there glycerol in wine?

Wine Spectator 's expert Dr. Vinny explains what glycerol is and how it's beneficial to …

Jan 10, 2020

After using a Coravin, should a wine bottle still be stored on its side?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains that basic storage rules still apply when using …

Jan 8, 2020
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search