So You Want to Bring that Great Bottle Home

You don’t check luggage anymore, do you. Does anyone? (Aside from maybe the families of nine with shrinkwrapped suitcases.) Didn’t think so. But there are times when you discover a new pour and you want to bring that great bottle home.

As a business traveler, the only time you might even fleetingly entertain the idea of checking luggage is when you come across a stellar bottle of wine while away. At which time you ask yourself, Should I pack a few bottles to take home?

The short answer is no.

The long answer is: There’s no way you should pack wine in an ordinary suitcase and check it because you’ll destroy it. An airplane’s baggage compartment’s below freezing temperatures and pressure makes it bad idea all around. There are wine suitcases that protect against these atmospheric changes, but that’s a bit of a hassle and planning isn’t it?

Instead, do what any smart citizen of the world would do. Find out where it’s sold in your hometown, or how to get it there. Here’s how:

  1. Go to and search for the bottle. That brilliant site has a huge global database lets you search for specific wines pretty much anywhere in the world. Of course, it’s also great for cost comparisons.
  1. If it’s not listed on, Google to find its website, then drill down to establish if its got a distributor in your area.
  1. If #1 and #2 fail, call a local wine importer or merchant and ask for a case to be brought in for you. That’s their business. So they’ll not only know how to get you it, they’ll probably be happy to help. If not, phone their competitor. (Jurisdictions vary of course; so if they legitimately can’t help, you might be out of luck.)

Of course the bottle that sells locally for a song will probably cost you more at home any way you slice it. But it’s not just about the wine, is it?   (Well, it’s that too). It’s about your story of the wine. Queue the violins.

In the meantime, drink well wherever you are.

About Carolyn

CH1_204LCarolyn is the wine columnist for The Toronto Star newspaper and Star Touch. Her work is syndicated through a number of other daily newspapers; she also critiques wine every Wednesday on her video blog, The Wine Find at; and she contributes seasonally to Taste Magazine in British Columbia.

Carolyn received her formal sommelier qualifications from the Wine and Spirit Trust in London, has written two best-selling wine books, and is a longstanding member of the Circle of Wine Writers. She is a seasoned wine educator, judge, and media personality with 20 years of journalism experience. She has appeared on Canada AM, CITY-TV, BON TV and, and her reviews and articles have appeared in such eminent publications as Decanter, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirit International, The Times (London), Maclean’s, Taste magazine and others. In short, she has earned her street cred. Now she spends her time tasting wine (on your behalf, of course) and telling it like it is.

Finding you your next great wine is her calling. Along the way, she has shown living well doesn’t have to be pricey or pretentious. Just takes a little know-how, and maybe a corkscrew.

Contact her at

Twitter: @thewinefind

Instagram: carolynevanshammond