By Michael Hiller
Have wine, will travel
I like surprises: birthday parties, free drinks, discovering extra money in the checking account.
Opening the suitcase that I had checked for my flight home from Napa — the one packed with nice wines picked up while traveling and swaddled in dirty clothes and plastic zip-top bags — was a different kind of surprise. Barolo dripped from the nylon roller bag, creating what looked like a crime scene.
A luggage collection called VinGardeValise promises to eliminate such surprises. These hard-sided suitcases are designed specifically for transporting bottles of wine from there to here. They securely cradle your bottles of fancy Bordeaux (or perhaps the rare Pappy Van Winkle gifted to you by a well-to-do uncle) inside molded foam inserts, promising their safety aboard your choice of travel, be it planes, trains or automobiles.
Or maybe you’re packing for a getaway in the mountains or at the lake house. VinGardeValise sells additional inserts shaped for magnums, bottled beers and spirits, so you can take the party with you.
The largest suitcase available holds a full case of wine, but we prefer the five-bottle Piccolo, which offers plenty of space for clothing on one side and up to five standard-size wine bottles on the other.
When we’re not flying with wine, we remove the two included inserts (one holds two bottles, the other is shaped for three), pack both sides of the Piccolo with clothes and belongings, and use the suitcase as an airline carry-on.
An air travel-compliant lock, reinforced zipper, seat belt-grade straps and four heavy-duty spinner wheels are signs that VinGardeValise values a good bottle of wine as much as we do. Its 10-year warranty seals the deal.