You’ll Never Break a Wine Bottle Again When Traveling with This Suitcase

published Sep 20, 2023
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semi closeup shot of a person holding a red fedora hat over a grey suitcase thats on a bed with beige sheets and sunglasses laying next to it
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

I have worked in the wine industry since 2009, but have never considered myself to be the type of traveler who needs specialized luggage dedicated to wine. But in recent years, trips to France, Napa, Oregon, and beyond have changed my mind — transporting my favorite wine bottles home had often resulted in a precarious game of packing Tetris. When I got my hands on a VinGardeValise Wine Travel Suitcase just before a trip to France this year, I had no idea what a game-changing piece of luggage this would be.

Quick Overview

A Look at the VinGardeValise Wine Travel Suitcase

  • A hard-shell rolling suitcase with removable foam inserts to fit up to five, eight, or 12 bottles of wine. 
  • Also works as a regular suitcase when you don’t need wine protection.
  • Prices start at $289.95.
Credit: Bernadette Machard de Gramont

What Is the VinGardeValise Wine Travel Suitcase?

The VinGardeValise Wine Travel Suitcase is a traveler’s dream. It’s a hard-shelled suitcase that features removable foam inserts so you can safely transport bottles of wine (and more) back home with you on the plane, train, or automobile, instead of getting them shipped home, as the cost of shipping is either very expensive or prohibited altogether. The foam inserts are made to fit standard-sized bottles, but they can easily be manipulated to fit specialty bottles, too. 

The telescoping handle makes it easy to navigate through an airport terminal, while Hinomoto wheels make rolling the suitcase both quiet and smooth. Like any good piece of luggage, the suitcase also has an integrated TSA-approved lock so you can secure your precious cargo. And the final security feature is a belt that fastens around the entire case to ensure that it stays intact.

Credit: Bernadette Machard de Gramont

What’s So Great About the VinGardeValise Wine Travel Suitcase?

The suitcase comes in three sizes so you can choose the one that fits your travel needs: 12-bottle, eight-bottle, and five-bottle. I have the smallest option — the five-bottle Piccolo model — which is about the size of your typical cabin roller bag at 9.5x16x22.8 inches. One side of the bag has the foam insert, while the other side is open so you can pack other belongings as if it were just a regular suitcase. You can add on accessories if you want more or different inserts.

Both sides can be zipped closed for extra security. Even though I’m a very light packer, the non-insert half of the suitcase isn’t quite big enough for what I typically need for a trip, so I supplement with a weekender carry-on.

On my most recent trip to Bordeaux, I used my VGV luggage to bring back a couple of bottles of wine, as well as a slew of other items: jams, syrups, Dijon mustard, tinned fish, and other foods that are hard to find stateside; my favorite beauty products from the pharmacy; and some French language cookbooks. It essentially became my souvenirs suitcase! Everything arrived at the baggage claim carousel perfectly intact — no spills, no broken bottles, no drama.

Once you pack the case with liquids, you’ll need to check it, but it’s a small price to pay to be able to forgo the hassle and cost of shipping bottles. And because you can use the suitcase again on your future travels (with or without the inserts), the cost per use goes down, too. 

One thing to keep in mind with a packed suitcase is the weight limit — a bottle of wine averages about three pounds, and the weight of the five-bottle suitcase itself is already at 9.5 pounds. I was able to stay just under the 50-pound limit for international travel with the suitcase jam-packed full.

Credit: Bernadette Machard de Gramont

Is the VinGardeValise Wine Travel Suitcase Worth It?

At $290, it’s priced similarly to other premium suitcases of the same size, which I think makes it a pretty good deal for such a specialized piece of luggage. I can now bring back my favorite wines (as well as sauces, olive oils, and other breakables) without having to wrap them in clothes, plastic, and a prayer to the travel gods.