If you are a wine lover, the VinGardeValise by FlyWithWine will change your life. This high-quality suitcase has dense foam inserts that surround your wine in a safe, cozy space. My days of wine bottles rolling around in the backseat are over and no more checking a case of wine and hoping it makes it home.
I tested the VinGardeValise Piccolo which is a luggage-sized carry-on. One side holds up to five bottles of wine while the other has room for clothes.
Thank you to Orca PR who reached out to me to see if I wanted to learn about the VinGardeValise. Living between Washington and Oregon wine regions and with Testa (the family vineyards) in California, of course I said yes! I am always lugging wine around whether on wine tasting road trips or flying home with wine and bringing Testa wine as gifts. After testing, I am not sure how I lived without it. I am contemplating purchasing the Grande 12-Bottle V.5 size that holds a full case of wine.
Only a wine lover could have come up with this product and that is exactly what happened. CEO Ron Scharman discovered a special winery outside of Beaune in the Burgundy region right in the middle of summer. He tasted their amazing wines and wanted to bring some home with him. Options to ship home were not optimal, to say the least, and that was where the idea for FlyWithWine came about. They solved the problem all wine travelers face: How do you get your favorite wines home safely and securely on an airplane? Scharman’s team at FlyWithWine are wine enthusiasts and creative thinkers who live and breathe wine amidst the Napa Valley. They became obsessed with this problem and how to solve it. The result is the VinGardeValise and I have to say it is a good one.
One of the reasons I love this piece of luggage is the quality. Instead of one handle at the top and side of the case, there are two that give greater support when carrying heavy bottles of wine. The four 360-degree Hinomoto wheels roll smoothly, and the zippers close easily without getting stuck. The aircraft grade telescoping handle extends to the perfect height for me, making it very easy to maneuver. The case is very sturdy with heavy-duty corner guards and a durable exterior shell made from a proprietary material. I was very impressed with the quality, especially at the price point. I am confident that when using this suitcase my wine will arrive intact to my destination whether driving or flying.
One of the things I like about the VinGardeValise is the versatility of the product. You can carry all wine or just use one side of the case for wine and the other side for clothes. The dense foam inserts are small pieces of foam that can be removed to fit the many variations in sizes and shapes of wine bottles. The company also offers a variety of inserts you can purchase to accomodate for more flexibility with beer, spirits, or larger bottles of wine.
The design of the VinGardeValise is very well thought out with the wine traveler in mind. There is a top-mounted TSA compliant lock to secure your wine and there is a lift handle located on the bottom to assist with lifting the suitcase. The Piccolo has two separate removable inserts, a two-cavity and a three-cavity, which accommodates five bottles of wine. If you only want to pack two or three bottles of wine, you can use the additional space for something else. The Grande holds 12 bottles and designers kept in mind the 50-pound limit airlines impose on baggage before you must pay an overweight charge. Packed and filled with 12 bottles of wine, it weighs in at around 50 pounds and avoids the dreaded fee.
Fly Your Wine For Free On Alaska Airlines
If you fly with Alaska Airlines from one of 32 Pacific Northwest cities, you can check a case of wine for free with no baggage fee using their Wine Flies Free offer. This includes destinations in Idaho, Oregon, California, and Washington. Check their website for participating wineries that offer free wine tastings with your boarding pass. As far as I know, Alaska Airlines is the only airline that offers this great deal. I’ve checked a cardboard box with wine before just hoping it would make it. How nice to have a VinGardeValise which will keep my wine safe. Note that when flying with Alaska, only wine can be in your VinGardeValise. If you are using the Piccolo, which holds five bottles, you can’t pack clothes on the other side or you will have to pay the baggage fee. The Grande holds a full case of wine and you can check it for free with Alaska Airlines.
Pro Tip: When placing bottles of wine in the case, make sure to push the neck of the bottle in first and then push the body in. The foam is so dense that it can be difficult to get the bottle in the slot. When following these directions, it will fit properly.
I tested the VinGardeValise Piccolo on a recent road trip to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. I used it to store my computer and writing requirements on one side, and on the other, I stored wine I brought with me for gifts. I then replaced it with Oregon wine during my trip. It was nice to have a case in the car where I could easily store my new purchases without having them roll around. It is definitely versatile, and it will now be a part of my future road trips. I plan to use it later this spring when I fly with Alaska Airlines to visit the Testa vineyards in Mendocino County.