A (suit) case of wine!

Flying to Japan this Christmas with the family to meet up with a very good friend for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Looking to take a couple of bottles with me (prices over there are ridiculously high for pretty average plonk) but I’m wondering how is best to get them over there.
We’re flying from LHR so the 100ml liquid limit is still in force meaning my only option really is to check the bottles in the hold in my suitcase.

Does anyone have any experience doing this? Do you think wrapping them in my smalls will be enough or would it be worth buying a couple of single cardboard wine boxes and foregoing the space in the suitcase?

I used to get away with wrapping bottles in smalls & t-shirts etc, for years I did it in fact; but I was always waiting for that one time it all went wrong. I fly much less these days, but when I do fly somewhere planning to bring wine back, I use these things now. Really effective IMO.


I also use the inflatable bottle protectors, very effective so far, touch wood. Particularly useful for bringing wine back (I’m normally doing that rather than taking it outbound), as you can take them uninflated, along with the little balloon pump to inflate.

Unless it’s changed, alcohol duty free allowance for entering Japan is 3 x max 760ml bottles per person aged 20+.


I always just wrap them in tshirts and zero breakages so far. I try and keep some bubble wrap in my suitcase too. It’s a hard shell suitcase which helps.


Bubble Wrap!!

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Another for wrapping in t-shirts (and making sure they are in the centre of your case!). Not a breakage with that system so far :crossed_fingers:

…however, I did have a couple of bottles break on me a few years ago, which had been purchased at the airport and rather carelessly places in the top of my hand luggage. When the transfer from the airport to the hotel removed the bags, he dropped my hand luggage. Which I though nothing of until we were checking in and a cleaning lady came rushing over to us gesticulating and brandishing a mop. As we looked, bemusedly at her, and then to the floor (white marble, naturally, for the full effect), we realised we were stood in a puddle of red wine emanating from my hand luggage, which had two broken bottles inside (and a ruined white shirt!).

The concierge - and Antiguan with a dry sense of humour - drily remarked that he guessed we’d be enjoying red wine from their bar tonight now, which rather broke the tension :grinning:


Another bubble wrap user here! Never had a breakage.

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Tshirt around the bottle, sock on the neck


Thanks everyone.

At that price I think I might opt for the inflatable protectors. In theory, this time next year the 100ml liquid rule will be gone forever and I can take them in my hand luggage.

Cue the contrarian:
I would not bother…
Unless you want to take very specific /special bottles with you, I would actually buy them in Japan.

The yen is at a very low 18X per sterling, so good wine is actually cheaper in Japan at the moment…


In theory is right, there’s a rather large dependency on the airports getting the new scanners installed in time. At LHR T5, the floors need to be reinforced in order to handle the much greater weight of these scanners. It will happen, but a further delay wouldn’t surprise me. Also, bear in mind that removal of the hand luggage liquids rule will be country by country, so departing or transiting through other countries, it could still be in force.


I’ve heard Japan is consuming interesting wine as well. Never been, but sounds like they enjoy niche Pinot and more lean than robust reds. Different things make me think that, like Maite Mendoza mentioning they get quite a few Japanese cellar door visitors.

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Until recently I’ve always just wrapped in clothes, but I used the inflatable bubble bag things on a recent trip where my luggage allowance allowed for a greater amount to be brought back. Worth checking Japan’s import laws on that note actually.

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Having said that, if you do take some bottles with you, the above described options work.
I typically use a mix of, in decreasing order of protection:

  • transbottle Transbottle 6 - Transbottle
  • use the single and two bottle cardboard boxes I get from purchases , in my suitcase
  • bubble wrap (properly taped) - the best middle ground in protection for space taken
  • wrapping bottles in thick clothing and tying the clothes around so that bottles do not move out from the wrapping

The first 2 options are more luggage consuming, but with airlines giving you 2 x 23kg allowance to Japan, it’s fine.

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Japan imports a lot of wine , so you will find everything - old world, new world , and more and more local production…

Plenty of robust reds (napa cab sauvs are well regarded, besides the usual Bordeaux, rhone and Italian fare) depending on the food of course.
I love me some sturdy red with sukiyaki! (Usually I go for rhone on this)


Don’t trust socks an t shirts, I had a bottle of schnapps shattered on a suitcase once. Ruined everything, glass and high alc everywhere.

I’d 2nd the option of plastic inflatable containers, I used to get whisky delivered in them never a problem. Even via DHL !

Which brings me to scotch sky-high price in Japan, and goes well with their cuisine especially sushi. 18 y/o Tobermory is a rare bargain.

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Another vote for those inflatable tubes, they tend to be in 3’s which is about the width of a case. 11 bottles will get under 20kg; 13 bottles for 23kg. Maybe more if the glass used isn’t too “naughty” but best to be on the safe side. They are reusable and I’ve never had a breakage with them.

as an aside - I’ve been able to take liquids in my carry-on this year - Helsinki airport has upgraded scanners which can distinguish non-explosive liquids. Any other airports people know are using these ?


Wineskins and line the edges of the suitcase with cardboard. Since brexit you can only leave with 5 bottles per person. You can come back with much more.


Anyone from 10 Downing Street reading this thread?


The situation with CT scanner implementation is a bit patchy. Officially in the UK there is a deadline of June 2024 for all major airports to have the new scanners, whether it will be met is another question, as mentioned above.

LHR has a mixture, so the liquids rule has to be maintained for now. London City and Teeside are fully converted, no restrictions there. Outside the UK, it’s similarly patchy. Amsterdam has had them for years, Shannon in Ireland does. Other airports are in the partial situation of LHR. Believe that Madrid and Barcelona are due to get them next year.

I suspect it’s going to be rather confusing for passengers regarding which rules apply for a given trip, for some time until they are everywhere.