Summer is in full swing and that means hittin’ the road for day trips and vacations. Whether you’re travelling by air, car, camper, or on foot, we’re pretty sure you’ll be taking along, or picking up, some great wines!
No matter your vacation or staycation style, our tips for keeping your wine cool during summer travel will help to keep the wine you take or pick up along the way, in good drinking condition both on the road and when you get back home.
RV & Trailer Travel
RV and travel trailers are one of America’s favorite ways to travel and camp while taking the little luxuries of life with you on the road. Most are equipped with miniature versions of beds, bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms; all to make your camping experience a little more comfortable. To accommodate for all of these indoor luxuries, a majority of the storage in an RV or travel trailer is on the outside…and boy is it hot in those little cubbies. While non-perishable products and equipment do fine in the outside storage, we strongly discourage you from storing your wines there. In less than a half a day, the heat and vibration alone would leave over-priced vinegar you probably wouldn’t even want to cook with. Yuck!
RVs have a little leg up on travel trailers and 5th wheels since they are all one vehicle and usually kept at a comfortable temperature to accommodate the passengers. During your time on the road in an RV, you could use the empty shower to keep your wines cool and away from light and heat. While a small child might not fit in the shower, a case of wine will easily. In a travel trailer, this would be a little more complicated, since they aren’t usually cooled during towing. To keep your wines cool, place an ice pack or two in the bottom of a cooler, layer with sheet of cardboard and place your wines on top. Secure the ice chest inside the trailer to prevent it from tipping over.
Wine Tasting Day & Weekend Trips
Not only are staycations very popular these days, but they are also very economical. And for those who have limited vacation days, they are perfect to help you spend some time with family and friends without giving up all of your vacation days in one week. A staycation is defined as “a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.” No matter where you live, there is always something to do! State and County fairs, water parks, zoos, museums and of course wine tasting!
If you’re planning a day or weekend trip to go wine tasting, we recommend that you bring an ice chest and some ice packs to safely store the treasures you find along the way. To help keep the labels from getting damaged from moisture or condensation, you can place a piece of cardboard over the top of the ice packs. If avoidable, keep the ice chest in the back seat and not in the trunk. Another option is to pick up a Styrofoam wine shipper. This would be recommended for those shorter day trips.
Airline Travel & Shipping
Summer air travel is expected to reach record levels this year, and here in Amador County and Napa Valley, we certainly feel that boom. While air travel can certainly expand your horizons outside of a staycation, if you find any wine treasures during your trip, getting them back home, in good condition, can be a real challenge.
Most wineries will not ship wines during the summer months, and if they do, they recommend upgrading to some type of thermal shipper, usually with ice. While thermal shippers are more expensive to ship (due to dimensional weight requirements), they are great in helping to keep your wines cool as they travel back home. These are also nice to use so you don’t have to haul around and check an extra bag. When visiting a winery, make sure to ask about their summer shipping policy and confirm that they can in fact ship to your state.
If you have just a few bottles to take home, you can always stash them in your checked bag. Your luggage usually travels in the cargo hold and while not pressurized, it’s usually pretty cool down there. To avoid breakage (you’ve seen those baggage handlers, right?), make sure you wrap your goodies in bubble wrap and place them in the inner most section of your bag. Placing them on the bottom, top or to any of the sides increases their risk of being broken. Some wineries and wine retail shops have “wine diapers” specifically made for wine bottles and travel. These are padded as well as contained, so if a bottle should happen to break, your clothes, shoes and other personal items should avoid being damaged.
Backpacking, Hiking & Boating
If you’re planning on hitting the open trails for a day hike or relaxing on a boat on the open water, finding space for all of your equipment and gear can be tricky. There are necessities like water, snacks, towels, first aid and safety gear, sunscreen, camera, etc. etc. Usually by the time all of this is packed, there’s really not any room for a bottle of wine and glasses. In addition, taking glass bottles hiking or boating can be dangerous. Easy fix!
A portable canteen, like our insulated and flexible Tote-N-Able canvas canteens, makes it simple and safe to take along your favorite bottle of wine. Just toss in some plastic or acrylic stemless wine glasses, and you’re ready to roll!
No matter how you plan on vacationing this year, using these tips and ideas will help keep your wines cool and safe by air, sea or land!
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