By Hope S. Philbrick
Fly With Wine sells suitcases it describes as “tough…yet gentle on glass.” The hard-sided suitcases boast dense foam inserts to cradle bottles, protecting them wherever you travel…whether you journey by plane, train, bus, automobile, horse-drawn wagon, boat, or however you go and however bumpy the way.
Recently, Getaways for Grownups was asked to road-test a VinGardeValise Piccolo.
The Pitch: “Never worry again about how to securely pack your favorite bottles of wine and keep them from breaking on your trip home. The VinGardeValise Piccolo doubles as an anytime, anywhere airline carry-on piece of luggage or as a checked wine travel case to travel safely with up to 5-bottles of wine—with room for your clothes and belongings on the other side.”
First Impression: The zip- and flip-open suitcase is thoughtfully engineered with a retractable handle, four 360-degree spinning wheels, magnetic-tuck zipper tabs, a TSA-friendly lock, reinforced corners, and two halves—a deeper side for bottles, another for personal travel items. Foam between the sections as well as between the hard exterior and lined interior cushion the contents from all sides; dense foam inserts nestle 5 bottles—one section holds 3 bottles, the other holds 2 bottles, so you can customize by using one or the other or both for trips (if you happen to know how many bottles you’ll want to tote home).
Road Test: Bottles are this suitcase’s priority, so it works best for light packers, quick trips, and/or as a secondary suitcase. The foam inserts are shaped with wine bottles in mind, but aren’t absolutely limited only to wine—many booze bottle styles will fit, and you could pack socks around beer bottles or cans to fill up voids. We tested our VinGardeValise Piccolo while road tripping to the Come Find Bourbon communities of Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown, Kentucky—to prove that, yes, it safely transports bourbon bottles, too. The bottle shapes within the foam inserts have some removeable segments, so you can squeeze slightly taller and/or wider bottles within the allotted space. The dense foam inserts can be removed, so if you are traveling someplace where you know you won’t be buying any bottles (are there such trips?) you don’t need a different suitcase: just pop the inserts out to leave at home and pack your stuff into that space.
Final Analysis: VinGardeValise is a must-have travel solution for adult travelers who enjoy sourcing wines and other bottled beverages on trips around the world. Serious collectors and/or infrequent travelers would certainly prefer one of the bigger options, since the Piccolo holds just 5 bottles.
Get It: Order your VinGardeValise Piccolo, which is available in black for $249, at flywithwine.com. Grande 12-bottle and Petite 8-bottle designs are also available and offered in black, gray, and burgundy. Whichever model you choose, you can personalize your suitcase with accessories.
– Product photos courtesy Fly With Wine; image with bourbon bottles © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.