Wine in Checked Luggage


Sep 25th, 2006, 05:28 AM
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>..why not buy the wines and olive oils here in U.S?....

Because there are wines, oils, etc that are not exported to the US. Some don't even leave Italy.

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Sep 25th, 2006, 07:00 AM
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...and the ones that do leave Italy contain the preservatives required by the FDA. Try the same bottle here and there and you'll taste a clear difference. In particular, Italian and French red wines do not contain the added sulfites that give so many of us headaches.
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Sep 25th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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Just some info, ALL wines contain sulfites, even organic wines. Why they are labeled as such in the US is due to FDA regulations.

Sulfites are preservative used throughout the vinfication process, both in white & red. Some producers use more than others.

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Sep 25th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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I have always found that the headaches caused by sulphites is a matter of cumulative exposure. If I limit to a bottle or so a night I donít get the sulphite head-ache
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Sep 25th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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If you limit it to 2 bottles, is it the sulfites, the alcohol, or the hangover that causes the headache?
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Sep 25th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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"One can often get the same thing, almost for less."- mari5

I would have to strongly disagree. This trip I brought home with me from France: a shade of Chanel eye shadow NOT sold in the us, 6 bottles of wine NOT available in the Us and some homemade olive oil, NOT available in the us.

For me this is one of the great things about traveling.
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Sep 25th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Thanks, delvino, I didn't realize that about sulfites. There are other US-added preservatives that make a taste difference though. We're port-obsessed and after spending time tasting the real thing in Protugal last year, we refuse to buy it in the US any more. Have seen the same effects with other wines as well.

And to get back to the original thread, we always pack bottles in clothes in our checked luggage and have never had anything break. We'll keep doing this, since last trip we shipped two cases of vintage port home and never got it.
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Sep 25th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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klta - I'm not aware of any preservatives that are REQUIRED to be added to wine for importation into the US (or for production in the US, for that matter), and a reasonably thorough, though admittedly not exhaustive, search through the FDA web site yields no information on any such requirements. Actually, I haven't heard of any preservatives in wine anywhere other than sulfites and (less commonly) sorbic acid. Can you provide any reference(s) regarding specifically what preservatives FDA requires, etc.?
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Sep 25th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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I think this is right. FDA does not require the addition of sulfites. Winemakers add sulfites to wines. FDA requires _labeling_ to indicate that sulfites have been added.


"Of all the food additives for which FDA has received adverse reaction reports, the ones that most closely resemble true allergens are sulfur-based preservatives. Sulfites are used primarily as antioxidants to prevent or reduce discoloration of light-colored fruits and vegetables, such as dried apples and potatoes, and to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in fermented foods such as wine...

Though most people don't have a problem with sulfites, they are a hazard of unpredictable severity to people, particularly asthmatics, who are sensitive to these substances. FDA uses the term "allergic-type responses" to describe the range of symptoms suffered by these individuals after eating sulfite-treated foods. Responses range from mild to life-threatening.

FDA's sulfite specialists say scientists, at this time, are not sure how the body reacts to sulfites. To help sulfite-sensitive people avoid problems, FDA requires the presence of sulfites in processed foods to be declared on the label, and prohibits the use of sulfites on fresh produce intended to be sold or served raw to consumers (see "A Fresh Look at Food Preservative" in the October 1993 FDA Consumer).
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Sep 25th, 2006, 01:48 PM
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No - I don't have any evidence, but this is what was explained to us in one of the cellars in Portugal after commenting on how different the ports tasted. Maybe it's only true of port? I guess I have always assumed it was true of wine as well, and made sense to me given the demands of shipping.
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Sep 25th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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Sounds like a good marketing angle . . .
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Sep 25th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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I always line the bottom of my bag with bubble wrap before I leave home. I then use it to wrap fragile items I buy on my travels. I also pack zip-lock bags and foil to wrap foods.

There are NO extra additives in wines, including fortified wines such as port, exported to the US. This is a very common misconception and it is simply not true. As for olive oils, there are fantastic varieties of oils from every country available in the US, in shops and on-line. But if you purchase oils near their place of origin, they may well be fresher than the oil you buy in the US. Make sure to check the date on the bottle of olive oil and do not buy any more than a year old; in fall and winter look for the "new oil" that has been recentrrly harvested. Do not assume that any oil on European shelves is superior, or fresher than what you will find at home...check the date and do not buy undated oils.
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Sep 25th, 2006, 08:21 PM
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Wow! I had no idea this simple question would get such a response!

Like many of you've suggested we're going to pack some bubble wrap, large ziplock bags along with some extra plastic grocery bags (that we use for laundry anyway) to pack the wine and oils in. We're probably going to then wrap them up in a jacket or sweater for some added planning.

I'll let ypu know how it goes in about 15 days when I've returned!
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Sep 25th, 2006, 08:38 PM
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It may be that the whole additive thing is an urban rumor, but all the same I get less (if no)hangovers drinking the same amount (and more) alcohol in Europe than I do here at home.
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Oct 12th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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I just returned from my trip and following up with how we did it.

We first wrapped the wine in bubble wrap and secured it with packing tape (my motber overpacks some). Then we took an extra large ziplock bag to put it in, just in case it did break for added protection. I then put the bottles in the center of the suitcase surrounded by clothing and other soft items.

Got home, wine and olive oils intact in both suitcases. I brought back 3 bottles (2 wine, one oil) and my mom brought back 2 wine bottles. Can't wait to open them!
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