Carry-On Rules and Winery Visits

Wine lovers are affected in a special way by the new carry-on rules sparked by the UK discovery of a terrorist plot involving liquid explosives. In the past, if you picked up a few bottles of wine on a winery visit, you would probably carry them onto your flight to minimize the chance of loss or breakage. With a virtually complete prohibition on carrying on liquids, lugging that special cabernet and stuffing it in the overhead bin is no longer an option. According to With new carry-on curbs, wineries pour on the aid, USAToday reports that wineries are employing various strategies to keep their products moving in the new environment.

At Kenwood Vineyards in Kenwood, the new tasting-room policy is to give customers the packing boxes free instead of the previous charge of up to $10 and for the employees to pack the wines for the customer as check-in luggage. “People initially were reluctant about any shipping back to home,” retail service manager Alan Jensen says. “But as it has progressed, people appreciate our doing the packing for them, and they see it as a positive. It hasn’t slowed down our sales yet.”

I’d guess cheaper wines would be hurt the most. A great vintage from a top winery will be worth the trouble to incur extra packing time or additional shipping cost. A cheaper wine, though, might be easier to leave at the winery than cope with shipping it as baggage, etc.

There may be a silver lining in this cloud, according to some:

If there is a positive, it’s that the restrictions eventually might spur more states to allow direct shipments to consumers, Cakebread says. “I would hope this would strengthen the argument for shipping, and not just because of the restrictions but because direct shipping is good for consumers and for commerce.”

I’m a bit pessimistic on that score. Those regulations are driven by heavy lobbying from in-state distributors – consumer inconvenience has little or nothing to do with it, at least when compared to hefty campaign contributions geared to maintaining the status quo.

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