Some of the great joys of wine is sharing it with friends, and also drinking it in interesting places. However there are two important factors in the enjoyment of wine where either you or the wine has traveled. One is making sure that the wine gets there properly, and the other is making sure that the right glassware is there to drink it with.
In this article Iíll discuss wine bottle carriers and also glass carriers. This will focus on carriers you take with you. In a separate article Iíll look at ways to send or ship your wine to other places, if you can afford to be apart from it, of course. The photos below come from the Murray Almond Wine Accessories CollectionTM. Any offers to sublicense the collection can be made to other author with appropriate inducements.
The first element is the bottle carrier. The bottle carriers should serve two purposes, protecting the wine bottle from being broken and also providing some thermal stability for the wine, you donít want to let the wine get too hot, or warm if itís been chilled, while youíre travelling.
While it is possible to wrap the bottle in newspaper and transport in a Plastic Bag from Kmart, there is a certain amount of style that can be brought into play here. There are a host of bottle bags available at all price levels. The first photo shows a few that I was able to obtain for a very reasonable price; in fact free, with the purchase of a bottle or two of wine that matched the design on the bag. Another way of think about it is that the bag was expensive, but did come with free wine.
All three serve slightly different purposes, the Tahbilk bag is good for carrying two bottles nicely, although it only really suits cabernet-shape bottles, which is the type Tahbilk typically uses. The Perrier-JouŽt bag is great for champagne, as it also fits a chiller block to keep the bubbly cool.
So youíve got wine in tow, but thereís not much worse that getting to taste the wine and the glassware is not up to scratch. Iíve written before about the importance of glassware (see wineoftheweek) and I practice what I preach. As I mentioned in the article I find that the standard Tasting Glass is the best all-around glass for wine. I had been searching high and low for a good glass carrier to no avail, and had taken to taking glasses in the box they came in.
However on a trip to South Africa last year I encountered the perfect thing. A wonderful carrier for six tasting glasses produced by the Cape Wine Academy in the Stellenbosch wine area near Cape Town. I havenít encountered such a carrier anywhere else, but Iím pretty sure thereís a market for them. The message on top of the carrier is an important one that I endorse fully.
Thereís not that many glass carriers around the place especially for larger glass types such as the Riedel glassware. Riedel market a soft-sided case that holds 4 Bordeaux glasses for about $90aud, but thereís other options.
My vinous friend Ric Einstein; known to the wine world as TORB got sick of inadequate glassware at Restaurants and made his own carrier for Riedel Shiraz glasses from a large aluminum camera case.
Ric notes that there been little or no problem taking his suitcase to restaurant, however he does clean his own glassware after dining.
The next option is to carry both bottles and glasses to the various functions. My most recent purchase is a carrier that I found at the local Post Office. This insulated carrier either holds two bottles, or a bottle and two tasting glasses (see above left). With the napkins itís just the thing for the watching the Grammar School rowing race.
The next two cases (the red and the black) are probably my favourites, mainly because you can take them anywhere and not look like a wine geek until theyíre opened. Closed up they look like normal business cases, the Airline Frequent Flyer Tags completing the illusion.
The black case I picked up for a bargain at a clearance centre. Itís probably the best all around carrier, as the insulation keeps white wine chilled and also maintaining the right temperature for reds. The four tasting glasses and opener fit in snugly as well. A great all-around solution, Iím not sure if theyíre still available but I have a number of buyers if they surface anywhere. The leather briefcase is a do-it yourself conversion I did during the holidays. Itís design for a couple of bottles of red and two Riedel-shaped glasses.
The foam inserts were from a bottle mailer and the foam was cut to size by the local foam supplier. This case does the job very nicely, but did gather a few, I think envious, sideways glances when I took it to the restaurant.
So thereís a quick overview of some of the bottle and glass carriers out there. In this article Iíve barely touched the surface, thereís all sorts of options if you look around.
Some can be picked up for a song, others you have to pay a bit more for. Louis Vuitton have a great leather bottle holder for $1500, and when I was last in the shop I thought that their logo shoe carrier was just the thing to carry around eight Riedel Shiraz Glasses in comfort and style. Just the thing for Fatherís Day for around $2,500.
Great wine deserves appropriate storage, transportation, and the right glassware in which to enjoy it. The right carriers protect the wine and the glasses, enabling the wine lover the best opportunity to get the best out of it.
Please keep contributing.
Copyright © Murray Almond 2003