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Liquid bomb threat: wineries and consumers get creative

Fearing a drop in cellar door sales, wineries in California are offering special packaging and discounted shipping after the imposition of a ban on carrying liquid onto airplanes, following last week’s revelations of a terrorist plot involving trans-Atlantic flights.

Domaine Carneros, for example, is providing free insulated foam packaging for consumers who previously could carry a few bottles on board a plane.

‘We are either the first or the last stop in wine country between Napa and Sonoma, and customers have always bought three-packs to take with them,’ Eileen Crane, the winery’s president and winemaker told decanter.com. ‘Because of the ban, we are now giving them packing materials that make it easier and more secure to check those bottles. We are also offering $15 towards shipping, if they choose to send their wine home.’

A spokesman for Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. confirmed that as of August 13, passengers could no longer carry any liquids – including wine – onto planes for an ‘indefinite period.’

‘Customers like to walk off the plane with their wine in hand,’ said Terry Hall, a spokesman for the Napa Valley Vintners Association. ‘Many vintners also really depend on that revenue. But most wineries already have in place Styrofoam packaging for consumers. I think people are ready to adapt to this change. Hopefully it will not last long.’

To circumvent such restrictions, wine aficionados are taking creative action. In one internet discussion group – erobertparker.com – members discussed contingency plans for group tastings of wine that would otherwise have been carried on, offering to accept shipments on behalf of others.

One discussion participant replied that this wouldn’t help for his upcoming tasting in Utah, one of several States that are prohibited by law from accepting wine shipments from California. He said he hoped his luggage ‘wouldn’t get ripped off’.

Other members, sobering to the reality of not being able to bring wine on board, debated whether it could withstand the colder temperatures of the cargo hold.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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