Frequently we find ourselves in a situation where you really want to bring home a bottle of that lovely wine…you had that night…when you were at that restaurant…in that European capital. Or, if you’re an expat living in a dry country, it’s more an issue of personal survival, making sure you always have some half-decent plonk in the place.
Regardless of the particulars, transporting the stuff can be tricky. Sellotaping 60 carrier bags around each bottle and then carefully wrapping them in clothes in a suitcase, praying they don’t explode at 30,000ft, soaking every expensive item of clothing you own…is the best we can really do. Until now.
According to the company’s official blurb, a wine industry veteran and a biotech executive – both experienced travellers and both passionate about all things grape – saw a need for a better way to transport liquids and fragile items. Two years of intensive product development and testing resulted in a unique concept for inflatable travel accessories, the Vinnibag.
In essence, inflation chambers suspend the contents in an air cushion, protecting against both impact and leakage. The chambers conform to the contents – whether a single bottle or multiple items – as the inflation can be varied. It’s also engineered to withstand fluctuations in altitude and temperature.
Naturally, this still means you have to carry it in your checked-in luggage, which is fine really, as it would take up an awful lot of space in your carry-on bag.
The Vinnibag can be purchased either through the website for only US$28.00 each or US$25.00 each for two or more, or in one of many retail outlets also listed on the website across the North American continent…and Japan.
The first thing you’ll notice when you get one of these puppies out of the packaging is actually how durable it feels. It’s made from pretty tough PVC and the manufacturer actually encourages you to send back old and used-up products so that they can be recycled and made into garden hoses.
The instructions are simple and they’re clearly printed at the bottom of the bag, so it’s easy to double check you’ve got the procedure right as you’re actually doing it.
“Firstly, insert the bottle, centre and line up with the mark at the top end” – the bottle goes in a little further than you might think, so you’ll find yourself sticking your arm in there a bit as well.
“Partially inflate the bag to stabilize the bottle” – without the bottom being properly sealed at this stage, this is a little fiddly, but nothing serious.
“Gently pull on the corner arrows to flatten the seal then tightly roll” – the rolled end provides protection at the bottom of the bottle and it all fits together very nicely.
“Then buckle and tighten the strap. Finally, finish inflating the bag to the desired level” – the strap probably won’t need adjusting from the where it is and when you’ve inflated it a bit more – about two healthy exhales should do it, you can properly see the genius of the design. The bottle of wine sits, enclosed in a bubble of sorts, with inflated padding all around it.
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