I grew up in French. It’s my mother tongue, my first words were in French (“non” and “cheval” if you’re interested), and for about ten years I lived at least 70% of my life in French.
But I’ve never been to France. This is particularly ridiculous because I live in London, and I’ve been on the Eurostar several times, so I’ve been through France on my way to other countries on at least six occasions, but somehow I’ve never stopped off there.
One day I’ll go. I think part of the reason I’m holding back is that if I go I might not come back to the UK. I love hearing people speaking French around me. I love communicating in my first language. There’s a depth of feeling that I just can’t seem to access in English. But at some point I’ll just get on a train and go to France.
In the meantime I read Diane’s blog, Oui In France, and it gives me an entertaining insight into what it’s like to be an expat there. A while ago she posted about Lazenne, a company who make special suitcases for wine, and of course this sparked my interest. So I bought one.
Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way: Diane’s post is sponsored. Mine isn’t, but I did email them about their magical suitcases and I asked them for an affiliate link, which they sent me. So if you click through to Lazenne’s website from this post, I’ll earn a little bit of money from it. You won’t pay any more than you would otherwise, but Lazenne will give me a cut of the profit to thank me for sending you their way.
I guess I’ve spoiled my review by posting that picture, but oh well.
Lazenne make products that help you take wine abroad. This is particularly helpful if, like me, you’re someone who travels abroad quite often and usually ends up trying a wine and wishing you could bring it in your carry-on.
Until three weeks ago, I had never travelled with checked baggage.
The idea of having to add extra time to the end of my journey did not appeal at all. On top of which, I’d heard so many horror stories about misplaced bags that I didn’t want to risk it.
But then I had to go to a conference in Italy. I’m a Bordeaux (left bank) girl usually, but I like a good Barolo from time to time, so I figured I’d probably try some good wines while I was there. And I did. Ohhhh, I did.
I’ve drunk good wine in other places too, but usually I don’t have any way of transporting it home since I only travel with a carry-on bag. This time was different, because I’d decided to try the Lazenne wine check suitcase. I bought seven bottles of wine, as well as eight bottles of balsamic vinegar. All of them fitted into my suitcase. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, buying the case was easy. Lazenne’s website is straightforward to navigate and the shipping options are excellent: they deliver to most European destinations and they have expedited delivery options. If you order before 11am, you can get your case delivered before 1pm the following day; otherwise you can get it delivered within 48 hours. Being the super-organised packer I am, I chose the second option with some trepidation, having had bad experiences with delivery firms in the past. I also had an appointment I couldn’t miss, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be in. I had it delivered to my nearest pick-up spot, which was a five-minute walk from my house, and it all went very smoothly.
They have a tracking system that shows you exactly where your package is and when you can expect it. I bought a case that fits 12 bottles, so when I picked it up I was worried it might be heavy, but it was incredibly light! So light I was almost suspicious: had they forgotten to put my suitcase in the box?
No, they hadn’t. There it was, with its little polystyrene wine protectors nestled inside:
“Is that really going to protect my wines on the plane home?” I wondered. I had images of the cases being thrown hither and thither, glass exploding all over the place, and arriving in Heathrow to find my wine case had become a wine coffin.
That didn’t happen.
The suitcase impressed me for a few reasons. The first, and most important, was that it protected the wine. You could also get olive oil bottles or anything else of a similar size into it. I transported some small pots of truffles in the wine suitcase, too: I wrapped them in socks and stuffed them inside one of the bottle holder bits. Both of these also survived the journey fine.
With the wine inside it, the case naturally became much heavier. I transported seven wine bottles, plus truffles and some bottles of balsamic, and it was quite heavy to lift. Luckily I didn’t have to lift it much, because of the handy wheels that make it possible to just drag it along behind you. There are two handles on the top of the case, which makes it much easier if you do have to lift it (although it’d probably be more sensible for the health of your back and the case to lift it from the bottom).
It’s possible to fit quite a lot of stuff around the wine as well: I managed eight bottles of balsamic, all in individual boxes, which slotted in perfectly and which again didn’t explode on the journey.
The checking baggage process was less painful than I’d expected, although it’s a bit of a pain having to hang around in the airport once you’re home, but worth it for the wonderful wines you can bring back from abroad. Plus, if you wanted to you could probably just get the case delivered to your hotel while you’re abroad, which would save you having to check a bag on the outgoing journey.
I arrived in London and opened my bag nervously, but it was all there and all fine. All my wine! All my vinegar! All my truffles! A taste of Italy in my own home, thanks to Lazenne.
You can buy your own case here. And just to reiterate: Lazenne didn’t sponsor this post, or ask me to review the product. I’m reviewing it because I bought it and loved it. I did sign up to their affiliate scheme afterwards, so if you click through to Lazenne’s website from this post, I’ll earn a little bit of money from it. You won’t pay any more than you would otherwise, but Lazenne will give me a cut of the profit to thank me for sending you their way.