While on Whidbey Island in Washington last week, I stopped in at the Whidbey Island Winery. The winery makes a variety of wines with grapes grown both on the island and in the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington. I couldn't resist the interesting grapes (including Madeleine Angevine, which is my new favorite grape name) and good wine making, and found myself with four bottles before I'd even thought about getting them home in a suitcase that was already looking pretty bloated.
I was busy imagining the stains and the aromas (spicy black pepper, toasty oak, cotton, and fabric softener) that I would find upon opening my suitcase after the flight home, when the woman ringing me up asked if I'd like to buy Wine Skins for packing the bottles. She explained that they both seal the wine to prevent stain disasters in case of breakage, and pad the bottles to lessen the risk of the bottles breaking.
I think they charged $1.50 per skin, and I can report they worked beautifully, even protecting the wine as my suitcase did a full somersault before bouncing down into the baggage carousel. The only significant flaw is that they aren't reusable. But I'm still glad to have found them, and hope that more wineries start stocking them soon. In fact, I'm headed up to Napa this weekend, so I can conduct an informal poll of availability and pricing.