Why Duty-Free Wine Is Actually a Waste of Money

Sorry, wine lovers.

Shutterstock /Sorbis

While traveling can burn a big ol’ hole in your wallet, you probably do some damage long before you even reached your destination. Sound familiar? Believe it or not, you have fallen victim to the sneaky way airports are tricking you into spending your money.

Granted, some airport purchases are better than others. There’s a secret perk to buying books at the airport, for example. But if you stock up on duty-free wine before boarding the plane, it’s likely that you’re wasting your money.

Turns out, flying with a bottle of wine in your suitcase can change its flavor, Roy Moorfield, an international wine consultant with Cathay Pacific, told news.com.au. The plane’s vibration can shake the wine and pull its flavor molecules apart. “So you have the effect of the fruits being reduced, and that exposes the acidity and the tannin,” Moorfield said. Here are 15 more things you should never, ever buy at the airport, too.

Some wines might weather the trip better than others, according to Moorfield. Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay, and rosé tend to taste better in the air. But regardless of the vino you choose, it’s likely to lose its original taste by the time you reach your destination. Want to take the risk? As soon as you get home, place the bottle in a cool, dark space where it can settle for about six months before opening it. Doing so could restore its flavor.

If losing the wine’s taste isn’t enough to convince you, purchasing duty-free wine won’t save you any money in the long run, either. “Many people stop at duty-free stores because of the common misconception that they will save a fortune on taxes,” Veronica Thor, a consumer and shopping expert and blogger, told Reader’s Digest. “However, the reality is that the small tax savings doesn’t make up for the markup in prices. And this is particularly true when it comes to alcohol.”

All the more reason to take advantage of the hidden perk of buying electronics at the airport, instead.

[Source: The Sun]

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.