Headed to Ireland

Hey, I’m taking off for a week-ish trip to Ireland! I’ve never been and I’m going on a sojurn with my mom. It’s one of those package tours (“Taste of Northern Ireland & Dublin”). So I’ll be with dozens of people I’ve never met before, which is exciting.

Where I’m Going

  • Dublin (duh)
  • Belfast
  • Derry

I’ll be checking out some of the natural wonders like the Slieve League Cliffs. Which are some of the highest in all of Europe. See, I’m already learning stuff and I haven’t even left Brooklyn yet.

Slieve League Cliffs / Photo via Facebook/Tourism Ireland

Will there be wine? Perhaps. But I will be enjoying beer and whiskey. Plenty of time for wine on other trips. (Like my upcoming jaunt to Portugal at the end of the month. Stay tuned.)

See ya in a week or so!

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17 Carry-On Luggage Recommendations from Expert Travelers

I’m going to be doing some international travel soon. Headed to Ireland for the first time and making a return visit to Portugal (see highlights of the latter trip from 2012) Since many of my friends have been and will be traveling all over the world for wine and beyond, I put out a call on Facebook for carry-on luggage recommendations. And boy did I get answers from people with passports loaded with international stamps.

My main concern was finding a bag that would be small enough for domestic and international airlines. The problems/questions:

  • Every airline has different rules about carry-on bag size.
  • Given measurements can me misleading (because many sites don’t factor in wheel/handle size) or just plain wrong. (Read the comments/reviews of any luggage you’re considering.)
  • Does it matter give or take an inch/half-inch? I got responses from people with bags supposedly “too big” that have flown everywhere with no trouble. Maybe it’s ok to roll the dice?
  • You might get unlucky at the gate and have to check it anyway, regardless of size.
  • Your bag’s dimensions might be fine, but it’s too heavy.
  • The maximum size allowed by an airline may/will change.

So with those caveats in mind, here’s the intel I gathered. If a bag got multiple votes, I added that in parenthesis. There is an astonishing variety of styles and configurations. Prices come from the company website. Also I arranged these by most votes, then price from high to low.

Your plane and bin will not be empty like this. /  SuperJet International via Flickr.

Carry-On Luggage Recommendations

Four Wheels

Away (7)

The Carry-On ($225)

Dimensions: 21.7” x 13.7” x 9” (includes wheels)

Rimowa (3) 

Salsa Air Ultralight Cabin Multiwheel Lata 33L ($495 at Saks Fifth Avenue)

Dimensions: 21.7″ x 15.8″ x 7.9″

Tumi (2)

International Carry-On ($645)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Travel Pro (2)

Maxlite 5 21″ Expandable Carry-On Spinner ($140)


Urban Ballet Spinner 55/20 ($220)

Dimensions: 13.8″ x 21.7″ x 9.1″


Adjustable Handle Hard Carry Suitcase 35L ($160)

Dimensions:  21″ x 14.6″ x 9.3″ (with wheels and “approximately”)

Two Wheels

Travel Pro (2)

Maxlite 4 International Carry-On Rollaboard ($120)

Dimensions: 19.5″ x 14″ x 8.5″


Carry-On Classic ($349)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″


Meridan 60L/22″ ($350)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″


MVx Touring Global Carry-On ($270)

Dimensions: 21.7″ x 13.8″ x 7.9″


B-Lite 3 Upright Carry-On 20″ Widebody ($230)

Dimensions: 20.75″ x 15.25″ x 7.0″

Large Rolling Underseater ($120)

Dimensions: 16.5″ x 13.0″ x 9.25″


7651 20″ Pilot Getaway ($99)

Dimensions: 22″ x 13.75″ x 9.25″


Tom Bihn

Aeronaut 45 ($295)

Dimensions: 21.9″ x 14″ x 9.1″

Genius Pack

Tri-Fold Carry-On Garment Bag ($178)

Dimensions: 21.9″ x 14″ x 9.1″


TLS Motherlode Weekender Convertible ($130)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Amazon Basics

Carry-On Travel Backpack ($50)

Finally, I received two picks for Kirkland (Costco’s brand) carry-ons. One was a two-wheeler and the other had four, but I only see the former on the site. Might pay to stop by a store if you are a member. And vote for a bag with an indiegogo campaign, Pakt.

Also, shop around because you can find different prices and deals on other sites. And most of the sites above offer a one-time discount for your first purchase. Ask if your friends have a discount code, like for Away.

Are these carry-on luggage recommendations missing your bag? Let me know about it in the comments.

Here are two of my posts about being on international flights:

Wine on Airlines: Will Ferrell, Graham Greene, and Sekt on Lufthansa

Wine on Airlines II: Sparkling Wine Not Bringing Me Down

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Best Wine Travel Destinations on Snacky Tunes

Had the pleasure of being a guest on Snacky Tunes again, the most excellent podcast where the talk is about food AND the talk is about music. I was there to discuss Wine Enthusiast’s 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations of 2017.

Of those top ten spots I have visited five. Though I confess when I went to London I was 18 and traveling around Europe with a backpack and a rail pass. AND NO SMART PHONE OR PHONE PERIOD. (Insert “Get off my lawn!” rant.) I drank little wine in London but plenty of beer.

I’d also like to mention Sicily is an amazing place to visit for a myriad of reasons, and wine is just one of them.

Have a listen to the show:

After my wine blathering, I listened to Diane Birch talk and play.

Stuck around @snackytunes after my segment to hear @dianebirch sing two fantastic songs.

A post shared by Jameson Fink (@jamesonfink) on

She was very funny, candid, and charming during the interview part of her appearance and the performance was lovely. I have to admit I forgot to put my headphones on so all I heard was Birch’s voice and the pressing of keys along with the quiet plucking of a bass. But to hear her voice isolated in the intimate setting of the studio (located in Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brookyn) was a treat. You should check out Birch’s really cool cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears:

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On Champagne and Steak: The Hey Human Podcast

Hi there and welcome to 2017. One of the highlights of my 2016 was a (brief) trip to Nashville. My guide was Susan Ruth, a performing songwriter. While I was in town I sat down with her as a guest on the Hey Human Podcast. And Champagne and steak was set in front of me moment prior to recording, so the podcasting hospitality was stellar.

This show gave me the opportunity to talk about Champagne beyond popcorn. In fact, it’s a really excellent wine for steak. Especially when you have a richer-style Champagne. Our bottle even ably handled the blue cheese atop said steak.

A note to listeners: At the time I had just read a book about bedbugs* and still had cockroach-infested nightmares from my inaugural New York City apartment. So the first part of the show might skew towards entomologists but, bear with us, we do get to wine.

To find out what bottle we drank, and more about wine (and bugs) listen to the show:

S1 E28 Jameson Fink: Joy in the Heart and Wine in the Hand

Also, one of the most fun things I’ve done for Wine Enthusiast? I asked Susan, along with five other Nashville performing songwriters, to send me their wine questions. I picked one from each artist to answer. What queries came from this talented bunch? As follows:

  • What’s the best everyday sparkling wine? Top celebration Champagne?
  • Does wine need to breathe? How about white wine?
  • Are there good dessert wines that aren’t raisiny like Port?
  • Is there a wine for surviving a breakup?
  • What’s the best wine for salmon? For smoked brisket?

Discover my answers, along with a photo, bio, and music clip from each artist:

Nashville Musicians Get Their Wine Questions Answered

Speaking of Nashville, here are a few highlights:

I fell in love with Savant Vintage. I did not write a hit song nor buy the jacket. I regret both decisions.

On Champagne and Steak: The Hey Human Podcast


On Champagne and Steak: The Hey Human Podcast

I ate this sandwich, I drank the High Life at Edley’s Bar-B-Que.

On Champagne and Steak: The Hey Human Podcast

Great seats at The Bluebird Cafe. Even got to enter through the kitchen, Goodfellas-style.

On Champagne and Steak: The Hey Human Podcast

I do; it’s true.

On Champagne and Steak: The Hey Human Podcast

*Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World by Brooke Borel. (Highly recommended.)

Steak photo by Tella Chen via Flickr.

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Weekly New York Wine News — February 16, 2016

Photo via Finger Lakes Wine Country Facebook Page NEWS Paste Magazine – 2/9/2016 Kudos for the facility and hospitality found at Glenora Wine Cellars on Seneca Lake. Rochester Business Journal – 2/10/2016 New York lawmakers entertain legislation to create signage for the Rochester Craft Beverage Trail. Cornell Sun – 2/11/2016 The Cornell Institute for Climate Change is developing new tools to help farmers cope with unusual weather patterns. Northern Grape Project – 2/11/2016 A comprehensive update on the fourth year of a program to study and promote cold-climate grape growing. Now and Zin – 2/12/2016 The Finger Lakes International Wine…