Bringing Wine Home From France


Nov 22nd, 2009, 02:04 PM
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Bringing Wine Home From France

When I visited California, I was able to purchase a special box with styrofoam inserts that enabled me to bring back a case of wine that I checked as baggage. The case held up to the baggage handlers and the wine travelled safe and sound.

Do they sell such a thing in France? If so, is it easy to find? If not, my other option is a hard sided suitcase and lots of bubble-wrap.

Needless to say, I'll have to claim my case of wine at customs, but I think it will be worth the duty, don't you?
GalleySlaveKelly is offline  
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Nov 22nd, 2009, 02:11 PM
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If you buy your wine in France at a wine store or specialty food store or at a vineyard, yes they'll package it up for you. At the supermarket - no.

And chances are you won't have to pay any duty on it. They usually have better things to do and waive you on in.
StCirq is offline  
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Nov 22nd, 2009, 02:14 PM
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The French Post Office sells boxes that will hold up to 12 bottles of wine and are used for mailing within France. They hold up well as checked luggage. You can find them in most wine stores.

If you're headed back to the States, customs usually does care how many bottles you're bringing in as long as you declare them. A case is hardly enough to worry about.
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Nov 22nd, 2009, 03:52 PM
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Duty on a bottle of wine is about 25c or 35c. I've never had US customs collect my pocket change when I've imported a 1/2 dozen bottles.
J62 is online now  
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Nov 22nd, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Customs will dutifully enforce whatever state laws are in place at your US arrival airport. Some states have generous laws allowing you to import a good number of bottles, others do not.

In any event it is most likely that you'll need to check whatever you purchase (security will not allow you to carry liquids through the checkpoints) and you might be subject to additional baggage fees for this extra box which many airlines are now charging.

A good summary of what to expect is available here:
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Nov 22nd, 2009, 05:16 PM
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What to expect and what actually happens are different. I have seen them waive through people with a duffel bag full of wine bottles. But yes, do declare it.
StCirq is offline  
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Nov 23rd, 2009, 05:33 AM
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We bring a laundry bag and lots of bubble wrap.

One carryon is emptied and refilled with 6-9 bottles wrapped in bubble wrap and whatever dirty clothes will fit. The duffle bag is for any leftover clothes.

You can, of course, do this with both carryons and check all three items.

A bottle of wine weighs about 3 lb. (I think)

ira is offline  
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Nov 23rd, 2009, 06:21 AM
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Before you go through the trouble of packing and toting your wine, do a quick online check (while you're in France) to see if it's available to you in the U.S. at a reasonably equivalent price. If it is, consider buying the wine stateside and either purchase a different, less available, wine in France to bring back or opt not to bother.

We have a friend who once went to considerable trouble (and expense) to bring back bottles of French wine that were available for almost the same price at the wine store 10 blocks from his house. And the wine that he liked but didn't buy in France wasn't available in his home state.
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Nov 23rd, 2009, 09:34 AM
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Definitely declare it--you don't want to get caught "smuggling". Mr. DangerGirl has a wine suitcase and we brought 10 or 11 bottles of Port back from a recent trip. (Eight in the suitcase, its max capacity, and three wrapped up in our regular luggage.) While over the 1-liter-per-adult duty free limit, we were only a little bit over the combined dollar amount, and they just sent us on our way.

Do make note of the threshold for overweight baggage. If as suggested you use this opportunity to bring back wines you like that you can't get locally, one additional bag fee is possibly worth it. But if that additional bag is also over the weight limit, that might make the wines pretty expensive. DH's Wine Cruzer is just under 50 lbs with eight bottles (75 cl); a box and foam inserts will have a lesser starting weight than his suitcase, but....something to consider.
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Nov 23rd, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Recently brought back 20 bottles of wine in checked baggage from Alba, Italy. Mailboxes Etc - which has branches in most Italians towns - has boxes with styrofoam inserts for wine. Check their website for locations in France. They will also ship it for you (in accordance with all laws they say), but it's pricey - about $175 for 12 bottles.

We had 12 bottles in a box, 4 in each of 2 suitcases. We filled out our Customs form to say "food etc" and put the correct value in of the wine as well as food items we had purchased. We moved right on through - as opposed to a previous trip where we actually wrote "wine" on the form. That time we only had eight bottles. But we got stopped, and after a lot of questions, they let us through.

My conclusion at this point is that since the duty is so low, and since Customs is usually so crowded, they'd rather not know and just let you go. It's really not worth their time and effort.

We were flying business class so we didn't have to worry about extra bags or overweight luggage. But if you're flying coach, I could see where that might get expensive.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 10:32 AM
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I always take wine skins with me when I travel. They are very thick, sturdy plastic with bubble wrap inside (shaped like a wine bottle). Great for bringing wine back other glass items like olive oil, vinegars, etc.... We use them over and over again. They are sealable at the top and I usually just take some shipping tape to seal the tops again.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 10:46 AM
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One key point is the liquor laws in the state of the airport where you will be landing.

Not sure which they are but some are completely dry and others have rules about where alcohol can be bought.

Double check that before deciding to bring back a ton of wine.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 10:54 AM
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a 2009 thread topped by an advertiser . . .
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