Bringing wine home from Italy?

Old Apr 28th, 2017, 08:52 PM
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Bringing wine home from Italy?

Hey all!

My wife and I are traveling to Tuscany in June, plan to taste all the Brunellos and Vino Nobiles we can lay our hands on, and bring some back home. Am I correct in assuming that none can be brought on the flight, they all have to be checked? Also, since we can't really afford to buy cases of any one thing and have the winery ship it, we'll be mixing and matching - is it possible (I hope) to buy wine shipping packages (for a case of wine) at enotecas or other locations there, fill them up and then check them on the plane for the ride home? Last question - while we will visit some wineries, are the enotecas the best place to taste the widest assortment of wines AND purchase bottles to bring home?

Thanks for any feedback you can provide on these questions - as well as any other wine-related recommendations you want to make. This could well be the only week in our lives we get to spend tasting wines in the Val D'Orcia, and we wanna make it count!

Gordon
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Old Apr 28th, 2017, 10:34 PM
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>>> Am I correct in assuming that none can be brought on the flight, they all have to be checked?

Look at the carry-on rule. Unless you are bringing back bottles less than 3oz, then no.

>>> is it possible (I hope) to buy wine shipping packages (for a case of wine) at enotecas or other locations there, fill them up and then check them on the plane for the ride home?

I have been told to go to a local "UPS store" like outlet to get such materials. You realize that 1. It is quite a hassle carrying a case with you from the stores to the airport 2. You will exceed the duty free allowance of whatever country you are coming from and would have to pay duty on arrival. 3. 12 bottles is about 15kg. Depending on the airline and the class you are traveling, you can may also exceed the checked luggage weight limit. If you are going through airports under TSA jurisdiction, the TSA has "hazardous" material limit on stronger alcoholic drinks. http://blog.tsa.gov/2014/01/tsa-trav...ling-with.html. While this limit does not apply to wines, you can get snagged by an employee who does not know the nuances of categories of beverages. You also need to check regulation of your home state if there are additional restrictions.

I have brought packing material from home and brought a few bottles with me in checked luggage. It was a hassle.

I have also bought some odd number of bottles at an enoteca and other items and had them sent via "UPS store" that the store took care of. It was around 100EU. I don't do this again.

I have also bought half a case at at wineries and had them ship home. It added about 70EU for 6 bottles, but they included duty.

I have also bought cases at wineries and had them ship home at about 120EU. They took care of packing, shipping, duty, and the permit issues. It took about two to four weeks depending on the winery.

If I buy Brunello class wines in Italy, they cost less than half of what I pay at home and of better quality. Even including shipping, it ends up about 2/3 of what I pay at home.
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 03:46 AM
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There are websites and forums dedicated to Tuscan wine exploration, with lots of advice about shipping it, having it shipped for you and how to make appointments for the best wineries, or where to find enoteche if you want to sample a variety of producers, etc.
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 08:11 AM
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You don't say where you will be staying but Montalcino has several/many enotecas which allow you to taste wide varieties of different wines. You pay per taste according to its price and quality out of machines. The Fortezza has a vast selection of wines to taste as well and I have always enjoyed their presentations.
Of course travel to the individual wineries is a delightful experience but don't count on just dropping in--most these days require a reservation.

As for shipping or bringing home, Greg pretty well sums it up. Some places which do a lot of business (Enoteca di Piazza, Fortezza etc.) will shill programs that include shipping. You can check wines on the plane but Greg has outlined the obstacles--generally modest amounts are ignored at customs.

While we now bring home a few bottles which are unique and not available here, we have declined most shipping options as I have run into all sorts of issues--held in customs, delays and rough treatment. Wine would definitely need to be checked on a plane.
I like to visit the wineries and dive into their culture--a car is essential. Don't pass up the small off the beaten path outfits as some exceptional values are hidden there. Can Cin!
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 11:02 AM
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Last year while in Sorrento we shipped 6 bottles via mail box etc. Yes, it cost us 70 euros to ship it but we did not have to carry the wines the remaining 2 weeks we were away. Nor did we have to worry about it in our luggage. Breakage or our luggage being over weight. Wine bottles are heavy.The cost of an over weight suitcase is more then the shipping costs. The wine arrived home less then a week after it was shipped. We were still in Italy enjoying our vacation. Spend the money, have peace of mind and ship it home
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 11:25 AM
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Gordon, we brought back 5 random bottles we picked up in Tuscany using these reusable wine skins:

: Vinolock - Reusable Wine Bottle Protector - 6 pack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019HN0W30..._OlWWe8qBdZ6aL

We travel with one carry on luggage piece and one medium sized checked piece. At the end of our trip, we moved almost everything over to from the smaller piece to the bigger piece (it wasn't full at the beginning) and then packed the wine in the smaller luggage with dirty laundry packed around the wineskins. Filled it tight and checked it at the airport; everything made it home safe and sound. With 5 wine bottles and some tins of olive oil it weighed just shy of 30 pounds packed tight, well under our 50 pound limit. I would definitely recommend a scale to double check your weight situation before flying.

If you can find a place that ships for a price you're happy with, I'd definitely consider that route as it is much more convenient and you can buy in bigger quantity but of course at more cost.
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 02:02 PM
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We brought back a couple bottles of the super Tuscans when there, they were wrapped probably in two flipflops taped together, then double or triple wrapped in plastic. No worries. They were fine and enjoyed once home. Did the same thing in France. You might want to pick up a half-dozen or so bubble bottle wraps now on the market here in the States designed for this, probably cheaper than you would find over there.
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