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sberliner Sep 7th, 2007 06:34 AM

Bringing Wine home from Italy
Anyone know the rules (or could point me to the rules) regarding how much, if any, wine can be brought or shipped back to the U.S.

AAFrequentFlyer Sep 7th, 2007 06:42 AM

I'm not going to Google for US Customs, but I believe it's somewhere around 2 liters, BUT, you can't carry it on anymore. No liquid containers bigger than 3 ozs.

Shipping is going to cost you a fortune.

Checking it in is taking a chance. Not becaused of theft, but because of possible breakage.

It's best to ask your local liquer store if they can order the wine for you. Much cheaper and less hassle.....

Good luck!

AAFrequentFlyer Sep 7th, 2007 06:45 AM

a little correction.....

If you are flying from let's say Rome to Chicago(final destination) and you were to buy the wine in the duty free shop then it's fine, but any connection and or a purchase made in some local winery, will mean either checking it it or having it shipped

ira Sep 7th, 2007 06:51 AM

Hi S.

You may bring in 2L duty free. However, the duty is now so low that Customs doesn't care, as long as you declare it.

You can buy shipping cartons if you want to take home a case, or so.

For just a few bottles, bring bubble wrap with you.


J62 Sep 7th, 2007 06:55 AM

Ira is correct. The 2L limit is duty free.

I brought home 1 case recently. I declared the quantity on my US customs form (required) and was simply waved through.

The ~$0.25/bottle duty apparently isn't worth the effort to collect.

drbb Sep 7th, 2007 09:27 AM


A few questions, please?

Did you arrange for packing the bottles while in Italy? I assume that you checked in the case as luggage. What airline did you fly? Did they give you any hassles?

Will be going to Northern Italy in May and we are anxious to bring back some wines, partciularly some of those luscious reds from the Piedmont and Veneto area. On our last trip (to Loire Valley and Burgundy) we brought back as many as we could fit into our suitcases safely. No breakage. But we wished we had brought more!

I have to say that I differ with AAFrequentFlyer's position on this subject. You can often buy local wines in limited production that simply are not available to us because they are not imported. Plus you have the added benefit of drinking and sharing a wine that brings back fond memories.

Thanks in advance.

jay Sep 7th, 2007 09:35 AM

We always pack wine in our suitcases. We can fit 6 bottle in each suitcase. Remember that that will effect the weight of the bag. Also, if you are buying duty free you have check it once you go through customs and are catching another flight. This happened to us on a NWA flight in Detroit.

cparris Sep 7th, 2007 09:38 AM

This summer flying home from Athens, no one was allowed to bring alcohol on board even by purchasing from the duty free shops.

ekscrunchy Sep 7th, 2007 09:58 AM

I thought the amount you could bring in varied by state. On a few recent trips, I have managed to bring back 5 or 6 bottles each time..I bring lots of bubble wrap with me and wrap the bottles well and pack in my checked bags. Once or twice, I have purchased cardboard mailing tubes which, when cut, can accommodate two bottles. Again, they went into my checked bags. So far so breakage.

I think as a rule it is not worth the cost to ship the wine to the US.

J62 Sep 7th, 2007 10:09 AM

The winery at which I made my purchase packed the bottles two 6 pack styrofoam containers. These they fit into a cardboard box (6 bottles /box). (magnum case I think). Finally I fit a whole box into my 22" soft sided suitcase and sent as checked luggage.

If it hadn't fit nicely into the suitcase I would have simply checked the box as baggage.

I bring along a med sized duffel bag on trips for clothes, etc. so I can use the suitcase for souvenirs, etc.

J62 Sep 7th, 2007 10:19 AM

Also, be aware that you will not necessarily get the best deal buying directly from a winery. Out of curiosity I looked and found the same bottles available at the local Conad & Spar super markets for about 10-15% cheaper.

Of course 90% of the fun is tasting and buying on the spot as part of the trip story & remembrance so for me a few bucks a bottle makes no difference.

As for shipping, I'm of the opinion it only makes sense for higher price, harder to find vintages. Something truly unique you can't get at home.

2Italy Sep 7th, 2007 10:22 AM

We always bring back about 12-15 bottles of wine. We pack them well in our suitcases padded very well with our clothing. They must be padded enough so that there is NO movement of the bottles. We often take another collapsible duffle that we use to pack some of the items in our suitcases to make room for the wine

2Italy Sep 7th, 2007 10:24 AM

I don't know what happened, it suddenly posted while I was typing. Anyway, we then check that second duffle bag also. We declare everything but NOBODY has ever looked at anything. We have never lost a bottle of wine on the way home either.

[email protected]

ira Sep 7th, 2007 10:26 AM

Hi ek
>I thought the amount you could bring in varied by state.

You are correct. Each state, and rven county, has its own rules. However, I've not yet heard of anyone being stopped by the local ABC agents at an airport.


ekscrunchy Sep 7th, 2007 10:36 AM

I've not heard of this either, Ira, but together we have not heard the accounts of a very large percentage of travelers entering the US, wouldn't you agree?

So the rule is not 2 liters, as stated depends on your state.

I have been stopped at the border when driving and made to pour out a case of alcohol on the ground!

cherrybomb Sep 7th, 2007 12:14 PM

I use this:

and check it--have never had a problem with breakage. I pack some bubble wrap to put around the top and have the wine shop/winery wrap the center of the bottle with a piece of cardboard (usually it is just piece of the wine box) and have the airport shrink wrap the container for a few euros.

As far as declaring it, for US it is 2 liters, but the form just asks what you bought and the value, not quantity. I figure, I will pay the duty if they want to open my luggage.

For more about duty, customs, rules:

rlbplf Sep 7th, 2007 12:28 PM

We purchased inexpensive suitcases at the coop in Rada and bubblewrap from a store in the village. I packed 24 bottles carefully and checked them with our other suitcases. Everything arrived intact and customs did not even blink. I declared the value of the wine which is all that is asked on the declarations form. Shipping from Italy is very expensive as opposed to France which is more reasonable.

petertherabbitt Sep 7th, 2007 03:49 PM

you best check the state laws regarding the importation of alcohol. you cannot do it in massachusetts and they will not attempt to ship it here either. i tryed a while ago to ship a case to here but no go. the state law is very specific about this.. if you go thru a dealer then the wine will end up with preservatives in it- i woould check on that last fact. good luck

StCirq Sep 7th, 2007 04:00 PM


I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that the state laws dictate what wines can be shipped into the state, nothing to do with you arriving at an airport with wine. The importation laws are complex, and I sincerely doubt any Customs or Dept. of Ag. employeed could be expected to be at the ready to determine which of the let's say 15 bottles of wine you're bringing back can be allowed into the state you're returning to. Not to mention, you could fly into one state and reside in another. It would just be too complicated. I'm pretty sure those state laws have to do with import shipments, not hand-carried wine.

ekscrunchy Sep 7th, 2007 04:17 PM

I don't know, either! But I did run afoul of the laws in Texas once..that was the time they made me dump out all the bottles on the ground at the border!!! (I am embarassed to tell you that it was Kahlua in the bottles!!) I can't imagine the airport guys are sticklers when it comes to bottles of wine but then, I really don't know...

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