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julies May 15th, 2005 10:16 AM

How much wine can I bring back to the US?
We (my husband and I) always tuck a couple bottle in our suitcases with no problems. But, could I bring back a case if I wanted to? What has your experience been?

rdkr May 15th, 2005 10:24 AM

If you do not mind paying customs.
Your best bet would be to ship it home.Lots of places where you buy wine ( Estates,etc) will arrange this for you.

ira May 15th, 2005 10:32 AM

Hi J,

You are allowed 1L pp duty free.

Since the duty on wine was reduced to about 10%, US Customs doesn't care anymore.

If you want to bring back a case, just declare it. They might not even collect the duty.


Eleni May 15th, 2005 10:43 AM

Here's the rules from US customs (assuming you are a US resident):

Scroll down the page until you get to the alcoholic beverages section. The short answer to your question is that you can definitely bring in a case, but you will need to pay duty on anything over one liter a person. I have happily paid the duty for special wine not available in the US and carried it back with me. When I carry the wine as baggage, I've made sure to find a case with styrofoam or corrugated inserts to protect against breakage.

I have also shipped wine, but it is more expensive than just carrying it with you. I've shipped when I have too many bags and the excess baggage fees exceed the cost of shipping.

Budman May 15th, 2005 11:40 AM

I carried 20 bottles back from Italy on my last trip. 12 carefully packed in styrofoam/cardboard as a piece of my my checked baggage (you are allowed 2 ckecked bags -- one was a case of wine).

I carried the other 8 bottles on board in my carry-on. Got waived thru customs. The duty on wine is very inexpensive, and it's probably more costly in time and paperwork than it's worth. ((b))

ira May 15th, 2005 11:46 AM

>The duty on wine is very inexpensive, and it's probably more costly in time and paperwork than it's worth. <

But it was not always so. Back in the early eighties we returned on a 747 to EWR. Everyone's luggage was opened and checked.

After 20 min of examination, I was handed a slip of paper by the Customs Agent with orders to take it to the cashier down the hall.

After 20 min of waiting, I paid less than $2 duty.

We weren't allowed to repack our bags until I showed up with the receipt.


Budman May 15th, 2005 12:09 PM

I guess your case is one of the few exceptions rather than the normal rule. I have never seen a case where everyone's luggage on a particular flight was searched. ((b))

julies May 15th, 2005 12:11 PM

Thanks all. I really didn't want to go through the expense of using a shipper. Since we usually travel with one suitcase a person, we thought we could maybe ship a box of wine.

Budman May 15th, 2005 12:14 PM

Yes, ship it with your checked baggage. ((b))

billy_boy May 15th, 2005 12:16 PM

Makes me wonder, too, about how and why everyone's luggage was searched.

I've declared wines ranging from 2 to 18 bottles before and I was just waved through.

Although, I stopped bringing any more than a couple of bottles nowadays as, more often than not, I am able to source the wines when I'm home for reasonable prices and without the hassle of the additional bulk and weight when travelling.

Budman May 15th, 2005 12:40 PM

billy_boy, ira's case appeared to be a one-time incident that happened over 20 years ago, according to him. ((b))

AGM_Cape_Cod May 15th, 2005 01:02 PM

Our last trip to France we brought 14 bottles of wines, liqueurs and Armagnac. I dutifully noted each on the declaration sheet. We had two 6-bottle cases-one we checked with our baggage and the other we carried on. We didn't get stopped or even questioned about our haul.
When we were in Beaune in June 2001 we shipped 2 cases of high end Burgundy wine home through Patriache. They paid the shipping and we were called when they arrived in Boston. My husband went up and expected to pay alot for the duty. It turned out to be less than $2 per bottle. The duty officer commented on what a nice selection we had so it wasn't as if they were ignorant as to the value. T
he only caveat to all this is what state you are arriving in since some do not allow their residents to import wine. I know California is one of those states.

Robert2533 May 15th, 2005 01:05 PM

The rules for bringing back wine, etc. duty free is still limited to 1 liter per person (adults only), but customs generally ignores a few extra bottles. We have taken up to six bottles in checked luggage, in a French Postal Service cardboard box specially designed for shipping wine through the mail, and taken a few more bottles as carry on. Just remember to acknowledge on the declarations form the value of what you're bringing back.

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