limit on wine?

Jan 5th, 2004, 12:37 PM
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limit on wine?

I plan on bringing back some french wine, is there a limit on the amount that i am allowed to bring back into the US? Also do you think it would be safe to mail a few bottels of wine (2-3) back to the us with out them breaking? I know the us postal service can be very harsh on packages, but how about france.
illusion321 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 12:45 PM
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US Post Office rules prohibit mailing wine.

Now for the good news...although you should be paying duty on the wine or alcohol that you bring back with you (over the 1 liter limit), customs doesn't charge it.

That is my experience on two trips and the experience of everyone else I have asked.

Keith is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 02:19 PM
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The real limit on wine is not set by Customs. Wime duties are minimal. The limit really comes from the fact that a bottle of wine is heavy (about 3 pounds), physically fragile, and the contents are subject to deterioration from the extremes of temperature and vibration during a flight. This really rules out trying to bring back rarities, as the risk to the wine is too high, and why waste effort on Chateau Plonk Cheapo? On the other hand, if I found a great undervalued young Burgundy from a small producer that would never get to the good ol' US of A, I would wrap it in bubblewrap and take it in my carryon. Otherwise, drink it there and bring back the label.
AJPeabody is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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We usually bring back 4 to6 bottles of something that's taken our fancy while in France, carefully wrapped and taped in bubble pack, sealed in at least one plastic bag, and then carried on board in a hard-side small suitcase stuffed with dirty (or clean) clothes. So far that's worked fine. Customs and Agriculture used to be interested in alcohol, but these days they're out for drugs and don't seem to care much about bottles of wine. Your state, on the other hand, just might; depends on where you clear customs, to some extent.

I don't know that you can send wine to the U.S., however, as that is reserved for people with importers' licenses.
Underhill is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 03:33 PM
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I've brought back as much as a case at a time without much interest from Customs. As Underhill suggests, bubble wrap is a great idea. In addition to any other problems with shipping, it can be comparatively costly.
Flyboy is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 03:47 PM
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I think that Keith is wrong. The USPS has no rule about shipping wine thatapply nationide, though it almost aurely dos help enforce the rules by the entities inwhose jurisidiction this falls: the Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Every state has one, and they have rules that apply to driving across state lines (people break these left and right every day), mailing from one state to another (US wineries are very up on this), or from outside the US to your state.

There are well-known (though rare?) occurrences of state ABC officials confiscating wine or other alcoholic beverages from arriving airline passengers - - but I don't know if they are simply urban legend or not.

The practical experience of many herre, including myself is that bringing in 12-24 bottles is no problem, and customs oficials may or may not take any interest in your paying the (minuscule) duty you owe.

I've brough these quantities, almost always in checked luggage.

See the Wine Spectator article cited in this old post:

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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We brought back 6 bottles of liquor, ranging from wine to armagnac. I wrapped each bottle in a T-shirt, put all six in a large plastic bag which I then wrapped with duct tape, and then put this package in a filet, tying the top with a string so that it would not fall off each time I put it down. That worked fine as carry on. I was not even asked about it by customs.
Michael is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 05:09 PM
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Michael, another excellent use for duct tape! I thank you all for this post because I surely would have forgotten my bubblewrap!

We usually stock up on liquor etc in the duty free shops in Shannon. Does CDG have a duty free shop? Would I just be better off to bring home a couple (or few!) bottles of something we find in Paris?
allisonm is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 05:12 PM
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maybe another dumb question, but this is my first trip to europe, they do sell bubble wrap in europe right? I cant picture paris having a walmart.
illusion321 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 05:26 PM
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I've found it in office supply stores -- but I always put a couple of pieces laid out flat in my luggage. It weighs practically nothing and will free up space for other things you'd like to bring back.
carrolldf is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 05:30 PM
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Rex is right about each state having their own rules. My cousin lives in Cincinnati and is in several wine of the month clubs and the wines are shipped to him. I live in Kentucky and you are not allowed to have wine shipped. Be aware that the Cincinnati airport is in Kentucky which may or may not cause problems with bringing in any kind of alcohol. I have brought some in before but customs didn't seem interested in anything except having the drug dogs sniff your luggage.
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 05:31 PM
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I haven't seen Walmart in Paris but I did see Walmart in Germany.
kybourbon is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 06:51 PM
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i just returned from germany last month...we brought a case of wine back with us...checked it as a piece of luggage and we had one change of planes en route---british air...

the exterior box was a normal heavy duty box, but inside there was styrofoam modules...each layer held 3 bottles...the indentations in the styrofoam were roughly the shape of individual bottles, thus each bottle had its own compartment...the package was in perfect shape upon arrival in boston...
this was purchased from a very small vitner on the mosel and she told us that she ships wine by post all the time within germany and never has had a problem...
by the way the bottles laid flat in the box...

i told the customs man that i had 14 bottles of wine (i had two more in my carry-on...he asked for the total price, which was under $100 and he said "have a nice day"....
usually i pay a small tarriff when bringing more than 2 bottles of wine...

i would not post it myself...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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They make sturdy wine containers so you can check it as baggage.

I usually carry my wine in a 22" roller carryon. It fits nicely in the overhead bin. The only problem with that would be the weight restrictions for overseas flights. Going to Europe, I've had no problems. Coming back it is around 10-15 lbs. I had to check a piece of my carryon once.

The customs duty for still wine is minimal, unlike spirits; that's why they won't really bother you for bringing back a case or two.

Never tried to mail wine -- I would think with the weight that it would be expensive.
Budman is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 05:03 AM
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422.11 Intoxicating Liquors
Intoxicating liquors having 0.5 percent or more alcoholic content are nonmailable. This includes taxable liquors with 3.2 percent or less alcohol, as well as those obtained under a prescription or as a collector's item. The prohibition of the mailing of intoxicating liquors is contained in federal law (18 U.S.C. 1716).

Keith is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 05:08 AM
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I stand corrected, and I apologize for calling your assertion wrong, Keith.
rex is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 05:13 AM
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Rex is correct. Since this is the case in several states you need to check the laws in yours. We live in Florida and when we were in Napa we found out we could not ship here.
Jayne11159 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 05:23 AM
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I've brought back wine and spirits from Italy, Spain and France as well as lots of duty free stuff. I've never had a problem although I've always done it in my carry-on. I always itemize it on my customs form and have never had anyone say a word.

Due to the weight and hassles of carrying all those bottles I only bring back rare or obscure stuff I can't get in the states (eau-de-vie, boutique grappas, older vintages, magnums, etc.) I've been in wine shops in Florence which have a larger inventory of some wines than my state (NC) has allocated for an entire year.

Buy the good stuff, treat it carefully and make sure you let it sit a few weeks once you get back to counteract the effects of the traveling.

One caveat, I've found that the perfect bottle we had overlooking the Loire River never quite tastes as great at home. It must be a location thing!

BDM is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 05:40 AM
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In Maryland it is a FELONY to ship wine directly to a consumer.

Although I have a wine cellar(and bring back wine from California) I chose to bring back olive oils from our last trip to Italy. It was definitely the right choice.
Dick is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 06:31 AM
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Keith is indeed correct. State Liquor Laws and U.S. Postal regulations are two different things. Years ago I illegally mailed some bottles of a favorite wine from the St. Helena area here in California to a friend in Texas. When he called to thank me, after I said hello, he replied "It's me in Corpus Christi and the Feds are here." Fortunately he was kidding, but obviously what I did (and luckily got by with) is not permitted.
Giovanna is offline  

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