Shipping Things to the US from Europe

Aug 13th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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Shipping Things to the US from Europe

We are planning a trip next spring to Europe. I would like to buy some wine in France. A friend told me that you can buy up to 8 bottles( duty free?) and the wine store owner can box them and ship them home for you. Is this true? If so how much does it cost? Also how inconvenient/convenient would it be to ship gifts back home so we don't have to carry them and are the postage rates very expensive?
ilovetulips is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 02:54 PM
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ilovetulips, you are going to get a lot of flack for not specifying "things" as "wine" in your subject. Be prepared. There have been many queries and replies on that subject here.

A "friend" is always the worst source of information on this subject. It all depends on the state where you will declare customs on your return to the USA. Some states allow zero and others have little interest in what you drink or how much or where you bought it. Alcoholic beverages are regulated by the individual States, not by the Federal government. You will pay a duty depending on how much you declare in total, if the alcohol is allowed.

I can give you several annecdotes of my episodes but they will profit you little. Telephone your home state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to get the facts that apply to you.

hopscotch is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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Hopscotch beat me to it. I was going to say the same thing.

Where I live (Georgia obviously ) no way. Atlanta is supposedly a big international city etc. - but you can forget about belonging to the "wine of the month club" LOL! (VERY BIZARRE)
FromAtlanta is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 03:55 PM
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I personally never ship home wine - it's just too cumbersome and time-consuming a process and you may end up paying more for it than you would buying it from one of those big warehouses in NYC and such that sell and ship at a discount. Better jut to enjoy plenty of it while you're traveling!

As for shipping other items home to the USA - in France, anyway, Colipost does an excellent job of getting things home quickly and inexpensively. You buy a certain size box for a fixed price, pack it up, and drop it off at a Poste. I've done this quite a few times, usually a few days before my departure for the USA, and often the stuff is there when I get home, or arrives shortly thereafter.
StCirq is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 04:00 PM
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I forgot to mention that I live in Texas and I believe that laws have recently been passed which allow wine to be shipped here. My friend has traveled to Paris in the past few years but I don't know if she has personally shipped wine back. St. Cirq, thanks for the advice. I will try the company you recommended if we buy something that is too bulky or heavy while in Europe.
ilovetulips is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 04:06 AM
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Only one liter (33.8 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages may be included in your duty-free exemption. Unlike other kinds of merchandise, any amount of alcohol beyond one liter is subject to duty at a flat rate of 3%, even if you have not exceeded, or even met, your personal duty-free exemption. For example, if your you bring back three liters of wine and nothing else, two of those liters will be dutiable. It appears that you may also have to pay a federal tax on any liquior in excess of one liter in addition to the customs duty. The US Customs site is not specific about this. You might want to contact US Customs. Take a look at the guide put together by the US Customs Services at or and click on "travel" then "Know Before You Go".

The site says that federal law prohibits shipping alcoholic beverages by mail within the United States, not sure about overseas mail and courier.
State laws may limit the amount of alcohol you can bring in without a license. If you arrive in a state that has limitations on the amount of alcohol you may bring in without a license, that state law will be enforced by Customs, even though it may be more restrictive then Federal regulations.

Cicerone is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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Check your local wine shop. Write down French wine vintages available. Note their prices. Visit departure lounge wine shops. Compare prices. Sometimes in-flight wines are available at interesting prices. Note bottle quantities. EU regulations have changed.
GSteed is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 05:55 AM
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Just to clarify, Colipost is not a company, it's a service offered by the French postal system. You buy the boxes at the Post Office and pack them yourself, along with the requisite paperwork.
StCirq is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 07:21 AM
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Many retailers are happy to ship for you. You will not be charged the VAT (easier than claiming a refund). Over the years I have had a Hans Wegner table, a desk, dining chairs, a potrack and various other items including books shipped.

I would never bother shipping wine because I have excellent sources locally with whom I've built a good relationship.
jsmith is offline  
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