Taking wine home from France

Old May 3rd, 2015, 07:12 PM
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Taking wine home from France

While in France We are planning to visit some wineries but more towards the end of our trip. So, we would not have time to drink much of the wine that we buy. Are we able to take wine back to the US? If so, is it best just to put it in our checked bag with bubble wrap?
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 08:04 PM
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You can bring back (into the USA) 1 liter of alcoholic beverages (providing you are a US citizen) tax exempt.

I take bottles of wine from the US to Europe and beyond when I travel (I live in a CA wine area). I use "wine skins". Vinyl shaped like a bottle of wine has bubble wrap inside. They can be purchased at most wine stores. I reuse them. I pack the wine in the middle of my clothes. I have never had a problem with leakage. Be sure to take into account the weight of the wine because of baggage weight limits.

You must pack bottles of wine in your checked luggage as most airports have the same TSA rules we have in the US.

I leave Tuesday for Scandinavia and have several bottles of wine in my checked bag. I will end up in Spain and will not doubt bring home a bottle or two of Spanish wine.

Have fun!
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 08:21 PM
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http://traveltips.usatoday.com/air-t...les-11206.html

How about just having the winery ship it for you?
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 11:10 PM
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As the first reply indicated, you can bring in 1 liter tax free. What that means is that you can bring back as much wine as you want, but you may (see below) be on the hook for import duties for the amounts over your allowable duty-free limit.

When you fill out the customs card before you enter the U.S., indicate how many bottles of wine you are bringing back. Be sure to declare it and chances are pretty good that you will be waived through because it is not worth the official's time to fill out paperwork on a $20 duty. As someone who frequently travels between Europe and the U.S. and who flies with as much checked alcohol as possible, customs doesn't care about your 8-12 bottles of wine you are bringing back -- they are more concerned about the jewelry and fashion items you are bringing back. Nevertheless, you should still declare it.

From a purely logistical standpoint, you want to make sure that your bags are not overweight and the wine is packed well. What this means in practical terms is that each bottle is wrapped in a piece of clothing and it is impossible for glass to touch glass and a layer of clothing between the wrapped bottle and inner surface of your luggage. You can use those special wine bags with the bubble wrap but I feel that the bottles are protected just as well by a pair of pants.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 02:57 AM
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It is rarely worth the trouble or expense to ship and it depends on your state's alcohol rules. Bring what you want in your checked luggage.
If you have to pay duty it would be nominal, IMO
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Old May 4th, 2015, 04:11 AM
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Thanks, once we traveled in Australia's Margaret River we were able to purchase wine from the different wineries and then they had some deal that it shipped free ( but that was only to ship in Australia).
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Old May 4th, 2015, 09:21 AM
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I once witnessed how a suitcase fell from the conveyor belt when loading the plane. The drop was about 10 meters. The workers put the suitcase again on the belt and it fell down from exactly the same spot a second time. No bottle would have survived these two drops with whatever wrapping.

BTW, a friend of mine once wrecked his garments in a whole suitcase because he had a bottle of wine in the suitcase, of course, properly wrapped.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 10:11 AM
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The import duties are minimum, and seldom bothered with by US Customs.

You can purchase a shipping box at a French post office, one that they use to mail wine within France, and take your wine as checked luggage, as long as you don't have to pay for extra luggage. They should have one for up to 9 bottles.

"I take bottles of wine from the US to Europe and beyond when I travel (I live in a CA wine area)." Isn't that like taking hamburger to a steak dinner?
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Old May 4th, 2015, 11:05 AM
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"I take bottles of wine from the US to Europe and beyond when I travel (I live in a CA wine area)." Isn't that like taking hamburger to a steak dinner?>

No - and why do you think hypermarches like Carrefour in France sell more and more California wines?

The idea that a California wine ain't up to French snuff is so so passe - blind tasting tests have proven that. One time California like Italy produced mainly generic type wines but starting quite a few years ago developed the exact same varieties French wines may have - indeed when the French wine industry was nearly wiped out before Pasteur came to its aid nearly all vineyards in France died out and voila where did the new replacement vines comes from - California!

A good California or even Washington wine may be well-received by a French vinophile IME.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 11:12 AM
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The duty on excess wine is ridiculously low. It is even quite low on hard liquor.

People seem to imagine that they will pay a fortune for some reason.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 11:44 AM
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Yes, there are some excellent California wines, mostly found in the area from Paso Robles to Santa Barbara, but outside of a some exceptions (Zaca Mesa, Tablas Creek and Halter Ranch being just three) many of them tend to be on the stronger side, 15% or more. Great for that big beefy meal in the evening or a lazy Sunday afternoon, but not for lunch during the week when I want something a little fresher and lighter.

A lot of Washington State red wines tend to be lighter and they do produce some excellent Chardonnays, but overall, I have found few California or Washington wines that can match an excellent Bordeaux, Rioja, Navarran, Ribera del Duero, Priorat or Douro wine. And they produce nothing to compare with a Rias Baixas Albarino, or one of the excellent Txakolina from Getaria and Bakio.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 11:57 AM
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Oh for yourself I understand I thought to give to some French folks who may like the novlety or a Californian or Washington State - but no I would never take any wine to France - like taking coal to Newcastle as they say. Sorry I mistook what you were saying - that California has no decent wine - it does and some of the Cabernet Sauvignons again have done well against French wines in blind tastings I believe (not a wine snob at all just what I read).
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Old May 4th, 2015, 12:32 PM
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You might look at the pinot noirs of the northwest!! LOL
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Old May 4th, 2015, 12:43 PM
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My French grandfather thought that California Chablis was better than French Chablis and he was one of the greatest chauvinists ever born on this planet. (Of course he visited California in 1969 and died in 1973, so things may have evolved since then.)
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Old May 4th, 2015, 01:18 PM
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Strange, comparing California zinfandel to Bordeaux and finding it lacking. Rather like comparing an apple and an orange The Bordeaux varietals of California--cabernet sauvignon, merlot and so on--would surely make for a fairer comparison.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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Depends on where in Europe or the world I am traveling as to if I take wine. Most of this trip will be in Scandinavia. I don't think they have too many local wines! When I traveled to Kenya, yea, I took a few bottles. Traveling to Turkey, yes. Traveling to Australia, no. South Africa, no. By the time I arrive in Spain, my wine bottles will be gone and I will be tasting Spanish wines. I have already made reservations to visit a few Spanish Bodegas for tasting.

I might add that the bottles I take are from small wineries that I know the owners and visit them frequently. Most of them you can not purchase outside of Northern California. I usually take one bottle from a winery that will replace my $50 bottle of wine for free if I post on Facebook a photo of the bottle (and me) in a far off destination.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 02:12 PM
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Note that a bottle of wine is almost 3 pounds. You hit your weight limit fairly quickly these days. And even if carefully wrapped, one cork that fails due to air pressure changes and your clothes are ruined.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 02:17 PM
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Well, that's really what those wine skins are for: to contain the liquid should the bottle break. A couple of ziplocs would achieve the same thing. Anyway, the OP doesn't say if he's planning to bring back a couple of bottles or a couple of cases or what.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 07:09 PM
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No idea what I will bring back yet but now understand my options.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 09:34 PM
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Taking along a few large zip locks bags (one for each bottle) is a great idea, NewbE.
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