Wine: you CAN take it with you when you go!

How much wine can you bring back from your foreign travels? More than I thought, it turns out.

I just got back from a great couple of weeks in France, first at Vinexpo, and then with my family. Of course, we found lots of great wines to drink while we were there and even bought too much, and were forced to bring some back.

But I was apparently mistaken about the limit on just how much we could bring back–I thought we were allowed only one liter each, so we were forced to drink almost all the wines we got while we were there. I’ve written up one already — more notes forthcoming.

It turns out that all that guzzling might have been avoided if I had studied up on the US rules first. Customs and Border Protection limits you to one liter of alcohol free of tax. But beyond the one liter, the useful “Know before you go” Customs pamphlet elaborates that “Federal regulations allow you to bring back more than one liter of alcoholic beverage for personal use, but, as with extra tobacco, you will have to pay duty and Internal Revenue Service tax.”

While they don’t mention the IRS tax rate, anyone care to guess what the Customs duty is? Three percent! That’s it!

Despite the inconvenience of traveling with wine, us wine geeks can revel in bringing back wines that are not commercially imported to the US or are much less expensive overseas! Consider these examples:

I went to one winery and tasted a wine for 10 euros. Later I found the wine online for $30 in the US (plus sales tax and/or shipping). This wine would be a great one to bring back.

Or let’s say you find a 1999 red Burgundy at a store in Paris that sells for $60 there versus $125 at home (such a find is possible according to one of my friends). One case of this wine is nine liters so that means eight liters are taxable–though traveling with a spouse could bring that down to seven–or about 11 bottles, or $660. The duty? $19.80. I’ve paid more than that in corkage fees at restaurants!

Furthermore, some of the more savvy wine retailers may even offer the tax rebate forms for purchases over a certain amount. In that case, our case of red Burgundy falls by about 20 percent in price after the VAT is reimbursed at the airport. It just keeps getting better!

Some other considerations:

Your port of entry in the US may be in a state that levies additional taxes or even limits “imports.” Check here for contact info for state agencies.

Airlines may have weight restrictions imposed on coach class baggage, usually two bags at 50 pounds each. I’ve checked wine as baggage and had no problem with a case weighing 40 pounds.

You’re only allowed one liter free of tax every thirty days.

“Unusual quantities” are likely to raise eyebrows according to the Customs pamphlet.

Bonne chance! Hit the comments with your experiences or wines that would be on your list to pick up.

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92 Responses to “Wine: you CAN take it with you when you go!”

  1. Would it be possible to go to the post office near where you’re vacationing and ship the case of wine to yourself back in the states? Would that cost more than trying to bring a case back with you?

  2. Hi Pattie,

    People have told me that they’ve been successful in doing that before. In that Customs pamphlet, however, it states on page 18 that “Federal law prohibits shipping alcoholic beverages by mail in the United States.” Key phrase: “by mail,” as in US Postal Service. Perhaps a private carrier would be ok. I’m sure somewhere on there’s some relevant material…


  3. Also note that even if you have (somewhat) more than 1 liter, the customs agents may not bother to collect the duty. I’ve declared 3 or 4 bottles, and they have not collected the duty. I guess it’s not worth the agent’s time to do the paperwork for small amounts.

  4. Coming back into the U.S. from Canada, I have been able to take back almost two cases of wine without paying any duty. I was told by a friend in customs to claim it as speciality wine. The duty is only supposed to be like 25 cents a bottle so usually the customs guys won’t bother with the paperwork.

  5. The clearly-stated policy in New Zealand (for returning NZers is that Customs can’t be bothered with duties that are less than NZD50 (USD38), although you have to tell them about it. Nearly everything is only subject to 12.5% GST(VAT). So you just push the cart through the ‘to declare’ lane, and say ‘I’ve got 12 bottles of wine’ (this only works up to a certain value of wine of course). If they were feeling particularly bored they might enquire has to the wine’s price, but they seem to generally smile and wave you through.
    Most people use this provision to get 3 1litre bottles of spirits (purchased on arrival).

  6. OK…Here’s a curve ball. I am going to Italy in the fall but I am coming back through Canada. I am only spending at most one night in Canada, but more than likely just changing planes in Toronto.

    To whom do I pay duty and will I have to pay twice?

  7. Ah, but what about new restrictions on carry on liquids for US-bound or US-originating flights? Or is this all checked baggage, and, if so, how does one pack wine without fear of breakage? And what about wine at the duty free?

  8. USPS will not accept and deliver alcohol from abroad and within the States.
    UPS and every other private carrier will but they are very expensive ($ 150/200 per case shipped from Italy) you can also have wine shipped from abroad with UPS as gift.
    Buona Bevuta a Tutti

  9. Thanks for the update from NZ, Erroll!

    awineguy– Ooh, a doozie. I think you’re right though–if you clear Canadian customs you have to abide by their regs on wine imports and then the US as well. However, if you are just a transit passenger in Toronto, I’d imagine that it’s only the US regs that apply. We’ll see if we can get a travel expert in here to comment!

    amechad – yes, wine can only be placed in checked luggage. I’ve checked wine in the hold before in a Styrofoam shipper (see photo above) but coming back from France I did the old “dirty laundry in the suitcase” trick. Worked find.

    Thanks, Gabrio!

  10. Rather than ship or mail your wine back, ship or mail your luggage – you’re through with it anyway…:)

  11. el jefe – I like your style…

  12. Duh! Of course you can. The import duty isn’t the problem (and has always been waived for us) – it’s lugging the wine around until the airport and getting it back undamaged.

    My friend Derrick (Obsession with Food) brought two 12-bottle standard styrofoam/cardboard boxes to Provence last Summer and he and a relative each came back with 12 bottles.

  13. Lugging the wine around the airport isn’t so bad (that’s what carts are for) — yet another reason to fly biz class wo luggage weight restrictions!! 😉

    Booyah–party at Derrick’s house!

  14. I didn´t know that, Thanks a lot for this infomation ji ji

  15. I “smuggled” a case back from the Loire 2 years ago, but I took only 3 bottles home last year from Burgundy. I was afraid to check wine because I watch the baggage handlers throwing luggage around, and just watching can give you a concussion. I was afraid to bring more in my suitcases because liquids are not allowed on planes. Seems like Jack’s styrofoam idea is best, or just shipping the wine.

  16. awineguy:
    If you are spending the night in Toronto, you’ll 99.9% likely have to clear customs. In which case Canadian import rules will apply. If you are just changing planes at Toronto, then … it depends.

    From the Great Toronto Airports Authority: International to US flights require BOTH Canadian (CBSA) and American (CBP) inspection and declaration, but there are exceptions: “Some International to U.S. connecting flights at Terminal 1 do not require passengers to clear CBSA before clearing US CBP inspection.”

    Call your airline to see if you will be required to claim your checked bags and recheck them, or if you’ll be able to simply check your bags through to their final destination without going through Customs in Toronto.

    “Duh” ?? Obviously not “duh” for most people, considering the range of comments in this thread. Travel industry folks, such as airline personnel, tend to use shorthand and refer to “limits” on alcohol (or cigarettes, or whatever) when actually describing duty-free limits. It’s not always obvious to the lay person.

    – Mark Ashley
    Upgrade: Travel Better

  17. I live in Japan and the duty is flat rate about 150 yen per bottle (a little over US$1, and it always works out to be some repeating decimal per bottle for some reason)

    I’ve done a maximum of 36 bottles from France once but I had my wife and minor daughter to help with the sherpa duty. Still have a few bottles left.

    I used to hand carry it but that approach is now out of the question. I bought a hard sided strong suitcase — which cannot be locked, so I strap it shut with one of those belts. In side I put a cardboard wine box cut to size and re-constructed with tape. I pack socks and tea shirts about the necks; the goal it to prevent the bottles moving inside the suitcase.

    So far, after more than a dozen trips, I’ve only lost one bottle to breakage — and that was when the airline insisted I use their box. So they paid for it. It broke because my box could move around inside their box, and we hit some turbulence.

    On the trip back from France, we stopped for a few days to visit friends in Finland, a high tax strict alcohol country. I wrote in advance to their customs department and was advised to declare the wine and ask them to hold it in customs bond until I left the country. I printed a copy of their letter and showed to the custom’s agent. He said he would trust me to export it all and let me in without any paper work. It might have helped that we arrived in the middle of the night.


  18. I’ve found, as a rule, that however much you can comfortably carry back (one case is usually my limit to drag around – two if I were to take el jefe’s advice), the Customs folks won’t bother with the collection of either the duty or the IRS excise tax, which comes out to be @20 cents p/ 750ml bottle for wines under 14%, and @30 cents p/btl for wines between 14-21% (still wines only – they will collect on sparkling wines, since the excise is considerably higher). One word of caution, though – if you tick the inspector off, or if (s)he got up on the wrong side of the bed, you will spend enough time in Customs filling out the paperwork to miss close connections. I believe that a smile and good word will often overcome a bad mood. Happy trails….

  19. Thanks, all, for these tips! Great stuff!

  20. I shipped a case of odds and ends from Napa, checked it, absolutely no problem. Unfortunately, the Canadian government takes MUCH MUCH more than 3% – I will never do that again. Can I ship it to you in NYC? I promise to pick them up, two bottles at a time (tax free here), over the next year.

  21. […] a reminder from Upgrade: Travel Better contributor Tyler Colman on the rules regarding duty-free limits on wine (or other alcohol, for that matter.) Very often, airport and airline staff unfortunately […]

  22. For comparison’s sake, the authorities in British Columbia charge duties of 110% on the actual value on anything over 2 bottles (1.5 litres) of wine…

    Usually declaring 3 or 4, the customs officer won’t bother with the taxes, but it’s still very risky! Imagine bringing back 12 bottles from Napa @ avg. $50/piece, and then paying $660 in taxes upon arrival in Canada.

  23. Whoa! Heavy duty! (Sorry couldn’t resist the pun)

    Wow, duty and excise rates clearly vary significantly from country to country (Norway anyone?) and it seems like the US is at low end by international comparison (though NZ, as evidenced by Errol above, may be the most wine geek friendly).

  24. Matt/Tyler – I made exactly that mistake last year, and I think the province of Quebec is even more unfriendly than B.C. Never again.

  25. I was coming back to NY from South America once and they let you purchase wine on the Airport Duty Free Store. They hand it to you at the door right before you board the plane. What they forget to tell you is that if you have a connecting flight in Central America, you will have to drink that bottle prior to boarding the connecting flight! Unless you want to dump it, of course. Yes, no bottles are allowed in carry-on bags unless they were purchased on the duty free store of the airport where you are departing from, in this case, it was Central America. That really sucked!

  26. What would duty be on bringing wine into Canada from the US ?? Is there a limit ?? How often can one do it ???

  27. From Canada Border Services:

    Alcoholic beverages

    You are allowed to import only one of the following amounts of alcohol free of duty and taxes:

    * 1.5 litres (53 imperial ounces) of wine;
    * 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of liquor;
    * a total of 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of wine and liquor; or
    * 24 x 355 millilitre (12 ounces) cans or bottles (maximum of 8.5 litres) of beer or ale.


    We classify “cooler” products according to the alcoholic beverage they contain. For example, beer coolers are considered to be beer, wine coolers are considered to be wine. We do not consider beer and wine products not exceeding 0.5% alcohol by volume to be alcoholic beverages.

    You can bring in more than the free allowance of alcohol except in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. However, the quantities must be within the limit set by the province or territory where you will enter Canada. If the value of the goods is more than the free allowance, you will have to pay both customs and provincial or territorial assessments. For more information, check with the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor control authority before coming to Canada.

  28. We are traveling in France and I bought 12 bottles from a winery (they were very cheap in comparison to the quality – I couldn’t resist). I am hoping to bring them with me to London. From what I am reading do you think the best bet is to pack all the mini boxes together (there are 4 in a case) and use it as one of my checked luggage? Will all airlines do that? Will they be careful with it? If I ask at the information desk, do they have boxes that I should use?

    I would love to bring some of this great wine back with me. Please let me know if anyone has any suggestions!

    -Nicole 🙂

  29. Guess I was lucky. My wife and I just returned from Tuscany and I packed a mixed case of Brunello’s (small producers that don’t export). We declared the wine and went straight through Customs.

  30. Doug,

    Fantastic! Which was your port of entry into the US?

  31. I would also be interested in which port of entry into the us? I am flying through atl from italy soon and I want to bring some wine back with me. I am already bringing a pet so I do not want too much added hassle from customs since the layover is not very long. any recomendations of wines to bring back from the Veneto region of Italy?

  32. Hi Dr. Vino: I wrote to you earlier regarding my trip to France in 3 weeks. I just discovered the salon des vin et Vignerons Indepedents will take place in Lille during my visit, I i’m planing on making the trip. My question for you (or anyone else who might know)is: do you think I can find styrofoam carriers there or should I plan to bring my own from the US? Thanks, Ed

  33. Ed, I’m not sure. Perhaps contact that Salon organizers for a local reference? It would be a pain to take those empty boxes all the way there.

  34. I thought this might be of interest. Found on MLCC website –

    Provincial fees on imported liquor.

    Where an individual brings into Manitoba from any place outside Canada, more liquor than is permitted to be imported into Canada free of duty and tax under any Act of the Parliament of Canada, the fees payable to the commission are as follows:

    spirits ……………….. $0.40 per ounce;
    sparkling wine and champagne $0.16 per ounce;
    other wine ………………$0.12 per ounce;
    cooler and cider ……….. $0.08 per ounce;
    beer ………………….. $0.04 per ounce.

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  37. Don’t forget that you can claim VAT and tax when you export from the country of purchase. Most shops allow this for spends of GBP 100, EUR 150 – just get a VAT Reclaim receipt.
    As an example – I buy EUR 1000 of wine in France, paying 19.5% VAT. I then claim my 19.5% back – 195 EUR and pay import duty (I happen to live in Switzerland – 7.5% applies) – 75 EUR is paid. Net result – my 1000 EUR wine costs 880 EUR.

  38. I need help.. im 18 and need to know if i can take beer back with me from germany

  39. Hi Devin –

    I would imagine that you fall in a bit of a gray area–legally allowed to drink in Germany, but not in the US. Therefore I’d say you have to respect the laws where you are and it would be illegal for you to bring wine to the US. But it is a gray area since you are neither buying it nor drinking it!

    And don’t forget to have your say in the poll on the drinking age.

  40. When you fly back into the United States bringing alcohol you have to be sure to fly into states that DO NOT have STATE restrictions on alcohol (California or New York for example DO have STATE restrictions) as states do have restrictions are enforced by US CBP. Once you arrive in a state with no restrictions and pay the US customs duty on the alcohol then you can travel to any state from the state you arrived and you are protected by the US Constitution which prohits any restriction of commerce between states.

    My suggestion on packing wine which I have used many times. Put the wine bottles in a wine cardboard or wood case designed for shipping wine (wine sellers will always give you one). Then get a slightly bigger box which has at least 1 inch but not more than 2 inches on each side of space. In Europe and most of the world they use expanded polystyrene (same a foam coffee cups or cheap coolers) in big sheets 1 inch and thicker as building insulation. It is readily avaiable and cheap. Put that between the inner wine box and the outer box and you have some killer packing for cheap. Then mark the outside of the box as something undesireable. I use “Fragile Medical Samples in Glass”. This prevents the wine from being stolen by luggage workers. Enjoy!

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  43. It’s been posted above that New York state does have a restriction on the amount of wine you can bring bak. Anyone know what this amount is?

  44. I am currently in Cordoba, Argentina and am planning on returning to Chicago, IL, USA next Thursday. I have connecting flight from Cordoba, Argentina to Santiago, Chile to Miami, FL USA, to CHicago, IL, USA… and have 15 bottles of Wine… What’s going to happen? Will I be able to make it through customs in the US? Which state will check my baggage- Miami or Chicago?

  45. Yes, what is this California restriction?

    Also, I am 20 just months shy of 21 and want to bring back my Argentine wine. Do you think I can get away with 4 bottles saying they’re gifts?

  46. Here is the info on CA, still looking for info on NY state

  47. Lately I’ve been writting down in a notepad the wines I like when I travel.
    Then I buy them on the internet, sometimes at the same price!

  48. I highly recommend using the VinniBag to package your wine. It is a US-made, recyclable, and high-quality product that is leak-proof (that’s three hyphens in one sentence!). I used it recently on a trip home from Italy, and it worked like a charm. Check out photos on my blog at or visit This is a great product and so easy to use! Styrofoam is not eco-friendly, not recyclable, and not leak-proof!

  49. PS I declared “wine” on my customs slip returning from Italy, and the customs agent asked how many bottles I had. I shyly answered, “I think maybe 5? or maybe 6?” knowing that I was only allowed one bottle duty-free. He said, “No problem. You could bring back a hundred bottles!” and let me pass through without paying any duty. That was at JFK, Dec. 2009.

  50. what is the risk of carrying boxed wine in checked baggage, assuming one packs it well in a semi-hard sided but soft top case?

  51. Thank you!!! My girlfriend is coming back from France next week, and just asked me this question today. Good thing I found this post!

  52. Hi I am traveling to Australia in September and would like to take some of my wines with me, do you have any idea if I can take with me on the plane

  53. Hi, im visiting my boyfriend in philadelphia and will be taking one 70cl bottle of vodka in a gift box for him from uk. Is this likely to cause any problems as im underage (20 years old)? And do i need to declare it?

  54. Hi! I am returning from France in 10 days after living here and I wanted to bring back some Burgundy wine. My port of entry in the US is Chicago and I don’t know if there are restrictions or not. I can’t seem to get an answer from anyone and then I stumbled across your blog. It’s wonderful!!! But, I was wondering, does anyone know if there are restrictions in Chicago? Thanks, Andrea.

  55. Thanks for the post, and I also appreciated the comment my Marybeth about the vinnibag. I share her comments about styrofoam, and would prefer an alternative. I’m sure that guzzling all that wine wasn’t quite as bad as you make it sound! 😉

  56. Wineflite ships wine for the tourist. Check it out at

  57. If you travel to cognac you have to check out some smaller producer or brand for this great drink.
    I mean in the US you can find the top 4 companies and maybe some smaller for so much money. If you go to cognac you can buy a XO for the price of a VSOP. Some brand suggestion can be found here:

  58. All great info. I am in the south of France now on my honeymoon and my wife has fallen in love (as have I) with some regional wines. We are attending a wine festival in Gordes and already have a wine chosen to bring back if possible. I can maybe have the cave ship these back via ups, but I may risk the suitcase idea.

  59. I found this site to be more comprehensive and straight forward than all the government blah, blah, blah sites. But does anybody know if the rules have changed since this was written in 2007?

  60. I found this thread really helpful, but are there any updates since 2007 as David C asks?

  61. Well, my wife and I just returned from France and we had to pack our wine in the check-in luggage. The rules from 2007 still apply to carry-ons and liquids: NOTHING over the limit previously stated is allowed via carry-on unless purchased at the duty-free shops past checkin.

    They even removed a small bottle of olive-oil from my wife’s carry-on.

    In terms of getting the wine home safely, we did the whole “wrap them in dirty clothes” thing, but I took it a step further. We stopped at a local small super market and bought some very cheap dish-towels & garbage bags. I essentially wrapped the bottles in the dish-towels, then tripple bagged them with the garbage bags. I then separated my clothes into smaller bunches and wrapped them in garbage bags as well. This protected my clothes in case of a break – and all the wine survived!

    I also claimed our mere 3 bottles at customs and the officer just said: “Have a good day.” No additional duties were collected. Hope this helped a bit more!

  62. Thanks. We all have to check our bottles now. But if I check my allowance (or buy on board)and check a protected case of 12 750 ml bottles of wine, has customs duty rates changed?

    MANY years ago I came through JFK with 19 bottles. But the lady was getting off her shift and did not want to be bothered with the paperwork for a couple bucks – she had a hot date, she said. So that was free.

    But it would be nice to have a current chart, after all the government (we are told) is broke, so who knows where they are getting additional revenues.

    Happy travels.


  63. I visited FRIENDS in Mienz,Germany wine country. They GAVE me 4 bottles of wine from their own vineyards. Since I didn’t BUY it, I don’t know it’s value to declare at customs. How do I handle that?

  64. I shiped my wife back with a bottle of rose…The bottle was empty when she arrived 🙁

  65. Just a note to say that I brought back three cases of wine from Italy as checked baggage on Sept 22, 2011 with no issues. Departure airport was Milan, flight to JFK on AA. Flying award ticket business class so no luggage fees. Wine made it to JFK and onto CA with no breakage.

    Key to taking wine as checked baggage (per what I read in my research before trip) is to have wine in cardboard boxes with the styrofoam inserts — which were probably the toughest item to source in Italy in twelve bottle boxes (found lots of places with six bottles to a box, but I needed twelve to a box to keep my box count down). I was able to source the boxes with styrofoam inserts at the Bruno Dalmazio store in Montalcino (yes, 24 of the 36 bottles brought back were Brunello’s). It did cost me 6 Euros per six bottle styrofoam inserts (two six bottle inserts per twelve bottle box, 36 Euro’s for all three boxes for 36 bottles), but they wrapped each bottle of wine (including the 24 I did not buy at their store — bought 12 bottles from them), then placed it in the sleeve, added extra packing in the top of the sleeve so the bottle could not shift, then taped the top and bottom of each sleeve together, then placed two sleeves in each box, and securely taped the boxes, i.e. they knew what they were doing shipping wise because they “ship all over the world with no issues”.

    On a side note, I asked them not to seal the top of the boxes because I had read that some airlines would refuse the boxes unless they could see inside that the boxes were using styrofoam inserts. So, I get to the American Airlines check-in counter and they were not happy the boxes were not sealed. It took them about 20 minutes to find a roll of baggage tape (quite amazing when you think about it that at the baggage check in they had no baggage tape). In any event, the wine did get sealed and checked in.

    When I arrived at JFK and went thru customs I fully declared my wine and did get sent to the secondary baggage inspection area. The customs agent did have me place one of the boxes of wine up on his table and he did open it up (I actually had a fourth box with olive oils and liqueurs also declared and also opened up), and he asked two different times in two different ways whether the wine was for personal consumption — note that its unfortunately the at the customs agent discretion to determine that this is not a business transaction that would require an import permit which if this happens they seize your wine until you get the correct paperwork or convince them otherwise.

    I fully prepared to pay my 3% duty on the value of the wine, but the guy sealed back up the opened boxes and sent me on my way. So I loaded up my wine back on my luggage cart and took all the baggage to the recheck area where it was given back to AA for the flight to CA.

  66. I am a US citizen living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada while my spouse is here on a work permit. While in Canada, I have decided to try my hand at winemaking. I anticipate a move back to the US within the year, and I will have quite a bit of my wine unconsumed at that point. It is for my consumption only. Can anyone tell me what I need to do in order to take the wine back into the US when I return? Any idea on quantity limit? I will be returning via automobile. Cheers!

  67. Going to Italy.. Will go thru heathrow on return to states. I will arrive in Houston. Would love to bring back some wines from the Piemonte Region. Can I do this?

  68. Merry,
    The factors to consider are how to substantiate it is personal rather than commercial, which border crossing you use, and where your final delivery location will be.

    Wineflite specializes in wine for personal consumption.

  69. Randa,
    I was in Piemonte last May and brought back a good supply of Barolo. Wineflite specializes in wine for personal importation.

  70. Thanks!! Just went to the website! Sound ideal!!

  71. Thanks for the info! BTW, the prices for Euroean wine being mentioned are making me smile :). In Argentina for work and haven’t tasted a bad red yet, at the supermercado prices range from $3-$30 US for every Mendoza imaginable! Of course the Malbecs are the staple. Going to get my 50lbs worth for sure :). Thanks again!

  72. This site has GREAT info! Using some to get my vino home! It amazes me how WONDERFUL of a wine one can get fairly inexpensively in Italy! Who says a good wine has to cost a fortune! I never was much of a wine drinker before my trip!!
    Thanks again for all the info! Be going back in the spring of 2012.. Plan to get more home to me then, as well! Will be in the Piemonte area, again, for several months!! HEAVEN!!

  73. I just returned to the USA after a two week trip to New Zealand. I packed four bottles of wine in my checked luggage and declared it upon entry into the states. No one asked a single question about the wines or the expense, nor was there mention of any kind of tax. It was a very pleasant surprise.

  74. The WineHug is another product that can be used to transport wine in your luggage. It works like a thermarest (inflatable camping pad). I’m going to try it, but I’m going to put my wine in a waterproof bag first, just in case. I still like the VinniBag. It’s the best I’ve used so far. Links:

  75. You would have to place the wine in checked luggage now (unless purchased after customs clearance) because the liquids/aerosols/gels legislation restricts anything over 100mls.
    Going from NZ to LAX.

  76. There are some countries who are really strict with the baggage’s(weight) however for you save money on liters of wine, it is best for the wine to be shipped instead of hand carrying it.

  77. Your strategy has to work for your drinking style. While it is fun to find some really inexpensive and wonderful wines in Italy, do the math when figuring out what to bring home.

  78. Darfur, Did the airlines say that it was allowable to carry on wine for international travel or just domestic within the USA? Thank you.

  79. Generally, one liter of alcohol per person may be entered into the U.S. duty-free by travelers who are 21 or older, although travelers coming from the U.S. Virgin Islands or other Caribbean countries are entitled to more. Additional quantities may be entered, although they will be subject to duty and Federal excise taxes.

  80. Most States restrictions on the amount of alcohol that can be brought into that State apply only to residents of that State. Usually people transiting a state are not subject to those restrictions, but sometimes regulations change, and if this is a matter of utmost importance to you, you can check with the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board where you will be arriving to find out what their policies are.

  81. Duty is generally 3% of value and the IRS excise tax is generally between 21-31cents per 750ml bottle of wine, 75 cents for Champagne, and $2.75 hard liquor.

  82. As general rule of thumb (and keep in mind we have no legal authority in this matter) what we’ve heard is that whatever you can pack and bring back is fine as long as you declare it and say that it was a gift. The agents should charge an import tax in much the same way as other ‘luxury’ items you might have purchased, but they usually don’t bother when it’s below a case as the tax collected would be quite low.

  83. Wine is not subjected to the raw food ban (don’t even think of bringing back unpasteurized cheeses, jamón, prosciutto, or a lot of other fun things) so it’s really just the dollar amount that’s the issue from what we’ve heard, if the value of the wines is over a large amount (maybe $1,000) then you might have to pay an import tax as the authorities might think that it’s not for personal consumption.

  84. Hi =D

    I’m leaving for France in a week and I plan on bringing some goodies and wines back with me to California and I was wondering what I had to do on my way back when I take the wines and goodies back. Do I declare it? Or not? It’s probably going to be no more than 4-5 bottles of wine. I’m also 19 sp legally in the US I’m not allowed to buy it, so would this be an issue? Do I just declare the wines? Do the goodies matter? They’re just going to be like cookies and candies.
    Please and thank you!

  85. Yes, you do need to declare it on the form you fill out. No one is going to ask or check your age, so I would suspect no issue, but cannot guarentee it.

  86. […] […]

  87. I’m going to returning to Los Angeles from a trip to Italy and France in about a month. I’ve already bought 3 bottles of wine (and will probably be getting more), but haven’t been able to communicate to the sellers that I need a receipt. Assuming customs DOES ask me to fill out the paperwork and pay the duties, what do I do with no receipts? I’ve recorded all of the costs, so will that work or do they need something more legitimate?

  88. You need an inventory at the very least that includes winery, type wine, alcohol%, and value.

  89. I visit family in Austria twice a year and bring back 6 bottles of wine in my suitcase. My friend’s vinyard ships wine locally to stores in unpadded boxes of 6 bottles. I bring with me bubble wrap that has a light adhesive on one side. I wrap each bottle with a single layer and put them back in the box which then bulges out a bit. Finally I wrap tape around the box. I then “float” the box in the center of my suitcase. TSA has opened the box on occasion, but they retape it. Interestingly the wine, which comes right from the cave, is not labled. I have never had a broken bottle.

    I have never paid duty and have alway declared the wine plus the occasional bottle of schnaps. One agent said anything less than a case is OK. Living in the north I sometimes fly out of Canada. Only once was I hasseled as to whether my plans included giving the wine to someone in Canada (all I wanted after 18 hours of travel was home in the USA and bed), but in the end I did not pay duty.

  90. My experience with Wineflite was horrible. It was 3x the cost of other services I have used, and my last shipment took 3 weeks to arrive U.K. to U.S.A., the online tracking information was never updated even after it finally arrived, and they never responded to my email inquiries as to where my wine was. Too add insult to injury, after I had paid and the wine was in transit, they tried to get me to pay more for faster delivery.
    I have used Parcelforce to ship from the U.K. to U.S.A. and the wine typically arrives in just three days a 1/3 the cost of Wineflite. I will never, ever use Wineflite again.

  91. Randy,

    There are a few details that need to be clarified if you would like to give me the opportunity. I would appreciate it. Please contact me at

    Greg Mclaughlin

  92. My wife and I travel extensively for her work and always bring back 24-30 bottles. Last year we made 2 trips to Australia where great wines are relatively inexpensive. Since we fly business/first we can each check 3 bags so I designed 2 aluminum travel cases with padded inserts that safely carry 12 bottle in each. I also through in a few of those neoprene sleve carry totes for bottles going into my suitcase and have also wrapped bottles in rolled up clothes and never had any breakage. We always declare what we are bringing and I have the receipts should they want to access any duty but we have never had any CBP agent want to take the time to do that and they just wave us through!


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