Wine & Travel

Snooth User: zuckerman

Can I bring back wines from Italy?

Posted by zuckerman, May 12, 2009.

I'm going on a trip this summer: Italy, Slovenia (love the wine there) and Austria. I will, no doubt, fall in love with many wines. Question: am I allowed to bring wine back on the plane? Is there a limit?

Thanks in advance, all!


Reply by Greg Roberts, May 12, 2009.

You won't be able to bring wine on board of course but I haven't had any problems packing bottles in my lugage. You could also buy a secure shipping box while your there and check it.

US Customs has limitations but I've never had a problem bringing in a case or more at a time.

Reply by John Andrews, May 12, 2009.

There are a few things you need to consider:

1. What amount of wine are you allowed to bring into the US duty free.
2. What amount of wine the airline will allow you to take ... usually based on weight.
3. What are the charges if you exceed the limits

For 1, this is governed by the US Customs. By law you are able to bring one liter of alcohol into the US duty free. Anything above that is subject to duty.

For 2, most international flights will allow you to check two bags for free but check with your carrier. I would advise you to get a wine shipping box / container here in the US as I had difficulty finding them in Italy. Because of the EU it seems wineries can send anywhere in the EU easily so people do not bring wine back with them on the plane (unless purchased in duty free). Also, because you have EU flights you may have to pay for checked baggage for the 'local' EU flights.

For 3, Checked Baggage may run you as high as $25 or 25 Euro per bag. There will be additional cost if it goes over the weight limit. Next, if you go over your exemption amount on bring wine into the US you _may_ be charged duty. Now here is the fun part ... the actual duty is determined by the State and not the Federal government:

California says they will allow up to five cases of wine with no issues, whereas New York will only allow 1 case of wine. From what I have read (but can't find right now) the duty fees are based on volume and not cost of the wine. Usually it is a fee based per gallon.

Hope this helps and have a great trip.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, May 12, 2009.

I have 3 3bottle shippers in my suitcase. I'll be bringing back 9 bottle which will bring the weight of my suitcase to 49 lbs. I expect no problems. before they cracked down on weight restriction I once brought back 52 bottles in my luggage, to JFK in NYC with no problems.

Reply by zuckerman, May 14, 2009.

Cool. I was only planning on taking my backpack (thus no hard case luggage to check), so looks like I'll be coming home with nothing but memories. But that's cool, too. Maybe I can grab a label here and there.

Thanks, folks.

Reply by John Andrews, May 14, 2009.

Well, if you have a direct flight from Europe to your home city you can buy something at duty free and carry it on the plane. Not quite the same but it is the ONLY way to get a bottle of any type as carry-on on a flight.

Reply by gr, May 15, 2009.

Especially if you're backpacking, you can totally fit a couple of the 3-bottle shippers (they stack / fold / etc, usually) that Greg's talking about and just ship stuff back to yourself. That way you don't have to schlep it along the whole trip if you find a keeper or three in the first leg of the trip. There's obviously no need for express shipping: no point in its getting there before you get home!

Reply by candycigs23, May 17, 2009.

Just got back myself, backpacking as well! I encountered the same problem. A shop owner told me there was a seven bottle limit for checked bags, but if you don't want to hassle with checking, I think duty free is your best bet. Airport shops in Rome and Florence had sommeliers on hand, and a well-thought out selection. You will pay a bit more than you would on the street, but one or two bottles to keep you company through nights of remembering your journey? Worth it.

Reply by dmcker, May 18, 2009.

There's some more information in this earlier forum thread:

Reply by 4wine, May 19, 2009.

I brought 2 bottles back from Italy in my checked luggage using these reusable plastic zip bags. They are $5 at or some wine shops carry them. Enjoy Italy, lucky you! Ciao.

Reply by dmcker, May 19, 2009.

The winemummy is one of the options mentioned in that earlier thread. There are also specialized units of checkin luggage just for wine, though they will not likely be brought along on backpacking travel... ;-)

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, May 19, 2009.

I just brought back 14 bottles, packed in styro shippers in suitcases. Declared them, zero problems either in transit or customs. Planning a return visit already! Well dreaming about one at least.

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