If you are a wine lover, taking a few wine excursions to the countryside should be at the top of your list for your holiday in Catalonia.
We hope you packed light, booked three different wine day trips (with us, of course!), and are all set to try all the Priorat wine and Clàssic Penedès cavas that you will taste around here!
But you have to make sure you know: How much wine can you bring home, in case you love a bottle (highly probable)? Or will you be forced to drink it all there?
Fear no more: to help you to plan your trip – and enjoy it even more –, we’ve prepared this detailed guide to bring wine from Spain to the United States.
What are my options to bring wine bottles to the U.S.?
There are two ways: shipping your bottles, or packing it in your bags and flying with them.
The laws to control the shipment of beverage alcohol products are under State regulations, and thirteen states would prohibit direct importation. Also, make sure to confirm if the winery you are buying from bought a reciprocal license to ship out of state, as most states require this.
Normally, wineries are able to arrange the shipping of your purchased bottles directly to your address in the States, but it is best for you to know the regulations in advance. We have heard stories of travelers who ended up receiving an empty box, as the bottles got taken away by the intermediaries. And mind the weather! You don’t want your fabulous wine bottles waiting unprotected in hot temperatures.
You might have read online that the U.S. allows travelers to bring one liter per person. That is partly true: one litter per person is a maximum that a traveler can enter with into the U.S. duty-free, but additional quantities will not be a problem if you declare your bottles and subject them to duty and Federal excise taxes. This is definitely the best option since the taxes are super cheap and you would pay more or less than $1 per bottle!
There is no Federal limit on the amount of alcohol a traveler may import into the U.S. for personal use, but you should be careful to not raise any suspicions about commercial purposes. You can check the official recommendations in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s website.
Also, you should make sure to check your Airline’s restrictions.
Your bottles will be in your checked luggage.
You will not be able to bring them with you in your carry-on.
Wine bottles break.
You need to protect them in order to avoid a wet suitcase, stained clothes, and a wine-covered floor. You will want to buy a wineskin ($15, easily found in any winery or wine shop). Or, if you are a serious wine lover, consider getting yourself a wine suitcase ($150-500). The Styrofoam material inside those cases allows baggage handlers to do their worst, with no consequence to the bottles inside it.
Declare your bottles.
Write on the “Things to Declare” form that you have X bottles of wine and that you want to declare them. The chance of having the officers waving your duties is high – and if they don’t, the tax prices are about $1 per bottle. Much better, and cheaper, than paying import fines.
Google your wine before buying it.
It would make no sense to fly with a bottle that you can find easily in your city. Unless it is a lot cheaper here or you loved it so much that just can’t take the risk!
Want to discover the fantastic Catalan wines? Join our day trips!