Photos and text provided by Paul Budny, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Lazenne
While visiting the various Spanish wine regions, and tasting the excellent wines they have to offer, we frequently receive questions about what is the best way for international travelers to bring some wine home. Traveling with alcoholic beverages on the airplane tends to bring some confusion, so here is a simple overview on how to travel with your wine on the airplane.
Carry-on Not Allowed
In general, liquids in containers larger than 100 ml (3.4 oz.) cannot be transported through airport security and onto the plane and your bottles will likely be confiscated.
Alcohol in Checked Luggage Allowed With Some Restrictions
There are no TSA-regulated restrictions on placing liquids in your checked (also known as hold) baggage. Further, there is no quantity limit on alcohol with less than 24% alcohol, such as wine, Cava, or beer. A 5-liter (170 oz.) per person limit exists for beverages with alcohol content between 24% and 70%. Bottles with an alcohol content of over 70% are prohibited.
Airline checked baggage weight limits still apply, but you can go ahead and fill your entire luggage with wine if you wish. Typical international per-bag weight limits are 23 kg (50 lbs). Individual bottles typically weigh from 1.2-1.7 kg (2.7-3.7 lbs). You can purchase additional baggage allowance from your airline, while some airlines allow you to check an additional bag for free.
Duties on Alcohol
Duties are set by the country you are bringing the wine into. There is a duty-free limit that entitles you to transport a certain quantity of alcohol without any duty. Above the duty-free limit, most countries permit larger quantities of alcohol to be brought in for personal consumption but may charge some duties.
The United States, for example, allows one liter of alcohol duty-free per person. However, the duty over the 1 liter for wine destined for personal use is only $0.75-$2 per bottle and there is no federal quantity limit. Due to the fact that it’s so low, it’s unlikely a traveler will be asked to pay anything and will simply be waved through.
Travelers flying between any E.U countries (including the UK, Sweden, and Finland) have the privilege of taking up to 90 liters of wine with them duty-free! If you are doing the math, that’s the equivalent of six 23 kg pieces of luggage!
Protecting Your Wine in Luggage
Wrapping your wine bottles in clothing can quickly result in a nightmare where you can lose your wine and your luggage’s contents. If this seems too risky, there are a number of specialty products that will give you peace of mind. From protective bottle sleeves that can be placed directly in your luggage, to the ultimate wine carrier for 12 or 15 bottles that can be checked directly without a fuss. These products are watertight, extremely well padded, resistant to temperature flux, easy to use, and in general, a good investment for wine-loving travelers.
You can order the above-mentioned wine travel accessories and more from Lazenne who can ship directly to your hotel throughout Spain and Europe, or contact us for more info! Lazenne helps wine-loving travelers transport their wine and alcohol through a portfolio of travel products.