That French or Italian wine you sampled on your overseas journey may be too good to leave behind, so you picked up a bottle at the local wine shop. But now that you’re packing up to head back to the United States, you’re not sure if you can bring that wine back home with you. Relax, as most wines are OK to bring back into the US with you in your travel bag – provided you follow the rules for wine importation.
You can legally bring wine back to the US only if you’re 21 or older, even if you’re bringing it back as a gift. And don’t try to get around it by trying to send the wine back home through the mail. US postal laws prohibit shipping alcoholic beverages by mail, US Custom and Border Protection (CBP) notes.
Using a courier service is allowed, although you’ll end up paying a pretty penny for the service. Your entire shipment will be subjected to duty fees, and most couriers charge a custom broker and handling fees that jack up the price even higher.
General regulations allow each person 21 or older to bring back up to one liter of wine or other alcoholic beverage duty-free. Since the standard bottle of wine is about 25 ounces, or approximately .74 liters, a single standard bottle keeps you within the limit.
You can bring back larger quantities, CPB notes, although additional quantities are subject to duty and federal excise taxes, both of which will be tallied and collected at your port of entry. Exactly how much wine you’re allowed to bring back depends on state laws, not federal regulations. You can review different state laws at the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board website (ABCB).
Red, white, rose are OK, as are wines produced in large, small, national or local wineries. Even homemade wine passes the test. If you’re looking to bring back habu sake, or snake wine found in Asia, you may have an issue. CPB explains snake wine has to additionally pass US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regulations to ensure the snakes used in the wine are not endangered species. A FWS specialist would have to inspect the wine before it would be allowed passage into the US.
Now that you know the rules for wine importation, you next step is to get your passport so you can travel to the countries well-known for making top-notch vino. Speed up the process with Swift’s expedited passport services today.