Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Aug 23, 2006 04:20 PM

How to get wine home with the new airline regulations

My husband and I will be making our annual pilgrammage to Napa for the crush and a harvest party at Niebaum-Coppola next month. Typically, we also visit a couple of other wineries, buy a few bottles, and carry them home on the plane. However, now that the new airline regulations have taken effect and no liquids are allowed in the carry-on, we are lost. Any ideas on getting wine home? Of great importance is that we live in one of those ridiculous states that doesn't yet allow for direct shipment from the wineries themselves.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Can you have the winery pack you a case that you can check on? I forget whether that's officially allowed, but it's what we did when we received a case of Kermit Lynch finds as a wedding gift.

    You probably already know this, but when we were in Napa recently, each winery seemed to have its own practices for dealing with your situation. Some seem to have "ways around" no-ship states, so maybe you could call and ask before you go? Before NY got rid of the regulations, we also considered shipping wine to family in nearby states without regulations.

    1. This is what i did about 3 yrs ago, not wanting to schlep my bottles on the plane and i still had over aweek of visiting the area, i picked up some fine bottles of hard to find vintages at the wineries and then went to a well regarded wine store that had other offerings and i implored them to just stick my 5 bottles in with their 7 bottles to round out my case and fwd theentire package to me ...they were quite accomodating and everyone benefitted

      1. There are couple of independent places in the valley that will pack and ship wine for you. Many of the wineries will be happy to ship you your wine IF it's legal to ship to your state.

        Finally, there is a stainless steel shipper that one can buy from wine accessary shops that will hold I believe 6 bottles. It can be checked just like your other luggage.

        5 Replies
        1. re: rtmonty

          I've never seen these before. Do you know of any websites that offer them? I like the idea of a sturdy, reusable case!

          1. re: rtmonty

            As a word of warning, try to find a shipping place that you can trust, not just one that wants your business. I shipped a couple of cases from Cartons and Crates in Napa on August 12th. One of the cases never made it, and the shipping company (UPS) has acknowledged that they lost the case. I had insured it, but everytime I call Cartons & Crates to see how the processing of my claim is going, the woman I speak to tells me that they are understaffed and she has a lot to do, but she will let me know when she takes care of it. So, all I am saying is that there is a chance something can go wrong, make sure you pick a shipper that will work to take care of making you whole if it does.

            1. re: The_Bayou

              Buffalo Shipping in Napa is reliable and expedient. I ship 5 or six cases every year when in Napa though Buffalo and have never had a problem. The are always $10 -$20 per case cheaper than the winery shipping charges.

            2. Terrorists suck! Not being able to carry on fine bottles of wine or even a bottle of water is quite frustrating.

              Has anyone ever had a bottle break due to rough handling by the baggage handlers? Just curious.

              You may want to stuff some cloths or other padding in the empty spaces of the wine case/box, to dampen vibrations during transit.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Hapa Dude

                If the wine is packed in an approved shipper there's very little chance of it breaking. That would be a box with styrofoam to hold the bottles. In the wine business they are simply called "shippers" and are widely available. However, one warning, some airlines may want to charge you for another piece of luggage. I would let the winery do the ship if possible especially with all the bs that happens at airports today.

                And yes, terrorists do SUCK!!!!

                1. re: rtmonty

                  I brought over several cases from France and while none of them broke, I did find a few that had corks that almost popped - I'm told it was due to extreme heat\cold circumstances from cargo bay to tarmac. So, I would suppose, as long as you don't go anywhere terriably hot, you should be okay.

                  1. re: schoenick

                    If I may ask, how did you get several cases of wine back from France? I'm hoping to go to the Paris Wine Fair (or are non-winemakers not allowed there? Pah.) next year and would love to bring back some good bottles, but I thought that you were not allowed more than 2 bottles per person back to the states. Am I wrong? Is there a way around that law?

                    1. re: Ali

                      You are allowed one liter per person duty free. You can bring back more, but will likely have to pay a duty on all the other bottles. If you bring back case, you get one bottle duty free, and will have to pay a duty on the other 11. I think the duty is 3 percent of the value of the wine.

                      1. re: BrianD

                        According to TheMan in the customs post, wine is actually duty free, you can bring as much as you want.

                        1. re: JoLi

                          That's not true in the USA. With certain restrictions, one liter is allowed duty-free. For returning US citizens, "... if your exemption is $800 and you bring back three liters of wine and nothing else, two of those liters will be dutiable."


                          I've often been let through without paying duty because the officials don't want to spend 20 minutes filling out paperwork for a few dollars duty.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Likewise. We've brought in a case from both France and Argentina on our return into the US and neither time did the customs agents have use fill out any paperwork or pay any tax.

                      2. re: Ali

                        I lived there and had it shipped with my other household goods. My friends though make an annual visit to the Champagne region and have the vintner ship it to them directly. I'm not sure of the regulations about how many bottles you can bring in but that is tax free. After a certain amount, you have to pay tax. You'd have to pay tax anyways if you bought in the US so why not get some wine you really like and have a story to tell about. Also, my latest travels introduced me to a suitcase that allows you to pack up to 12 bottles in checked luggage. I saw these at the airport in Cin and believe it or not, Salt Lake City.... I'm sure you could also find online as well.

                  2. re: Hapa Dude

                    When just a wee lad returning from the far east I carefully wrapped 5 bottles of liquid refreshment with cloths and clothing in a footlocker. On arrival in FL it was distinguished by its a distinctive aroma even before opening and that was due to only one bottle having broken so whether the wine/beverage and or the clothing is valuable, think about it carefullly and maybe go with a commercial shipper.

                  3. i've never had a bottle break. when we checked our KL case (in a "shipper" - thanks for the new word!), it was all good. i can't remember whether they charged extra. but it's probably worth it (not much more than regular shipping costs).

                    back in the day, we used to just pack bottles in our suitcases wrapped in sweatshirts, and we never had a problem. but that was when we were just bringing back indestructable bottles that we bought on special at safeway (to help defray the high costs of manhattan living/drinking!).