Bottles w/o government warning label
I buy frequently at auction, mostly Spanish, Italian or French stuff.
To avoid import hassles, I choose US auctions, either NY or LA.
It happens quite often that some of the lots don't have neither government warning labels nor name of importer. In fact, no English labels at all.They are sold the way they left the winery overseas.
Tricky question: is this legal?
More specifically: you can always import bottles (if you have the right license) saying they are NOT FOR SALE. Actually, I've done it. In that case, no TTB label approval is required, therefore no government warning label. However, selling at auction is ... well ... selling, right? Therefore, it seems to me you can't sell at auction bottles that have been imported as not for sale.
Anybody in the know?
"The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), regulates the importation of beverage alcohol products into the United States for commercial use. Under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, any person engaged in the business of importing beverage alcohol products into the United States for commercial use must have an importer's basic permit and obtain a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA). Under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, the importer must also pay internal revenue taxes and any applicable duties to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
When a person imports beverage alcohol products into the United States on a one-time basis for personal use, the above requirements (other than the payment of Federal excise tax and any applicable duties to U.S. Customs and Border Protection) do not apply. In exceptional cases, individuals who import beverage alcohol products for personal use on a repetitive or continuous basis may be required to obtain an importer's basic permit and possess a COLA for these imported shipments. As a practical matter, it is usually at the discretion of the CBP District Director at the port of entry to make the decision of whether or not a particular importation is, in fact, for personal use only. In certain unusual circumstances, TTB may exercise joint jurisdiction with CBP in making this determination.
If CBP and/or TTB decide that imported alcohol is for personal use, an importer's basic permit is not required, nor is it necessary to obtain a COLA; however, all federal, state and local taxes must be paid. In addition, other state, local or CBP requirements may apply. It should be noted that some states prohibit the direct shipment of beverage alcohol products to individuals. Anyone interested in importing alcohol for personal use should contact their state liquor control agency. A list of State Liquor Control Boards is available on our web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/control_board....
If the beverage alcohol products are to be given away as personal gifts to friends, neighbors, or relatives, etc., or are to be similarly distributed, the Federal Government health warning label requirement is applicable. A gift of beverage alcohol products connected with the solicitation of orders for, or the sale of, such products constitutes commercial use and can only be conducted by a federally licensed Importer.
Finally, the determination whether or not a shipment is for personal or commercial use cannot be decided solely on the size of the shipment but must be determined on a case-by-case basis considering the circumstances surrounding the importation. However, the size of the shipment may give rise to a question resulting in the need for an investigation by CBP or TTB."