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Mar 17, 2010 05:24 AM

Duty on wine (bringing in from US) [moved from Quebec board]

I've read a lot on these boards about the price of duty at the border if I bring in more wine than the allotted 1.5L per person -- starting as low as a few dollars per bottle. I finally got through to the Canada Border Service. Here's the scoop for anyone interested: Going into Montreal from example of a $20 bottle of wine (you must show receipt) will be charged a duty of $18.35. I was surprised and the woman explained that Quebec has the highest duty.
Needless to say, we will be buying any extra wine at the SAQ!

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  1. You still can try your luck and if you're not too greedy, they might be nice. We've brought six bottles instead of the four we were allowed and many times, they just let it go. Whatever you do, declare everything, they're allowed to seize your vehicule if you try to "smuggle" undeclared booze. They're even allowed to dismantle your car with no obligation of rebuilding it. Never heard they did though.

    Also, if you're being honest about things, it'll get you far. The last time, I thought I had the receipt but it wasn't in the box so I told them the price of each bottle (3 each of 2 wines) and they rounded it out and chose the two cheapest bottles as is usual. For instance, for the two extra bottle which were paid $28, they charged me $28 total instead of almost $50. The same happened last year when we came back from Napa with 8 bottles instead of four. It cost me about $70 instead of the double. They're usually pretty cool especially if your forthright and cool with them.

    1. Best rule of thumb going into CA from the northeastern US is, ta-da: 100%. It's outrageous but, hey, they're very friendly when they tell you. lol

      Here's the best part, though: What do you do when they tell you? I had two cases of high-end wine which I wasn't even going to drink in Quebec (I'd bought them in Maine and was just going up to Quebec City for a couple of days before returning home). They offered me two choices: 1 – Pay the 100% duty, or 2 – Leave them at the border station and pick them up on the way back. Too bad I wasn't going back the same way! I made a u-turn and skipped Quebec City. No biggie, it's still there. Who knows, I may even try again some day. You know, without the wine. ;-)