Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >
Jan 19, 2011 11:35 PM

Worth shipping wine, foodstuffs, kitchen equipment, (furniture?) to Oahu? [Moving--Time sensitive! ; >]

Hey y'all--

So I'll be moving to Oahu next week, the result of a job offer that came through suddenly. I'm very excited, and as part of the offer I have a relocation allowance to bring along some of my stuff. Basically I have a moving "cube"-- 6x7x8, or about 336 sq. feet-- and now I'm desperately trying to figure out what is really worth including.


Assume you're starting with nothing, except clothes. Also assume that you really like food and really like to cook, and intend on being able to outfit a kitchen somehow. Further assume that you're a bit of a wine snob and have access here to some pretty good selection/prices.

To put it another way: for the difference in price/selection, is it worth shipping out wine or foodstuffs? If so, what kinds? Do blenders at Costco in Hawaii cost the same as blenders at Costco in LA? Is there anything that you really CAN'T find, or is so expensive to make it really worth importing?

(And, while we're at it-- anything else worth considering as I plan my move? I only get to do this once... ; >)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oh yeah, and-- spices, seasonings? I'm in NYC right now and I can get ANYTHING!

    1. If you have bottles of best Burgundies e.g. Le Montrachet, I would bring them and similar high-end wines (in your wine cooler, if portable). They are hard to get here. Anything ordinary is available here at comparable prices. High-end furniture, the same. All oriental ingredients are available here. Bring your truffles, saffron, etc. Vermont Shepherd ships its cheese here. If good, bring your art: not much good here. Odd things are expensive here e.g., tortillas and potato chips. Kitchen appliances e.g., Kitchen Aide mixers are probably about the same here.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Joebob

        P.S. Bring expensive European stuff, nothing Oriental.

        1. re: Joebob

          Hey, thanks for the reply. What you said makes a lot of sense-- definitely not importing Asian stuff. I assume I can probably get as much, or more, there. I'm thinking more about appliances and weird little ingredients like you mentioned (tortilla chips, really?). I didn't think about art-- that's a great suggestion.

          Let me give a spoiler. So far my plan is to pack:
          - a mattress/boxspring/bed, dresser, nightstand
          - 1 World Market "Mission" dining table, plus bench, maybe chairs. (I need one and it's on sale)

          - 5 padded shipping cases of wine: 1 box French bordeaux and etc, 1 box Italians, 1 box Misc non-U.S. (Spanish, Australian, etc), 2 boxes Misc Californian (from places I know
          )- 4 bottles of good single-malt Scotch (I can get Lagavulin here for about $50, I'm assuming it's significantly more...?)
          - Cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, dishes, etc, etc...

          Anyone know where to get a good wine cabinet? = >

          1. re: chaoticsoul

            Oh gosh-simply too much work!!!!! Just pack your clothes and buy everything at Costco or Walmart for essentials. Eat out first month or so then buy quality things as time goes on. All you need to do is buy a frickin bed!!!

            1. re: UES Mayor

              The only difference in prices at Costco in Hawaii and mainland is the price of gas is higher at the Hawaii Costco's.

              1. re: monku

                Thanks, that's exactly what I need to know. Even gas prices that people are quoting to me seem perfectly (un)reasonable-- a gallon is $3.60 here in New York, too.

              2. re: UES Mayor

                UES Mayor: That sounds like the Aloha spirit... ; > Still, life isn't always about essentials, and I've been living out of two bags for more than a year. If I have stuff, and I get a shipping allowance, why not bring it out rather than live without or buy (more) quality things? (I'm assuming, of course, that I'm going to leave/sell all of it there when I return.)

                But, you have a point. It does have a peaceful simplicity to it.

                1. re: chaoticsoul

                  I'm confused. If you love wine so much are you bringing it with you on the plane? If you are shipping it in a container pod the conditions will be completely wrong for it to stay temperate and arrive drinkable. Tamura's has plenty of fabulous wines and has a special cool room with higher end bottles. I shop in Chicago often for wine and find prices comparable here when I go to Tamura's or R. Field. Tortilla chips are not that expensive....nor are tortillas and there are locally produced products (Sinaloa for one.) I agree spices might be something you would want to bring but remember they get "clumpy" and lost their integrity quickly due to humidity conditions. - although that may vary depending on which side/where on Oahu you live.
                  We also have Macy's (you're not moving to Siberia) with great sales on small kitchen blenders, Target and as mentioned Costco. There is also Ross which has great pots and pans and Y. Hata the restaurant supply store. Enjoy your move.

                  1. re: manomin

                    Hi manomin,
                    What is the address of the Tamura's with the cool room? It's time for me to drink another great white Burgundy. Do they have Le Montrachet?
                    I agree that shipping is bad for wine, but keeping it at 55-57F for a time will allow it to recover to a great extent.
                    Chips and tortillas are 2-3X what they were in TX. We could get 2lb of corn for $1.99.

                    1. re: manomin

                      There are wine shipping services, that will handle fine/rare wines quite well. I would coordinate the shipping for over-night, after a point that I know I would be available to receive it. As stated, one does not want fine wines to take a "sea cruise."

                      Now, there are some good wine shops on O`ahu, and one that I know of on Maui (lost one there not too long ago), but I cannot imagine liquidating my cellar. I used such a service, when just moving from Colorado to Arizona (about 90 cases), and they stored the wines for me, until I had completed my wine cellar in Phoenix, in a temp-controlled environment. In the years hence, not one of those bottle was damaged, though a few remain untouched.

                      We I in that position, I'd pack the All-Clad, the Riedel glasses, the fine china, and that is about it. Oh, my Tempurpedic mattress. The wines would be shipped by a service (now up to about 6K bottles), after I drank all the "regular wines" in a few blow-out parties for my friends.

                      The rest, I'd just buy, and pay the prices for items in "paradise."

                      Enjoy the move, and aloha,


            2. Burn it. They have all that crap in Hawaii.

              2 Replies
                1. re: flavrmeistr

                  I'm with you on that one flavrmeistr! Who needs 2# of corn chips unless they are having a party? They get stale too fast here. TAMURA'S (the one I like) is on Waialae Ave. in Kaimuki.
                  Maybe you should call them and see if they have exactly what you are looking for.

                2. Bring the things that make your home your home. Bring things that are too expensive to replace. Remember that experienced nomads say that every time you move, you loose 10% of your possessions to loss, breakage, theft, whatever. Keep an eye on the things that are important to you, make sure they are packed securely and that they make it into the container.

                  You can buy almost anything here, albeit some of the more exotic stuff may come at a price. Most of the rest you can have shipped here. Edibles would be one of the lowest things on my priority list, unless it is a particular brand of something that you just know you can't find many places.

                  We have 3 grocery chains, we have costco, wal-mart/sams, we have target and k-mart. We have macy's and sears... we don't have penny's any more. We have nordstroms, we have williams sonoma, we have neiman marcus. We have several wine shops (tamura's, fujioka's, the wine stop, vintage wine cellar, and liquor connection among the most popular) We even have a sake shop.

                  You are gonna be just fine. ALOHA!

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: manomin

                      Thanks, you had good points too.

                      One thing that I forgot to mention, this is the 50th state. We speak english (or close to it) we use US currency, and visa, master card and/or american express are accepted.

                      (a friend's mom is coming for a visit and was unclear about all that)

                  1. Do not ship any wine with your household items. It will be baked with temperatures that may suprass 100 degrees for up to up to two or three weeks, by the time it sits on docks and in warehouses. It will NOT recover afterwards, regardless how cool your store.

                    Instead, talk to a local Oahu retailer, such as Tamura, and see if they will provide temperature controlled storage for a given period of time for a number of cases (like six or so) and air freight your best wines, the ones that are really special to you, directly to them. Plan on letting it spend a month or so settling.

                    While there are good wines available, my experience is that many of the more delicate ones may be slightly oxidized from the heat during shipping. The best distributors in Hawaii use temperature controlled containers to ship from the mainland to Oahu.

                    Talk to a good wine shop in NY about shipping and they can provide you with information -- and you may want to buy the top end items directly yourself after the move. (I'm talking about select high end special wines, such as Montrachet or a classified growth.)

                    Many day- to- day wines sell for substantially more in Hawaii because of shipping, but that doesn't mean you should air ship a pallet load, just your best selections and carefully buy the rest once you've settled.

                    Home Depot and Costco sell wine coolers, but don't always stock them and may not want to ship them to Hawaii, so this is one piece of furniture you might want to buy and have shipped with your househould items. Get one that's refrigerated, not electro-whatever cooled, and has a humidity control plus digital controls.

                    I'm (somewhat) retired from the wine business and we spend a couple of months a year on Oahu. I bring my wine with me, but I'm a major geek, and honestly think the wines that show best with the local foods are things like good Anderson Valley/Oregon PInot Gris, Gruner Veltliner, and younger Pinots (try a nice lower alcohol Pinot or Burgundy with ahi sashimi). Beaujolais and Rose's are also terific. Skip the high alcohol, ultra concentrated's too warm for them, at least for us.

                    As others have noted, there are multiple sources for cooking gear, knives, etc. in Honolulu, so use your valuable time to figure out the wine shipping (your Scotch is safe on the boat) and get ready to experience a beautiful part of the world. Aloha, dude.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: MRMoggie

                      Thanks all for your thoughts! I'm really excited about arriving. As the conversation progressed, I got the feeling some of you may have misunderstood my proposal or level of seriousness. Let me clarify:

                      1. I am not proposing to ship over cases of 1998 St. Emilion signed by the winemaker. I'm talking about wines that I like, that are somewhat difficult to find *here* (and presumably moreso there), that are moderately priced, and that I already own. As a rule, I don't drink expensive wine: there's too much good inexpensive wine, if you know what you're looking for. (Then again, my definition of "expensive" has shifted somewhat over the years...) In other words, no Montrachet, just "special" wines that are one or two steps above daily drinking wines (which I'm sure I can buy locally).

                      2. No, I'm not taking anything refrigerated on the plane. At this point I'm willing to take my chances shipping the wine in the container (or how do you think most of your wine arrives in HI?). I'm still a bit skeptical that my bottles, packed in styrofoam, stuffed in a pod, nestled in a shipping crate, stacked under a pile of other shipping crates, hanging out in San Diego or crossing the Pacific in January, is going to incur the kind of horrendous damage that will make it undrinkable. Yes, I know that metal intensifies heat and that my crate could sit in the sun. Yes, I know it's still warm in January. I'm still willing to take my chances: in my experience, wine's not as delicate as people make it sound, and this is a good time of year. I could be wrong.

                      3. While I appreciate the sentiment that says, forget it, don't bring anything, buy it on the local economy, or burn it-- I already own accumulated kitchen stuff, and I have a shipping allowance. Why not use it? It's not very much trouble at all; it's already packed, and it's better than feeding consumerism by duplicating items or living with crappy stuff from Target. (No offense, Target.) The only question is: what to pack and why? I've gotten some great suggestions here (spices, art, furniture) and some differing opinions on wine. OK-- fair enough.

                      4. I've read up about Tamura's and Fujioka's and Costco: that's probably where I'll go for daily stuff. And yes, I know that Hawaii has electricity, paved roads, paper currency, and internal plumbing (at least in most parts!). I'm mostly just trying to decipher the messages I've gotten that warn of dire, dire sticker shock. (For instance: "i couldn't find a salt grinder; finally I found one and it cost me $30." "Definitely bring furniture. If you get a furnished place, you'll be renting with the cheapest, most worn and oldest furniture that the owner has available...") Now, I'm coming from New York, so I think maybe folks are overblowing it a little-- but I honestly don't know. That's why I appreciate peoples' thoughts here!

                      It will all work out. I think I have a better sense now, and anyway the worst that can happen is that they drop the container in the ocean and I get to buy new stuff. 8 p

                      1. re: chaoticsoul

                        I didn't mean to insult your intelligence about the money or language or ... (nor do I believe you felt I was trying to), but people do have the strangest ideas about Hawaii. Being from NYC the sticker shock won't be to bad on most things, surprising on others. You seem like an urbane, sophisticated, reasonable person. Yes, it will all work out. But please, don't expect this to be 'just like everyplace else" any more than New York is. But if you were looking for that, I don't imagine you would be considering moving here.

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          Sorry, didn't mean to sound legalistic-- it's the over-caffeinated mainlander in me. I took it as intended, with good spirits (so to speak). I should have explained though that I've visited the islands, as a tourist, I just didn't take a good inventory of wine stores or kitchen supply depots (ramen, however?--yes, that I did).

                          I am hoping that it is as little like everyplace else as possible-- because then what would there be to experience?--with a few comforts thrown in for good measure.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            Hey KaimukiMan-You forgot of all things to tell person not to forget their passport!! Oh boy-I'm amusing myself again.

                            1. re: UES Mayor

                              You are funny UES! I hear people all the time say "back in the States" where do you think you are? Did you need a passport to get here?!

                              The other thing about shipping your things is that it will not come immediately off the ship, often it can take a week or more for the container to unload then you have to coordinate the date for the movers to bring it to wherever it is you are living. Hence, your wine will sit out in the sun at one of the piers used by Matson.