Smuggling drugs from france? Any experience?

By “Smuggling” I mean putting in my suitcase and by “drugs” I mean burgundy. How many bottles am I allowed to bring back? Im heading out to the homeland tommarrow morning and just curious.

No sweat. I’ve brought back tons. Make sure you claim it, don’t try to hide it. They charge duty by alcohol content, not amount. The duty on a case of wine is something stupidly low like 2 bucks. most of the time, they just waive me through customs because it isn’t worth the effort to charge me. But, I’d hate to be caught lying. It isn’t worth it.

Check with your airline about wieght and baggage limitations because that is the only relevant analysis. Other than that (and the associated cost, which can be high with today’s restrictions), the import taxation into the US is irrelevant. Pennies and its based on weight, not value, I believe. Declare everything you bring back.

Thanks! I guess the only thing Im worried about now is broken bottles.

Actually, given your original post and the Homeland Security Interwebs Research Team, I would be more concerned about a full body cavity search on the flip side. Word!


In theory, they should charge you duty on anything over two bottles. But I believe the policy is to allow up to four cases if it’s for personal consumption. I’ve never gone beyond two cases, but a friend once brought back 45 liters of wine, Armagnac and olive oil. As other people have said, declare it all.

In nearly 15 years of traveling to and from Europe (including two years I spent in London, shuttling stuff back here whenever I headed to the U.S.), only once have I ever been hassled at all. I told the stern customs lady I was happy to pay whatever duty was owed and she waived me through, apparently annoyed that I wasn’t more intimidated.

I discovered another way to avoid problems: I once declared some cheese. That was no problem. If you aren’t going to sell it commercially, they won’t enforce the pasteurization rules. But it got me diverted to the USDA inspectors who are much more cordial than than the customs folks.

As has been said, there really isn’t a limit. As long as you declare it and are willing to pay duty on it, (odds are good they won’t bother to collect), you can keep it. Customs will seize it though if they believe the quantity is so large that you are importing rather then bringing something back for your own consumption. There is no hard and fast rule as to how much wine constituites importation. I can’t imagine a case or two would raise any suspicion. However, U.S. Customs is bound to follow any state laws concerning how much you may bring back. Depending on the state the number of bottles allowed could be rather low. You need to check the laws of the state you will be landing in when you arrive on U.S. Soil.

Another thing you might consider is bringing your wine back in a styro shipper and make it a case, not a couple bottles. Bottles have a tendency to disappear from suitcases at one end or the other. The samsonite gorilla is the person who handles your suitcase and unprotected, you might have some stained clothing. Paying for the extra bag is worth the protection.

That is an important point. I remember reading a post a year or two ago on eBob where someone had problems landing in some alcohol-phobic state. Luckily, New York isn’t that way, which also means that if you change planes here and clear customs here, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Same with LAX - I had read up on the laws of CA and Customs limits prior to bringing a case+ back from Australia. Not a problem when fully declared.