How to Bring Wine Home from South America
Traveling with wine is a common practice and many people choose to bring wine home after a visit to South America’s wine regions. The customs laws of your country should be reviewed beforehand so that your return home runs as smoothly as possible. However, most people find travel with wine easy and without conflict. Checking wine as regular luggage is a very common way to transport wine and many shipping companies have boxes designed specifically for this purpose. Carrying wine aboard is also permitted among most airlines as long as it isn’t intended for consumption on board and lies within allotted amounts (usually one or two bottles).
According to most customs laws, an individual is allowed to bring in one liter of wine (in some countries two) tax-free. Depending on customs regulations in the country of entry anything more than one liter is subject to tax. This is fairly subjective however, since usually customs will allow you to bring in much more than a liter as long as the amount doesn’t reflect intentions of a start-up import/export business. Most tourists, including wine collectors will have no problems with the amount of wine they desire to bring home however, travelers should be prepared to asses tax on all wine leaving and entering the country.
Wine Cruzer is a very helpful website dedicated entirely to travel with wine. More specifically they specialize in wine carriers that keep wine safe during travel on airplanes.
The shipment of wine is a difficult task. Shipping wine comes hand in hand with some very specific laws in order to ensure the sender isn’t side stepping import and export laws. Some of the wineries in South America may provide shipping abroad, but this will only be the case if that particular winery already ships wine to your desired destination and they are familiar with reciprocity and other export laws specific to your needs. Any shipment of wine should be researched beforehand and not left for the last minute. Most people ship wine only within their own country and under the specific regulations of that state or country. It is worth the trouble to ask about wine shipments from the winery you are visiting, but plan on carrying any purchased wine around with you until your return home.
Fed Ex offers some helpful information about shipping with a special section on the shipment of wines.