Shipping fine wine to US

Old Jan 3, 19, 7:05 am
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Shipping fine wine to US

Does anyone have experience shipping fine wine and spirit back to the US? Recommendations on couriers and comments on customs risks?
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Old Jan 4, 19, 10:13 pm
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Probably not all that helpful...but nearly 15 years ago I shipped a case of (not particularly fine) wine back to the US from South African wine country. It was a huge pain in the ... finding a place that would store and then ship it (we were still traveling for another month), and I had to go to the cargo area of Newark Airport to pick it up from the customs office (or KLM, I can't remember exactly). Door-to-door wasn't allowed.

Perhaps things have gotten easier now. Good luck.
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Old Jan 5, 19, 2:04 am
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You may want to read up on the prevalence of forgery for fine wine in the China market (most of it via Hong Kong). Of the wines tested 90% were not as labeled (and these were $1000/bottle wines). So if you want to buy fine wine cheaply, save the trouble of shipping counterfeit wine back to USA and just go to Trader Joe, just as the forgers do. Less of a problem in Europe, but even there forgeries occur (I saw a counterfeit bottle of Louis XIII cognac at LHR duty free shop, later confirmed by LVMH after I contacted them ... so buyer beware!).
As for US customs, remember that states control alcohol, so some states prohibit private importation --- your port of entry has to be a state that allows it (such as NY state). Additionally you will need to either go to the port of entry in person and pay the duty and fees or hire a freight forwarder to do it for you (years ago UPS offered this service, but it was $250 plus a percentage of shipment value, so quite expensive for small quantities). It is such a hassle that I have never done it and chosen to fly with the wine in person (which makes customs a breeze, as long as you land at the right airport). This works for a couple of cases of wine but not more.
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Old Jan 5, 19, 4:33 am
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There are plenty of trustworthy sources in Hong Kong; if you're buying from reputable companies who are dealing direct with the producers then it isn't a problem. I'd like to see a reputable source for that 90% figure, particularly as it relates to HK (which is a completely separate customs territory with much stronger counterfeit protection than mainland China).

Obviously if you're spending many thousands of US$ on bottles then it would be wise to do some serious due diligence, but if the OP's definition of "fine wine" is in the hundreds of US$ dollars range and they are bought from reputable dealers then it shouldn't be a major concern.

I can't comment on US import procedures. I guess the forums at Cellertracker.com or wineberserker.com would be more useful places to ask.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 4:52 pm
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You might see if wine merchants are willing to ship for you. They can help with customs and insurance.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 6:26 pm
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Thanks for the reply all. I'm not looking to purchase wines from HK stores to ship back; I am getting them from relatives - a few dozen bottles of premier crus Bordeaux. Seems like it might be easier to just check them in my luggage and make a few trips?
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Old Jan 8, 19, 1:13 am
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Originally Posted by bluegatorade View Post
Thanks for the reply all. I'm not looking to purchase wines from HK stores to ship back; I am getting them from relatives - a few dozen bottles of premier crus Bordeaux. Seems like it might be easier to just check them in my luggage and make a few trips?
You can easily carry 1 dozen back without too much customs grief (generally they dont want to fill out the paperwork for so little duty); 2 dozen may be pushing it. There are foam cases for transporting wine that are pretty bullet proof, use that or bubble wrap and not normal cartons. I'd worry about cellaring temperature and conditions, HKG climate is about the worst you can get for wine storage but presumably it has been temperature controlled the whole time. Still a risk.

As for counterfeit wines in China, many different news stories about it, see for example https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/20...of-fake-wines/
It also affects Hong Kong, as shown in several court cases there, for example "luxury conglomerate LVMH announced a Hong Kong court had settled a case in their favor against the auction house Acker Merrall & Condit over a bottle of counterfeit Krug Champagne, which was sold for more than $13,500 in 2012.

“Adulteration of wine and the relabelling of inferior wines to more expensive brands are the most common types of wine fraud,” said Louis De Surrel, the CEO of Loyal Wines, a Hong Kong based company that is trying to bring transparency to buying for producers and consumers through online authentication technologies." https://www.forbes.com/sites/pamelaa.../#6e321f115843

My point is that it is a known large scale problem, maybe worse in Hong Kong than in US (or maybe not). Wine is simply too easy to forge, and DNA testing is rare
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Old Jan 8, 19, 5:59 pm
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Originally Posted by number_6 View Post
...
I'd worry about cellaring temperature and conditions, HKG climate is about the worst you can get for wine storage but presumably it has been temperature controlled the whole time.
...
Yes, outside environment is very harsh for wine but anyone in HK with a few dozen bottles of premier crus Bordeaux to give away would have the means for the dedicated storage facility at home/office/club.
I even have a dry cabinet for my photography gear and some of our closets are temperature and humidity controlled. This is considered normal in HK.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 3:31 am
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
This is considered normal amongst the 1% in HK.
FIFY
Kilian Zoll and :D! like this.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 8:06 pm
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Originally Posted by bluegatorade View Post
Thanks for the reply all. I'm not looking to purchase wines from HK stores to ship back; I am getting them from relatives - a few dozen bottles of premier crus Bordeaux. Seems like it might be easier to just check them in my luggage and make a few trips?
The merchant suggestion is to move your wines into their storage and then have it shipped professionally to your final destination.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 11:41 pm
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Plenty of good wine storage places in Hong Kong. Bottles aren't left to hum in the sun and humidity.

And zero tax/duty.
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Old Jan 11, 19, 2:22 pm
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Originally Posted by DragonSoul View Post
Plenty of good wine storage places in Hong Kong. Bottles aren't left to hum in the sun and humidity.

And zero tax/duty.
And some of them (like the Crown Wine Cellar) not only store your wine in a historically important setting, but serve you some pretty decent grub while you imbibe from your collection.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 7:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Pickles View Post
And some of them (like the Crown Wine Cellar) not only store your wine in a historically important setting, but serve you some pretty decent grub while you imbibe from your collection.
Thanks for the suggestion!
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