Taking wine to and through Canada to Alaska

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CDrew

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I will be travelling to Alaska through BC. Does anyone know how much wine I can take? I was thinking of taking a case of home made wine to be consumed by our group up in Alaska.

It looks like Canadians can only bring 1.5L across the border, but I'm transiting through. Does that change the equation?

I appreciate any insight.
 
My guess, only a guess, is it’s not purchased and you don’t have to declare it. Your not avoiding paying the duty because it was never a purchased article.
 
As we have a cabin just across the border, we do this routinely. You can take 1.5L (2 x 750ml) of wine per person (adult) across the border with no tax. I have long thought wine-drinkers are discriminated against - the rule per person are 1.5L wine, a case of beer or a fifth of hard liquor. In our experience, 2 bottles of wine disappear more quickly than a case of beer or a bottle of tequila.

Homemade vs commercial seems to be nuanced by who the CBSA agent is. When we have needed to take more than the 4 bottles hubby and I are allowed (ie - for a planned gathering up north), I have carefully documented my costs per bottle of wine and presented at the border. They have had a variety of responses, although never have actually asked me to pay additional import taxes. Seems to provide more confusion (and occasional laughter and conversation) than anything else.

Note- if you are ever invited to our cabin, it is a rule that all adults bring 2 bottles of wine when crossing border! Even if you do not drink...
 
As far as re-entering the states, I personally would not declare them because they originated in the US… but the law says “personal use” with no quantity stated.

I used to be a USAF C-17 loadmaster, and every agent has there own quirks. Some will say that any more than a couple bottles is for commercial distribution, and some don’t care about pallets full.

I once had a pilot bring back several hundred bottles of wine from Germany- the agent was arguing with him until the pilot showed him a picture of his basement cellar- he has thousands of bottles.
 
I texted my son who is in Alaska in the USAF. He said they told him at the border that there is a 5L limit with alcohol below 70%, doesn't matter if it is bought or home made. Also doesn't matter if you are "passing through" or not, they are concerned about selling it once you are in Canada. He said other of his buddies who also traveled north last fall said it depended on the agent. Some are strict, some just want a nice paycheck.

I remember going to fish for a couple of weeks every year in Ontario back in the 80's. My dad used to take some Old Grand Dad bourbon for our host since it was rather hard to get in Ontario. I think he used to take 2 bottles, one for him, one for the lodge owner.
 
@JBP - thanks, that is super helpful. I'm going to go for it, all home made and not declare it. If they take it away, they can enjoy it after work. Since I picked the grapes and most of them were free, my cost basis is impossible to determine. I'll report back though. I'll only be in Canada 2 days, and even as a seasoned wine maker, could not drink a case of wine in 2 days and drive through BC!
 
@JBP - thanks, that is super helpful. I'm going to go for it, all home made and not declare it. If they take it away, they can enjoy it after work. Since I picked the grapes and most of them were free, my cost basis is impossible to determine. I'll report back though. I'll only be in Canada 2 days, and even as a seasoned wine maker, could not drink a case of wine in 2 days and drive through BC!
I tried to find more information. You don't have to worry about them taking it away, just paying duty on it. Which, from what I can find is only about 66 cents a litre for wine.

For a case of 12 that's about $8. Factoring in the exchange from USD to CAD, you might be looking at a couple bucks, and if you explain it is homemade.. Well that was covered.

Some things are just best left unsaid. I personally find it is often easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Go for it! :r
 
Not sure how accurate it is but I was told once that as long as you declare a value the on ice is on them to prove you wrong. So as long as you use a reasonable value for home made, you should be fine. Again this unsubstantiated info.
 
So I answered this question today and crossed the border at Sumas/Abbottsford.

The border guard was very nice and professional. Seemed mostly interested if I had any guns. I told him I had a case of homemade wine and he waved me through. No fees or anything else. It was quite painless other than the 14 hour drive that preceded the crossing!
 
So I answered this question today and crossed the border at Sumas/Abbottsford.

The border guard was very nice and professional. Seemed mostly interested if I had any guns. I told him I had a case of homemade wine and he waved me through. No fees or anything else. It was quite painless other than the 14 hour drive that preceded the crossing!
👍 Well, let me be the first to welcome you to Canada, as short as your stay may be...
 
👍 Well, let me be the first to welcome you to Canada, as short as your stay may be...
Thanks. It looks like if I can stay on the 12 driving hours per day pace, I'm in Canada 2 1/2 days before I get to Alaska. And honestly, this part of BC seems a lot like the USA. Same ubiquitous strip mall stores, same freeway, same gas stations. Seriously Chevron seems to rule BC. Every exit! But I saw my first Tim Horton's in Chilliwack (this is actually a Canadian town)!

And, I need some Canadian $$. I leave at dawn and where I'm headed there isn't much! I already like BC (only 2nd time here). The 5 people I met were polite and nice. I could live in Canada. It reminds me of when I lived in Minnesota. Haha.

Anyway, Alaska is further than I thought. And Canada is bigger than I thought. Northbound and down, loaded up and ........

I'm doing this next year in more days and on a motorcycle.
 
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So I answered this question today and crossed the border at Sumas/Abbottsford.

The border guard was very nice and professional. Seemed mostly interested if I had any guns. I told him I had a case of homemade wine and he waved me through. No fees or anything else. It was quite painless other than the 14 hour drive that preceded the crossing!
I'm glad you declared it. If you don't declare it and they get suspicious, you will be stuck for hours while they unload everything from your vehicle and unpack all your luggage.

I am a Canadian citizen living in the US near the border. In my experience, if the agent makes you pay duty you might as well dump the bottles. Even on a $2 bottle of wine the mark-up is 125%.

http://archive.aacb.com/tools/winetax.asp
 
Thanks. It looks like if I can stay on the 12 driving hours per day pace, I'm in Canada 2 1/2 days before I get to Alaska. And honestly, this part of BC seems a lot like the USA. Same ubiquitous strip mall stores, same freeway, same gas stations. Seriously Chevron seems to rule BC. Every exit! But I saw my first Tim Horton's in Chilliwack (this is actually a Canadian town)!

And, I need some Canadian $$. I leave at dawn and where I'm headed there isn't much! I already like BC (only 2nd time here). The 5 people I met were polite and nice. I could live in Canada. It reminds me of when I lived in Minnesota. Haha.

Anyway, Alaska is further than I thought. And Canada is bigger than I thought. Northbound and down, loaded up and ........

I'm doing this next year in more days and on a motorcycle.
How deep into Alaska are you going?
 
I'm glad you declared it. If you don't declare it and they get suspicious, you will be stuck for hours while they unload everything from your vehicle and unpack all your luggage.

I am a Canadian citizen living in the US near the border. In my experience, if the agent makes you pay duty you might as well dump the bottles. Even on a $2 bottle of wine the mark-up is 125%.

http://archive.aacb.com/tools/winetax.asp
Ha! My redheaded, long curly headed son and my daughter in law (who knows what color hair at the time) were searched coming back to the US through Minn. On the other hand - same son was searched twice on the train from Amsterdam to Munich. And, he is the good kid. Some of the others would still be in a German jail.
 
It appears you've chosen all fishing spots. Should be good timing for sockeye and kings in the rivers.

Back to wine. When re-entering the US, if you stop at the Canadian duty-free shop at the border the US laws are much less restrictive and if you go over limit the duty is minimal. I know taxes are lower in CA but in WA alcohol is heavily taxed, so I can stock up on many items at duty-free for about half price.
 
It appears you've chosen all fishing spots. Should be good timing for sockeye and kings in the rivers.

Ha-yes-I'm an old Alaska hand and have come up here every year for 20 years most years twice. This trip is to fish for Halibut out of Seward, then 10 days fishing sockeye on the kenai for 10 days. Then I come back up in early September to fly fish for silvers.

And BTW-to keep it wine related-I'm drinking some 19 Tempranillo in Whitehorse Yukon Territory tonight. I've been camping but wimped out tonight because of a huge thunderstorm that just ended. It's been 3 solid days of driving to here and I'm beat. Drove the wild and magical Cassiar Highway today. Close to 500 miles of narrow black top with lots of road repair and slow going. Only 4 gas stations in that 500 miles so you need to plan it out. There is no cell service and almost no other people, so you are on your own. It's a bit un-nerving but all went well. Saw bears, moose, an interesting fox and other critters.
 
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