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US Customs regs

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jbstout

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Can anyone tell me what the rules are for taking homemade wine from Canada to the US? I'm a US citizen, working in Canada, and expect to go back to the States later this year. I have several cases of wines that I really would like to keep and age for a little bit. Should I start drinking everything, or can I take it with me?
 

phantom

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Homemade or not, Uncle Sam doesn't know, nor care

I'll start this off by saying I'm not a lawyer, and have no great expertise in the realm of customs nor duty-free shipping, merely some experience with doing lots of border hopping.

Uncle Sam just wants your money. Duty free limits don't discriminate between beer, wine or liquor. Now, if you're willing to pay the taxes, then you can bring in anything you want, but you have to be careful about your method of transportation. If you're flying, check with their limits for baggage, since you're definitely not doing carry-on. A lot of airlines now have 50 pound limits for baggage, unless you start paying for overweight items and whatnot. I don't know what type of wine you've got, but if it's from a kit, you'd probably be better off drinking what you've already made, and remake the stuff when you're back in the US. If you're driving and you declare the amount above the duty-free limits, then you could probably claim the stuff as $5-10/bottle(assuming kit), and the ICE agent at the border crossing might just wave you through and not want to bother getting a few bucks from you.

One other wrinkle in the whole discussion is your work status when you were in Canada. I lived in Japan for a few years, and came back with a nice pile of stuff. None of it was alcohol, at least what I packed and shipped, but you're allowed duty-free for "used" household items, if you'd established residency outside the US. If you're on some NAFTA/non-visa work program, this probably doesn't apply to you.
 

jbstout

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Thanks for the response. I've probably got half-n-half kits and scratch wines, so not a lot of $$ tied up in it. I think I'll go to the Customs office next week and see if I can get an answer. I'll let you know.
We transferred to Canada from GA, and brought our household stuff with us. So there shouldn't be much of a problem in going back, as far as that merchandise is concerned.
Thanks again.
 

FentonCellars

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What was the answer on this jbstout? I live in Vermont and may take a trip up to Canada to buy some wine from the duty free shop to help stock my wine cellar.

Thanks!
 
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