Wine toter
August 5, 2005 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Two-part question: My friend is leaving Buenos Aires tommorrow - heading back to the states. How many bottles of wine can he bring with him? Also, another friend is flying standby. Can he only bring carry-on luggage?

I'm actually looking for standby rules for both Continental and Delta - but its hard to find.
posted by punkbitch to Travel & Transportation around Buenos Aires, Argentina (12 answers total)
According to the US CBP, "One liter of alcoholic beverages may be included in your personal exemption."

That doesn't mean you can't bring in more than that, it just means that more than that can cost you duty.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:37 PM on August 5, 2005

A standard bottle is 750 ml, BTW.
posted by smackfu at 12:46 PM on August 5, 2005

To piggyback on the question, about how much are these alcohol duties? CBP doesn't seem to want to specify. If anyone's experienced this recently, will customs give you a lot of trouble, making it more hassle than it's worth to bring back, say, 2–3 liters?
posted by keatsandyeats at 1:31 PM on August 5, 2005

When I recently came back from Peru, I brought two 750ml bottles and a 375ml bottle of Pisco (brandy). The customs guy asked if I had anything to declare. I asked him what the personal exemption was for liquor, and he shrugged and told me they didn't really care unless I was bringing in so much that they suspected I was importing for sale, rather than personal use.

I can't seem to find them now, but the duty rates were quite reasonable anyway. A dollar or two per liter, if I recall correctly.
posted by aneel at 1:55 PM on August 5, 2005

My experience was in bringing 20 litres of vodka and other liquors back from Russia. I was in a rush to meet my connection from germany-ny to ny-syracuse in JFK. They rushed me through and made no mention of the liquor which was nearly the only thing actually in my luggage. And yes they did scan it so they had every opportunity to see the stuff.

I was coming back from working for the state dept but I don't remember telling anyone that, and this was two years ago so post 9/11...

I'd say your friend can bring as much as he'd like. The tax isn't likely to be more than shipping would cost anyway. Only problem is if the guys will give him a hard time over it, or also it may be that your airline won't want flammables in the luggage compartment... but that wasn't a problem for me, either.
posted by lorrer at 1:56 PM on August 5, 2005

Also, the customs form only asks you how much VALUE of liquor you are bringing in. So, you can list $100 and they can think you are bringing in a single $100 bottle of wine.
posted by lorrer at 1:59 PM on August 5, 2005

The best I could do as to the actual duty: "One liter will be duty-free under your exemption; the other will be dutiable at 3 percent, plus any Internal Revenue Service tax."
posted by smackfu at 2:13 PM on August 5, 2005

Last year I was traveling with an american collegue, going from tahiti to sweden, stopping in los angeles and london (heathrow). We both had more alcohol than the US regulatons would allow, and realising this at los angeles airport we took a bold step: we asked the customs guy: He answered: "Just go. We have more serious things to consider than your alcohol." And we walk straight through....
posted by rpn at 6:02 PM on August 5, 2005

To give a direct answer instead of an anecdote: bring as much cheap alcohol you can carry. What is the worst that can happen from this; and what are the chances of that?
posted by rpn at 6:09 PM on August 5, 2005

I worked in the bagroom for continental and american airlines, so I may be mixing them up. We would get checked bags with standby tags on them, we would then put them to the side until they radioed us that they were good to go.

So the answer is a solid maybe.
posted by Iax at 6:16 PM on August 5, 2005

About standby--I've flown standby many times on Delta and I would recommend that you take only carry-on luggage. You can check it if you want and I used to, but recently with so many people flying again I've been getting bumped A LOT. If you're bumped, your luggage goes without you. Any flight attendant will tell you to carry it.
posted by C.C. Ryder at 6:20 PM on August 5, 2005

In addition to duty, you must pay the excise tax of $13.50 per proof gallon, which means per equivalent of one gallon of 100 proof alcohol. Let's assume you have 14 percent alcohol wine, which is 28 proof. That means excise tax of $0.70 per 70 cL bottle.

As far as duty goes, Argentina is a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences, so there should be no duty for "Wine of fresh grapes, including fortified wines" (HTS 2204).

I am not a lawyer; please check with CBP before relying on any of this information.
posted by grouse at 3:14 AM on August 6, 2005

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