How to export wine from to USA


We are looking for a company to ship wine in relatively small quantities of French wine from UK to USA,

The Wines are local French wines purchased by our wine loving clients whilst on vacation in France with us, who then wish to ship wine back to their home address for their wine cellar and for their personal consumption,

any information regarding a shipping service who can deal with this type of shipment would be appreciated.


Hello Tim,
From your description you are describing are what would be called shipments of unaccompanied personal effects.

There are lots of companies available who do this specialised type of shipment – use the description above to search on the internet.

I suggest you obtain several lists of tariffs from different providers. If you want to help your customers out please be sure to get full details of the services the companies actually offer, including how they handle the import customs clearance, import duty, local tax (different States of the US have different tax procedures) and final delivery. Make if clear you are talking about wine.

Are you also part of the so called ‘VAT free for export’ system? Please see link This enables your customers to get back the UK VAT when they leave the country.

If I can be of any further help please let me know.


Hello Tim,
If you use Charlotte’s method you will make your own company the exporter of record. That means you will need to produce an export invoice etc. and you will be legally responsible for everything the freight company tells to customs at the time of export.

If you want your customer’s to take responsibility you will need to get them to talk directly to a personal effects company.

If you choose to take responsibility you will need to think about delivery terms (INCOterms e.g. FCA named place of export or DAP named place of import. I would recommend that you do not try to take responsibility for the import at the delivery end and that you should not take responsibility for the import duty/tax.

If you would like to discuss further please feel free to contact me.


I ran this past a colleague who is a bit of a wine buff, and he responded as follows, in case it helps:

To bring wines to the US, you need an importer to clear the wines. They will arrange the shipping. Unless you’re bringing in a lot of wine, it’s a lot of money per case to self-import.

The people on the wine bulletin board I frequent suggest using Adventures in Wine. As you can see from the Cost Structure, it’s expensive, and probably not worth it to bring in a case or two of mid-range wine. Now if you’re buying First Growth Bordeaux or Grand Cru from Burgundy, that changes the proposition.

Many retail large retail establishments (e.g. Howard Ripley) or chateaus work with importers already, but I’m assuming that if these were options the question would not be asked.

I’ll add that I’ve read many stories of people who have brought back a case or two of wine through customs and have had no problems. The recommendation is to always declare. Apparently it’s ok to bring back for personal consumption. You may have to pay duties, but sometimes they are waived off as the customs agents often don’t want to do the paperwork.

Export Action Plan