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Bringing Wine and Food Home from Italy

We'd like to bring wine, olive oil, and perhaps some cheese home (New Jersey) with us when my husband and I return from Italy this September. What's the best way to do this? Is there a limit in the number of bottles of wine you can return home with? I considered shipping from Florence if we had acquired too many things- any opinions, advice?

Posted by
466 posts

It's very expensive and you might receive it and you might not. It's about $150 to $200 to ship 6 bottles of wine. The mail system is not like ours here!!! It's better to buy your wine duty free when you are coming back at the airport. Your won't be able to bring much but you can bring at least 2 bottles. Remember that most of the wine and olive oil that you buy there is sold here in the USA. You can bring only hard cheese back (parm) the other cheeses (anything soft) is not permitted to bring into the USA. (they will take it so do NOT take the chance)! It's better to buy your souveniers and forget about the food and drink unless you are wealthy and don't really care if it comes broken or never arrives. Have a great trip, eat and drink to your hearts content in Italy and forget about bring food or drink back unless it fits in your luggage!!!!

Posted by
58 posts

Mark- thanks for your response.

Nope - not that wealthy, but when my Mom and Sister came back from Florence they brought back wine and cheese (vacuum packed from a market in florence)in their checked luggage--- just wondering if there is a limit?

Also, regarding shipping-- I was planning on using FedEx International (through my company on an employee discount), but didn't know how expensive/easy that would be.

Posted by
49 posts

I visited a winery in Tuscany four years ago and purchased a case of wine and also olive oil and they had a distributor for their wines in the USA so it was not all that expensive to send and they set the date for arrival with you so that it does not arrive before you get back from your trip. I'm sure that most of the big wineries in Tuscany do the same. Sorry but I can't recall the name of the winery. Kathleen

Posted by
473 posts

Many states have restrictions on how much wine can be imported. The shipping companies have to abide by your state's laws. Hence, check your state's laws first. I've read a few postings here on the Graffiti Wall, from people who have never received their shipment and found out later that it was in excess of their state's limits. I don't know what the shipping companies do with such shipments, but you can pretty much bet that they won't spend the money to ship it back to Europe.

Posted by
58 posts

Thanks Everyone!

I think the best way is to bring it home in my checked luggage. I found a similar question to mine from May on this site, and that's what the conclusion was!

Posted by
5207 posts

A couple of notes for you right away. New Jersey is one of the "Bad" states that does not allow shipment of Wine into the state (See www.freethegrapes.com) and additionally, Fed-Ex will not ship Alcohol. The idea mentioned above about asking if they have US distribution is a good idea...though basically they are shipping from their US location or a store, not from Italy, so it should be much cheaper. Plan on getting a few special bottles and putting in your checked luggage. You can ask at a winery or store if they have specialized packing materials (styrofoam bottle shippers) if you are concerned about damage (dirty laundry works too). Another idea is if you have time, check a few websites of stores that you might buy from (I like www.samswine.com in the Chicago area) to see if they carry a wine you are interested in. If you can get it back home, look for something else, unless it is way cheaper. Finally look here: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/

Posted by
466 posts

Amanda:

I have brought cheese home from Italy also but it has to be a hard cheese (like Parm, Asiago etc.) Most Salumerias will vaccuum pack it for you. I don't know if your mom and sister brought soft cheese back as well but I know it's risky for whatever reason that is. Take a corkscrew with you and stop in a Salumeria (Deli) buy some wine and cheese and meat and have yourself a little picnic or take it back to your room as a snack. You can buy as little or as much as you want and its nice to have a glass of wine and a snack before you venture out for dinner or a evening on the town. Have a blast!!!

Posted by
58 posts

Mark you just described our ideal evening- thanks!