Graduation trip to Italy! Getting my wine home…

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    • #4699


      I just graduated from the University of Oregon with my Bachelors in Human Physiology and I am taking trip to Italy for this September 2013 to celebrate all that hard work!

      I came across your “Bringing Wine Home from Italy” in a Google search and while reading over this wonderful info page about getting wine home to the states from Italy I saw the ‘contact me’ link for inquiring about help shipping cases home.

      I am very interested in bringing a lot home! I would like to have them to open on more special occasions for years to come after this trip.

      Thank you for any information you can give me!


    • #4702
      Michael Horne

      Ciao Austyn – thanks for the e-mail, and congratulations on your new degree! UofO is an excellent school, and I earned my MBA there as well. Best of luck with your career going forward.

      A couple of quick questions:

      • How many cases of wine are you planning to bring back?
      • Where will you be flying into Italy, and returning back to (Portland?)

      There are a couple of ways to get your wine home:

      • If you are flying on an American air carrier (United Airlines, American, Delta, etc), when returning from Italy, it is pretty easy to just check your wine. If you do not have airline status, it will cost you about $90-ish to check a case of 12 bottles. Be sure to use a wine shipper box. If you’re using cheap carriers like EasyJet or Ryanair when leaving Italy, it may cost more and they may have other restrictions.
      • You can potentially have the wine shipped for you by me or another importer. I would need to know the number of cases and destination to give you an idea of costs associated with that. Let me know about the above questions and we can go from there.


      Michael Horne, CS
      Los Gatos, CA USA
    • #4706

      Good afternoon Michael,

      After many many hours of work and buying a new house ( Yes, horrible timing with the trip in 3 weeks) I have finally looked into the checked luggage for my flights home.

      We will be flying Lufthansa home from Venice to Frankfurt to San Francisco then finally onto Portland. So far all I have read is your first checked luggage is free and the second up to 100 dollars for 50 lbs. Will that work if I have a case in a wine shipper box?

      Ideally I would like 2 cases, but if it is reasonable enough I wouldn’t mind 3 cases!

      We fly into Rome, then out of Venice on Lufthansa. If you were to ship for me, how would that work?

      Seriously, thank you for all your help! I appreciate all of the information you can provide as my trip rapidly approaches!

      Austyn Holmes

    • #4709
      Michael Horne

      Hi Austyn — good to hear from you.

      Lufthansa is a good choice for flying on the return – they are a “checked-wine-friendly” airline. I have flown Lufthansa many times before, and checked several boxes of wine at a time and have never had a problem with them.  Flying the wine home as checked luggage will be the cheapest way to get your wine home, with the benefit of the wine being there when you arrive in PDX.

      Getting the wine home is simple, but there are steps you’ll need to take. Here’s how I would do it. Print this out and take it with you:

      • Upon arrival in Italy, find an MBE office (the Italian Mail Boxes Etc chain) and buy one or more 12-bottle shipper boxes and a roll of shipping tape.  Boxes cost around 10-15 euro, and the tape is a few euro more.
      • Use the wine shipper as you accumulate wine on your trip, it’s the safest way to store it while you’re traveling. You *can* get the boxes towards the end of your trip and just carry the wine around with you in their original boxes until then, but in order to ship the wine on the airline you must buy and use an approved wine shipper. MBE has them, as do a few wineries & wine shops.
      • When you’re ready to fly home, box up the wine & tape it well, then write your last name, home airport & phone number on it in several places. I carry a Sharpie pen with me when I travel so it’s easy to do this and very legible — this matters if your wine misses an airline connection or otherwise gets lost.  So for you, write something like HOLMES / PDX / +1-503-xxx-xxxx.  You don’t need to put your home address on the box.
      • Plan to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight leaves.  More is better, especially out of Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
      • When you check in at the airport, bring the wine box(es) and check in as you normally would.  If (when) the Lufthansa agent asks you “what’s in the box?” just tell the agent “vini eccelenti.” 🙂 The agent will place a bag tag on the box and give you the tracking tag – keep this in case your bags/boxes are lost in transit, you’ll need them.
      • Depending upon airport rules, they may take your wine box then and there, sending it on its way, or ask you to take it to a special oversized baggage scanner.  If they do the latter, they will scan it and send it on its way.
      • Once checked, breathe a sigh of relief – your wine is on its way home.
      • When you land in San Francisco (or first port of call in the US), you will need to clear Customs and Immigration. You will need to collect your bags and wine box and tell the Immigration/Customs officer that you have wine.  They may ask you to pay a duty (about 21 cents/bottle), but it is very unlikely so long as the wine is for your personal consumption.  Once you clear Customs, re-check your bag for your last flight to PDX.
        • If for some reason your bags or wine get delayed or lost in transit, just go to the airline lost-luggage counter and file a report as you would normally do. Odds are good that the bags/wine just missed a connection, and it will show up at your home in a few days.
      • When you get home, open a bottle and toast to memories of your grand Italian adventure!

      Let me know how your trip goes — Have a great time, and feel free to ping me if you need help along the way.


      Michael Horne, CS
      Los Gatos, CA USA
    • #4712

      Michael- You are incredible.

      This was the most wonderful information filled response I have ever received in my 3 years of trip planning! I will follow your directions to the T and could not be more grateful for your help!!

      Thank you again, immensely, for your kind words and exceptional help!

      Best wishes,
      An overly excited (and now prepared!) traveler
      – Austyn Holmes

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