I tend to travel home with lots of bottles. Rum, pisco, cachaça, wine, etc. When I’m in Mendoza in particular, I tend to be stretching the limit of my legally allowed alcohol allowance. Also, considering if you are not buying from Duty Free and if you have a connecting flight in the United States, wine cannot be transported in your hand luggage. It has to be packed. Although I’ve never had a bottle brake in transit, I know it is coming.
Vines of Mendoza (read our interview with founder Michael Evans here) is a wine entrepreneurship program where owners buy plots of vineyards and help as much (or as little) as they want in the wine making process while acclaimed viticulturalist Santiago Achaval handles the rest. The brand has become one of the most recognized in the city with their incredible tasting room in the center, vinoteca at the Hyatt, wine club, online wine store, and soon a resort and spa at their vineyards in the Uco Valley. I met Emily Camblin, the Director of Marketing at Vines, the last time I was in Mendoza, and wanted to hear her thoughts.
Vines of Mendoza’s Tasting Room beside the Hyatt sells bottles from around Mendoza and Argentina, but will you also ship wine back to the states? How does it work?
Emily Camblin: Yes, The Vines has made the process very easy for you to source the best boutique wines from Argentina. We carefully select all of our wines for The Vines Tasting Room and Vinoteca through blind tastings and then work with the wineries to comply with all regulatory logistics to import the wines into the US. We send a container 4 times a year to our warehouse in Napa where we are then able to ship to 23 different states. This makes it effortless and fast to receive the wines desired.
Apart from buying Argentinean wine in the states and ordering from a wine club, what is the best way to bring wine home from Mendoza?
EC: The best way is to pack your wines in a wine packing box that has a styrofoam insert that can then be checked as a piece of luggage. These packages can be purchased from The Vines of Mendoza and several other stores, as well as DHL, here in Mendoza. If you would like to ship the wines yourself you can also go directly to the DHL location and have them ship the wines, however this is subject to customs and duties.
As far as packaging, what works best?
EC: There are two options, depending on how much wine you would like to take back. If it is just a bottle or two, you can use a wine skin, which is a sealable plastic coated bubble wrap package that is fitted to a wine bottle. The other option is to obtain a wine shipping box for 6 to 12 bottles with the styrofoam insert.
What are the custom regulations for bringing wine back to the United States from Argentina? How many bottles of wine can be brought back per person?
EC: Yes, you can check your wines as luggage or securely package them in your checked luggage. Customs and Border Protection limits you to one liter of alcohol free of tax. Above that you will be taxed 3% duty on the wines. You can read here to get some more information “Know before you go.”
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.