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Making It Hard For The Rest Of Us

I once had a heck of a time getting some wine back from Australia. Without getting into the long drawn-out saga of it, suffice it to say that because of some mis-information from a winery down under, I ended up having to hire a customs broker to help me get my wine into the country. Actually I just needed the customs broker to get it out of a container at one end of San Francisco International Airport and into my car. The irony is that the same wine, in the same quantity, carried on a plane by me, or even put into my luggage would have breezed through customs without even a sideways glance. I've since learned my lesson and I never ship wine back to myself.

Now my habit of packing a case or two into my checked or carry-on luggage may be in jeopardy. In fact, all wine lovers are now likely to be scrutinized a bit harder after a couple of bozos tried to sneak a bunch of cocaine into Australia in wine bottles. Apparently half an inch of glass is no match for the nose of a drug sniffing dog, however, and they were nabbed on the spot. Luckily, Australia is not at war. Last time I checked (OK not really, but I've seen enough movies) cocaine (a fine white powder) looks a lot like Anthrax (a fine white powder). Had these two been trying to get this stuff into JFK, they'd likely have been shot on the spot.

In any case, wine lovers, make sure to fill out those customs forms accurately, and remember: no wine is so bad that you have to add cocaine to it.

Comments (1)

11.28.05 at 8:30 PM

I second Alder's recommendation and will add that it has proven to make sense to bring a print-out of the customs regulations.

In California the limits for private consumption are rather generous but not all customs officials are aware of this fact.

If you declare your bottles (highly recommended!) and show them the print-out you should be fine, even with a few cases.

The white powder on the other hand will not be echoed by a warm welcome but should instead earn you a set of shiny bracelets,- print-out or no print-out.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.