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Snooth User: Traudel

Importing wine from Germany to Ohio for personal use

Posted by Traudel, Mar 14, 2011.

Has anyone figured out how to import wine from Germany to Ohio for personal use?  I have researched indepth with US Customs and Border Control,  TTTB, State of Ohio Liquor Control. These federal and state institutions tell me that for private use, i.e. not for resale, I do not need an import license and do not have to follow the labeling requirements, but have to pay the import tax for quantities over the duty-free limits (which is not very much), and the State of Ohio wants an exise tax and restricts the quantity to 15 gals. per household per 3-months period.

I cannot find a company that would handle the transportation.  US Postal Service is not allowed to transport alcoholic beverages, and UPS, DHL, FedEx etc. don't want to deal with a private person.

Also, the wineries in Germany seem to think there is "too much problem" with shipping wine to the US.  I have not found out what exactly these "problems" are.  If it is legal to import wine for private use, there should be a way to do it.  ANY ONE HAS INTEREST, OR HAVE IDEAS OR SUGGESTIONS, OR EVEN SUCCESS IN THIS MATTER?  I would love to hear from you!

Traudel in Ohio


Reply by duncan 906, Mar 14, 2011.

Do American shops not sell German wine?

Reply by Traudel, Mar 14, 2011.

Yes, but not the kind I have come to like living in the Pfalz region of Germany.  I have a couple of favorite wineries which are not set up for doing big export business. That's why I am trying to find a way to get it here to Ohio.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 16, 2011.

Americans have not taken hugely to German wine, and I can't imagine that Ohio is better generally on wine issues than some of the coastal areas.  It's clear Traudel has looked into more conventional ways of obtaining these wines and hasn't had much luck.  BUT don't ignore the possibility that you could order them from an overseas retailer or distributor that already knows how to handle these issues because they ship wines from other parts of the world to the US. Why not a retailer in Pfalz itself who already stocks the wines and might have shipped to customers like you who have relocated to the US?  I did notice that Rudi Wiest only has two wineries from Pfalz on the site, vonBuhl and Pfeffingen. But there are probably importers elsewhere, like England, that carry these wines.

One big problem doing this yourself is that the wineries don't sound very interested.  Someone still has to pack and ship the wine, even if you deal with the customs/taxes problems.  If they don't want to do it, it's a problem.

Shipping is a problem, too--you can't be sure the wine will be treated right if there's no distributor or retailer who takes the hit for it going bad.  I think once it leaves the winery, they are going to say title passed to you and you have no recourse to them. So if it is cooked when it gets here, you're money is wasted.  If it's broken, the seal is compromised, any of that, you assume the risk.

One other possibility:  Go into business importing these wines.  If they have a market (hey, lots of Germans from Ohio--I was born there and my dad is half-German) or you can make it a market, you already have some evangelical zeal if you are willing to import it yourself.  If you can move more product than you would drink, maybe the winery would be more interested.  But before you go down that road, might want to ask GregT how that works out.  As we all know, the best way to be a millionaire in the wine business is to start out with two million.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 16, 2011.

Traudel:  What wines are we speaking of?  If you name them, someone here might know a retailer somewhere that you could contact...

Reply by Traudel, Mar 23, 2011.

Hi Foxall: Thanks for your message, I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness.

Regarding the wine I have in mind:  For a start, they are the wines of  Weingut Unckrich located in Kallstadt a.d.W. which means "an der Weinstrasse".  I found their wines here on Snooth, but no current availability. I know the family personally.  They are not so hot about the tribulations of exporting, but I know some of their wines are coming to the U.S. via Glazer's Wholesale Distributors of Dalls, Texas. From them I was able to learn that the wines I am after are available at retail in Houston and some other Texas cities. My inquiries about specific retail stores remained without response. I am not sure if there are still some restrictions about shipping wine across states are going on, as rediculous this seems to be.

I am a native German and when I and my all American husband fell in love with each other the Pfalz wine became an important part of the Gemuetlichkeit we were able to share and appreciate with our friends.I a trying to get beyond the conflicting information I receive from various Customs and Border Protection and broker and logistics companies. I am tenatious and will not take no for an answer. But so far it has been frustrating.

Perhaps through this forum I will be successful. I can't wait to share the success.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 24, 2011.

Seine Englisch ist besser als meine Deutsch, nicht wahr? Glad you are being persistent in your efforts.  I think the best hope is to convince one of those retailers in Dallas or Houston to sell it to you and ship it.  Once they have it in their hands, the US govt is not involved.  States have their own laws, but I am pretty sure the sending state (TX) won't prohibit shipping, since they are collecting revenue.  It's the receiving state that usually prohibits shipping because the distributors in that state have convinced the legislature that it will harm their business.  Dealing with the small winery, trying to get a straight answer from customs (who are inundated and prefer to deal with wholesalers for obvious reasons, and who are probably getting calls about Japanese products from people who have no business calling them), and taking all that on yourself sounds like a last resort.  Now that we know the winery, maybe some other Snoothers can tell you whether they have seen it locally.  This sounds like something that GregT or GDD, who make all or part of their living in the wine world, might know.  Guys, does anyone in your part of the world carry, import, sell this wine?

Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Mar 24, 2011.


Reply by caribenews, Apr 7, 2011.

as for importing wine from germany try: 

Reply by ktwo, May 29, 2011.

I recently visited Germany and I am trying to import wine.  Luckily I have a friend over there who is willing to drop of my cases to FedEx...and I have a FedEx account number I can use to ship the wine.  I am shipping to Texas (where I live) and it looks this is all I ahve to do:

1) According to the state of Texas, I can import no more 3 gallons per 30 days for personal use.

2) I must use my FedEx account and fill out the proper forms and pay the duties electronically, and have my friend pack the wine in FedEx approved container so the bottles won't get damaged.  Then write "wine" on the box and drop it off to FedEx.

I'll post again when I actually ship it in case there's something I missed.

Reply by s71charger, Sep 21, 2011.


When you do find out, please let me know. I was station in baumholder for three years and was a dependent for 6 yrs and this last time that I was over there, I found a Weingut named jean marie shultz with the best reislings I have ever tasted. I wound up turning alot of my friends on it. Jean Marie's Ortega Spatlese is out of this world, and this doesnt account for his trocken beerenauslese or his ice wine. This is truly the drink of the gods. His Weingut was in bingen.

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