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Buying bottles of wine at Barcelona airport

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Baltimore, MD
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Buying bottles of wine at Barcelona airport

Just finished a fabulous vacation in Barcelona. I was planning to purchase wine at the airport as I have done in Italy. Will I be allowed to carry it on with me if I buy it at the duty free shops at the Barcelona airport? How many bottles per person will I be permitted to bring into the USA? Thank you for your assistance!

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1. Re: Buying bottles of wine at Barcelona airport

You are allowed 1 liter of alcohol (per person) in your duty exemption. After one liter, you could technically be asked to pay duty (tax) on the extra alcohol. There is not an exact maximum amount you can bring in (unless your state has one) but excessive amounts may trigger suspicion that you are illegally importing for commercial purposes (I suspect it takes a lot of alcohol to trigger that).

New England
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2. Re: Buying bottles of wine at Barcelona airport

I would suggest you research what the actual duty on wine is coming into the USA. I believe it is based on volume and not value. Also if you decare any excess it is possible the customs officer may decide not to go through the motions of charging the tax. I would suggest doing some research on this site:


From my experience in other European wine producing nations, you may well get better prices and selections in the city itself. Air travelers often think they are getting better deals at duty free shops. Sometimes this is true, but oftentimes the opposite applies.

I have got great amusement on many occasions from seeing prices at duty free shops for wine, spirits etc. Perhaps someone else can weigh in here.

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3. Re: Buying bottles of wine at Barcelona airport

Good point on prices at duty free shops Duncan. I would also argue that you will have a better selection if you shop in the city. Some of the small producing vineyards whose wines you can enjoy at a little wine bar or restaurant are not going to be available at the duty free shop.

Exemption is based on volume; duty is based on value. The duty is a 3% flat rate on value, up to $1000 of goods (alcohol and other) beyond your exemptions. If you surpass $1000, there are variable rates that apply to different items, and I have no idea what those are.

So if you bring back 2 liters of wine, both worth $100, one of those liters will fall under your personal exemption. If you do not exceed $1,000 of goods over your exemption, that second bottle will cost you $3 in duty. Payable, I believe, by cash or check, credit card at limited locations.

Edited: 19 August 2011, 01:14
Barcelona, Spain
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4. Re: Buying bottles of wine at Barcelona airport

I confirm the airport is not the best place to buy wine... a few times I bought some bottles of wine or cava to bring as presents, I had no other option as I was traveling with only hand luggage. Less choice and even without the taxes its not cheaper than buying in town.

Edited: 19 August 2011, 01:45
5. Re: Buying bottles of wine at Barcelona airport

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