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Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

Washington DC...
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Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

I'm compiling a list of souvenirs to bring back to friends. I'd like to pick up a bottle of Hungarian wine in one of the duty free shops in 2A at the airport. However, I'm not a wine drinker, so I'd appreciate if someone could recommend a descent Hungarian red wine that I'm likely to find at the duty free shop. If it helps, I'm buying this for a friend really likes Cabernets.

Budapest, Hungary
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1. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

The best all round Hungarian wine region is Villany, anything from there should be fine: one of their better wineries is Vylyan, and there will almost certainly be some of theirs in the shops.

You will probably find Thummerer, from near Eger, another excellent winery, which I have had the pleasure of visiting.

You will also not go wrong with Bock, one of Hungary's top wineries.

nyc, usa
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2. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

i assume that you are conscious of the interface between european and US rules on duty free liquids on planes ... if your flight involves a connection in the USA you have to go through baggage claim and customs in the city of entry, and then transfer to your new flight, which will not allow the duty free liquids on the flight as carry-on baggage

separately, there is no real price savings at the airport and, although the new shops in Terminal 2 include some lovely shops with interesting and unusual gifts, but the range of wines available in wine shops in Budapest, like Bortarsasag and In Vino Veritas, is considerably more extensive. If you shop in the city and carry your purchases home in your checked bags you may well come out ahead.

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

To clarify John's point: I, too, have never found the wines or palinka to be a bargain in the duty free shops in B-pest. There are a number of other very nice things you can pick up last minute which can exemplify your trip. It is also a chance to get those items you thought you'd "go back to get" but never did. I especially like to get high quality ties and the hand made lace items which are light and don't take up any room in the carry-ons.

The question of wine and security is a bit more complex. If you are just grabbing a bottle or two to take back to the UK...no problem. However, If you have checked all your bags and then intend to carry a duty free bag back from B-pest to the US, it is probably not going to happen. Unless you have a direct flight from B-pest to Wash. D.C., you will stop in Paris, A-dam, Frankfurt, London, etc. After arrival, you walk though the airport to departures. Here you will be stopped before you get on your AA/DTL/UA flight for home. Unless you bought 3 ounce bottles of wine, they will tell you to either check them (not an option at this point) drink them or throw them away. Much better to go to one of the fine wine shops in B-pest and have the bottles put in cardboard sleeves with bubble wrap for your checked luggage.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

Thanks Gentlemen for that warning. I just assumed that liquids purchased after going thru security and officially sealed by the duty free store would get me thru as it did last year when flying from Madrid to DC (connected in London).

Phoenix, Arizona
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5. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

bgray: As you probably know, the "pre-screening" rules change continually. Also, not to spread rumors, but it has been said the French are especially stringent on wines in transit from other countries. These are the same countries France fought virulently to keep out of the EU.

nyc, usa
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6. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

Actually, to clarify my point further ...

My understanding is that you'll be fine all through Europe with your duty free liquids, as you were Madrid-DC

The problem arises if your connection is in the USA; if so, then you will have to go through US customs at the city of entry and after that will not be able to get on a subsequent flight with the liquids in carry-on bags

No if your flight's first US stop is DC that should be ok; if it is, say, NYC with a change there to a plane to DC, you'll have a problem.

I more or less assumed that you were flying straight into DC, but not everyone is flying back to the city listed in their TA profile, and in any event others reading this might not be aware of the somewhat archaic way that flight changes for travelers from the EU arriving within the USA are treated.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

John,

Thanks for that tidbit. Interestingly, I was planning to fly to Budapest from DC going thru NYC on American Airlines, but last month AA eliminated it's direct flights, so now I'm flying Lufthansa with layovers both ways in German cities.

Budapest, Hungary
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8. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

Whatever the mechanics of your flight, I agree with John F and the others that a trip to a wine shop in Budapest will be cheaper, and have more choice. Bortarsasag have several stores in the city, your hotel should be able to find the nearest for you.

nyc, usa
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9. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

And then there's the question of carrying wine in checked baggage, without marinating one's shirts and underwear when the bottles break. When I bring back a half dozen bottles I have developed the routine of putting them in an inexpensive six bottle cloth wine carrier and placing that inside a semi-rigid carry-on bag, within a large suitcase with soft stuff all around it. Nothing has ever broken. On individual bottles, ask the wine shop if they have bubble wrap or something like it to wrap around the wine and then I place it inside a plastic bag,or ideally inside a small carry-on inside a larger suitcase, and surround it by the softest stuff in my suitcase.

I also have become a devotee of those shrink-wrapping machines that you see in some airports (and that are available at Liszt); by squeezing your bag comparatively tightly, but safely, things don't jostle against each other and fragile things basically never break...

Washington DC...
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10. Re: Buying Hungarian Wine at Airport Duty Free Shop

I found that amazon.com sells a product called the "Wine Diaper". It's a padded and absorbent product that has gotten good reviews. I think I'll try this.