If you’ve ever attempted to bring wine into British Columbia from the U.S., you’ve probably experienced some frustration on at least one occasion.
What is the actual cost to bring wine into B.C. from the U.S.? What will the duty be? Do I have to pay it? Can I bring bottles across for free? Can I save money buying in the U.S.? The answer to these questions are not always clear.
What we know for sure is that you’re allowed two duty-free bottles of wine, per adult, after you’ve stayed in the U.S. for at least 48 hours. If you haven’t stayed in the U.S. for 48 hours, you’ll most likely have to pay the import duty, which caps at $13.22 CAD (any wine over $11 USD will qualify for the cap). You will also be required to pay the GST (goods and services tax) and PST (provincial sales tax), currently listed at a total of 15% for B.C. in 2018. However, it is important to note that you are also required to pay this tax on top of any purchase at the BC Liquor Store. So, if all things are equal you could simply say it will cost you $13.22 CAD more for any wine over $11 USD. This is not such a great deal if you are bringing across a bottle of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, but a very good deal if it’s a bottle of Chateau Petrus.
Imported wines such as Bordeaux and Tuscan wines, tend to be cheaper in the U.S. even after paying border fees. California, Oregon and Washington wines tend to be a mixed bag. The key is to check.
To help simplify what the cost may be (and to keep you from having to do too much math), we developed our Wine Import Calculator to show you the cost difference when buying a specific wine in Canada vs. the U.S. (after applicable tax, duty, and foreign exchange). Simply enter the purchase price in Canada ($CAD) and in the U.S. ($USD) to get the FINAL take home price in $CAD. Give it a try!
After opening Border Wine Storage we received a lot of questions surrounding the confusion of bringing wine across the border. While not every bottle will be cheaper if purchased in the U.S., you will have a much better selection and our calculator can help you determine where your best bet is when you decide to buy. The next time you’re at your favorite U.S. winery wishing you could stock up on some wines only available at the winery or join the wine club, keep in mind our facility can provide you with a U.S. shipping address that allows B.C. wine enthusiasts to buy in the U.S. and store it close to home.