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Importing Wine from Spain to the US

Managing the international import of wine from Spain is a simple process but worth knowing to avoid problems.

Before creating the order and load the merchandise onto a carrier the INCOTERM code to be used needs to be agreed between the seller and the buyer. Although the international maritime transport it is not our responsibility if it has been made under EXW, CFR or FOB terms. It should be kept in mind to avoide later problems that could arise:

  • American Importer are licensed to sell alcohol and therefore have available the import license
  • Labelling according to American regulations to avoid problems at customs
  • Taxes and levies of which are three, consumption tax and VAT and duties

Once the transaction details have been confirmed and the conditions of import decided the wine import process proceeds to the international maritime transport management stage.

When the goods are ready for import, the documentation for the shipment of international wine merchandise will be prepared. It will requires that the winery to including with the carrier or attach to the original invoice the DA500 (a accompanying document that protects the movement of goods subject to excise duty as is the case with alcohol). When the goods go to dock to be loaded on the ship that made the international export of the goods shall be sealed by the Civil Guard and is indicated “SEE ARRIVE”. With this seal the shipment of wine can pass customs clearance formalities for import and ready to be shipped internationally.

International transport can take from 7 to 15 days to arrive at New York and up to 40 days to San Francisco depending on the container shipping service that has been contract, this long distance may result in damage to the wine by heat or cold. When the product is of high quality and there are extreme conditions (heat) it is advisable to take some measures to protect from damage. A reefer or refrigerated container can be very expensive to use, 4 or 5 times more than a normal container. Special covers are available for containers known as thermal blankets, these insulate the container and therefore the merchandise from the heat than can arise with ocean transport during the shipping process, and for a much cheaper price.

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