Travelling to Italy - Worth of/how to get wine home (Repost)

This was posted amidst the spam, so i'm bumping it...
My mother is going to Italy in September. Before I hand her money and ask her to start hunting for my favorites, I wonder if some of you know the answers to the following:
1) How much cheaper will the wine be? Take a Barolo that costs $50 here, what will it cost there?
2) How much can you ship home, and how much can you take home? I live in MA, but have friends that I could ship to in NH and CT.
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I'm not sure the price difference (if there is one) is worth the hassle of carrying or shipping the wine home. How many bottles were you anticipating purchasing? It's been my experience that unless it's a really unique wine that never makes it to the US that most all of the normal bottlings can be purchased in the States at or near the price in Italy allowing for currency exchange, taxes, shipping, etc. Bi!!
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The operative word for shopping is Vecchio, by now almost all the 1988-1990 wines are gone from shelves in the US. Get a good vintage chart that breaks Italy down into regions and have your mom look for age worthy reds from 1970 -1990. If you stick to Barolo, Barbaresco, Chianti Riserva, Brunello, Carmignano, Vino Nobile and Amarone you'll have some real gems. In the south Mastroberandino's Taurasi Riserva and Lungarotti's Monticchio aree collectables. In this day and age a search of the internet for shops in cities your mom would visit would be good preparation. For new wines prices should be significantly lower because there is no exporter or importer to add theier 10-30 gross profit to the enoteca price.
-- Joe "Beppe" Rosenberg
Reply to
Joe Beppe Rosenberg
In article ,
There's a barolo that costs only $50 here?
I am somewhat joking, but I know that the Wall Street Journal (or maybe New Yorker?) has a periodic review of wine where they compare, say, white burgundies or California zinfandels. The limit that they will spend on any given wine is $50. When they reviewed barolo they couldn't find enough wines under $50 to complete the flight so they had to raise their self-imposed cap!
I have seen barolo priced rather cheaply, but something tells me it is not worth drinking.
Reply to
D. Gerasimatos
I just bought 8 bottles of Ceretto Barolo Zonchera '96 for $28 each in NH. I find them to be among my favorite. I should have gotten 4 more of something and I could have got the 10% discount too.
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Great advice, thanks Joe. I'm going to call her and ask which cities she's visiting... Should I have her look for wines that are from the city that she's in at the time? Or are they all pretty well diffused.
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My experience in the 80's & 90s were that in places like Venice, Verona, Milan, Florence & Rome there was an ecumenical selection but enotecas in places like the Langhe, Aosta and chianti country specialized almost exclusively in local wines. I made some of my best buys in restaurants and wineries who wanted to liquidate inventory for $$$s. For that you'd have to be there yourself. But I paid the equivalent of $20 US for a Sassiacia (82?) when wholesale for this wine was $35 in Maryland. Enetoca de Rham in Florence is probably on line by now and is a treasure trove of unique wines.
Shipping home is more difficult now then when I was buying out Italy. What I did since I was ITB was arrange for local importers to ship my booty back for me, this assumes customs doesn't demand a specific bill of lading for these "samples". Airport customs were usually forgiving about excess amounts of wine; nobody in the 80s or 90s wanted to hold up a line of returning tourists to collect a few extra bucks for the US Treasury. It also helped that I was a past president of the same union as many of the customs guys and wore my past presidents pin when I had to go through customs, even people who belonged to the rival NTEU usually waived me through.
-- Joe "Beppe" Rosenberg
Reply to
Joe Beppe Rosenberg
Prices are somewhat lower but shipping is complicated and expensive enough that you probably wouldn't find it worthwhile. So you're pretty much limited to what your mother is willing to lug around ;^) One technique employed by people who want to bring wine back is to take a wine shipper (the kind with they styrofoam insert) and check it as baggage, empty going out and filled up coming back. Only one liter (in other words, one bottle) of wine or other alcoholic beverage is allowed to be included in they duty free $800 allowance but the taxes charged on additional wine is very small and almost never collected. If you have your mother bring wine back for you, she should keep track of what she's spent and how much she has - it all goes better if you're completely upfront at at customs.
- Mark W,
Reply to
Mark Willstatter

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