Shipping, Border, Import Laws

Moving to Canada with your Wine Cellar

This article describes the process for moving to Canada and importing your wine collection. It focuses on British Columbia but the general procedure should be applicable in other provinces (although you will need to check).

If you are moving to BC from another country, you can import your wine collection into BC as part of your household goods so long as you have owned the wine for at least 6 months prior to your move. However, you must follow the proper procedure involving the BC Liquor Distribution Branch and Canada Customs.

Prior to your move, you need to contact the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, Excise & Customs Special Services. 

You will need to provide the LDB with a detailed breakdown of the wine (or other liquor) that you are planning to import with you. You need to identify the product, the bottle size, quantity and the alcohol content for each wine. The LDB will then complete the necessary Customs paperwork so that duties can be calculated and the wine can be released to you by Customs once it arrives in Canada. 

The current provincial charges for British Columbia are approximately as follows:


Sparkling Wine  $3.00  per 750 ml bottle 
Fortified Wine $3.00  per 750 ml bottle
Table Wine  $2.00  per 750 ml bottle
Spirits $8.00  per 750 ml bottle

There will also be some federal excise/duty charges as well as GST and PST.

There is currently no limit on the size of your wine cellar so if you are moving from a country with lower wine and liquor prices, you may want to ensure that you take advantage of the above system.

These markups are exceptionally favourable compared to the regular duties and taxes that are charged on wine coming into Canada. Of course, you should ensure all product was purchased more than 6 months prior to your move (this should pose shopping opportunities if timed correctly!).

You can ship the wine with your household goods or separately (must be within a year). You may wish to consider using a specialty wine shipper if you have a very valuable collection as you will likely have no control over the handling and temperature of the rest of your goods while they are being shipped. Temperatures in Canada can be extreme during the winter and summer and your collection could be damaged. If you ship your wine separately, you must notify the LDB and ensure that this is noted on the applicable Customs documents. Otherwise, there will be no record that the wine is coming as part of your household goods and you will not qualify for the favourable import system.

Please contact me if you have any questions. 

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