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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, November 03 2009. 14:45

Blog: Allow 6 Bottles of DF Wine on Arrival

Indian Customs allow two liters of whisky or wine duty-free for tourists on arrival at the international airports whereas duty-free goods worth Rs.25, 000 are allowed otherwise. I believe the limit on duty free wine should be raised to six bottles, for equitable justice.

a suggested cache of wines from Cascina Castelet near Torino in Piedmont, equivalent of 6-bottles

During my return from Singapore a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to see almost every other passenger carry big boxes of 32-46 inch LCD TVs.  Looking at the rest of the baggage accompanying them, it was a fair assumption that there were some commercial interests behind the purchase. But if the law allows it- why not, one shrugged off.

But the allowance of 2 liters of whisky/wine does seem a little unfair. But I did think of section 147 of our constitution which encourages all states to discourage alcohol sales and to be fair, most countries do have a limit on the duty-free alcoholic beverages entry.

But if it is the alcohol that is of concern for setting the limit, then the government needs to be more equitable and fair to the people bringing alcohol. Whisky, vodka and other hard liquors have on an average an alcoholic content of above 40%. Wine on the other hand has 13% alcohol by volume. This means that one bottle of whisky has an average of 3 times or more alcohol by volume than that in a bottle of wine.

The government should use the logic to increase the duty free limit to 3 bottles in lieu of a bottle of hard liquor. In place of 2 bottles of whisky, 6 bottles of wine-simple mathematics!! Actually, if one looks deeper and calculates, it works out to around 8 bottles as whisky allowed is in 1-liter bottles whereas wine is generally 750mL in each bottle-unless it is a magnum which is 1.5 liters.

During my various winetravels overseas, I am generally loaded with samples by wineries for tasting. I try to bring around 4-5 bottles and refuse any more quantity. The x-ray check at the airport sometimes puts an x-mark on my bag, which many frequent travelers know about and simply rub off.

I leave it on intentionally and invariably am stopped by the customs officer. Most of the times, they understand my logic and let me go since I do not normally carry any other gifts; despite my trips to Singapore I bought my TV at the local store. Sometimes, they direct me to the senior officer who appreciates my reasoning that sampling is the key in wine marketing and lets me go without payment of any duty.

But he does not have the authority to change the law-that has to come from the ministry. Could some of our readers carry our message to the right sources? The additional side benefit would be a tremendous boost to the sales at the local duty free shops as people would find it convenient to pick up a 6-pack on arrival. There might be then better storage and more variety available too.

It is ironic that the immigration form on arrival form screams ‘Incredible India!’ on top. Methinks it is really incredible! Does the whisky loving nation understand the concept of alcohol in a bottle? Incredible!

Subhash Arora



Mayukh Dewan Says:

my sentiments exactly. i do face the same situation every time i arrive in india. this matter need to be looked at and discussed in detail by the ministries concerned.

Posted @ November 07, 2009 12:58


Remie Says:

Singapore/Malaysia is much better. It is 1 litre BEER, wine or hard liquor.

Posted @ November 07, 2009 11:36


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