How to move to Canada from the US with a wine collection

We are moving back to Victoria after spending the last 20 years in San Francisco. We have a sizeable (~400 bottles) wine collection that we have built up over the years and would like to bring with us. I know you are normally only allowed two bottles of wine each when entering Canada. Can we bring our large wine collection into Canada when immigrating?

Good question, it sounds like you took full advantage of the proximity to Napa Valley over the past 20 years. Bringing wine into the country upon immigration is not difficult if you follow the right procedures and have your paperwork in order for customs. It also is incredibly cost effective as wine in BC is some of the most expensive in the world. The combined Provincial/Federal tax will be around

$3/CAD per bottle (~$10/bottle for spirits) in BC.

The process is going to involve the following three steps:

  1. List the number of bottles of wine you are planning on importing. Input these into the Settler Alcohol Template (attached below). Note: You only need to input the “Date of Possession” if you have purchased the wine in the last 6 months.
  2. Email the completed form to This form will then be emailed back to you and a provincial Liquor Fee Invoice will be issued to you. You will also be sent a Federal B3 form. This form will cover the Federal Import Tax you need to pay. If you have any questions filling out the required paperwork, call Lynn Montgomery of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch @ 252.3345.
  3. These two forms will be presented to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)when the wine arrives at the border. Upon arrival, the tax is paid and the wine will be released to you. If you are using an importing or moving company to bring the wine into Victoria, you will have to pick up the wine at the local CBSA location in Sydney, BC and pay the tax before the wine will be

One thing of note, you only have one year from the time you land in Canada to bring your “goods” across the border at the lower tax rate. After which, you would have to file for a Casual Importation Permit. This limits the amount of wine to 5 cases, but more importantly the associated import tax on the bottles jumps to 116% of the value of the wine. So a $10 bottle of wine will cost $11.60 in import tax! Moral of the story is: You must complete the paperwork and import within one year of landing in Canada.

Hopefully this helps answer your question on importing wine into Canada. On a side note, we will happily accept any wine donations tax free .

Cheers, Chris

Chris Stooksbury, is a financial advisor with both Raymond James Canada and Raymond James (USA) Ltd. He specializes in cross-border asset management and financial advisory.

The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Raymond James. This article is for information only. Raymond James Ltd. member of Canadian Investor Protection Fund.Raymond James (USA) Ltd. member FINRA/SIPC. Raymond James (USA) Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raymond James Ltd. Information in this article is from sources believed to be reliable; however, we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete. It is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice or solicitation to buy or sell securities. The views are those of the author, Chris Stooksbury, and not necessarily those of Raymond James Ltd. Investors considering any investment should consult with their investment advisor to ensure that it is suitable for the investor’s circumstances and risk tolerance before making any investment decision. Raymond James Ltd. is a Member Canadian Investor Protection Fund.