Importing wine into Mexico
The standards for travelers bringing wine into Mexico are very simple. Unlike other products, such as perishable goods, there is no rule as to which brands of wine you can carry in a suitcase, as long as the containers are properly sealed and labeled according to the standards of the country of origin. However, there is a quantity limit of 6 liters of wine (and 3 liters for all other alcoholic beverages).
To bring more than 6 liters of wine into the country, the requirements are more specific. There are several documents that must be submitted, some of which are easier to obtain than others. This is why we recommend hiring a highly-skilled logistics company who can help you with all of the necessary processes and requirements.
Basic documentation needed
Dante and Angie are two young Mexican entrepreneurs who have been traveling through Europe. They have sampled several different Spanish wines and have decided to sell some of them in Mexico. However, they are somewhat confused about Mexico’s requirements for importing wine. Dante and Angie must work closely with their respective suppliers from the very beginning, since many documents need to be handled by the exporters at the point of origin (in this case, Spain). So, which documents will Dante and Angie need to begin this process?
- Inscription in the Registry of Importers: Both Dante and Angie will definitely need this registration. This document allows them to import wine into Mexico. Learn more about the requirements for inscription in Mexico’s Registry of Importers by clicking here [Spanish link only].
- Certificate of Free Sale and Consumption: Dante and Angie must have authorization from the owners of the brands of wine they wish to import and sell on the Mexican market. Learn about the Certificate of Free Sale and Consumption and how to obtain one by clicking here [Spanish link only].
- Quality and Health Inspection Certificate: The Mexican government requires all product brands to meet certain quality and health standards. Each country issues its own type of certificate. Dante and Angie must obtain this document from the wineries that produce the wines they wish to import and sell in Mexico. For wine, the designation of origin (DO) document itself contains this quality seal. This certificate also lists the wine’s alcohol by volume content, which determines its HTS (harmonized tariff schedule) classification. This classification is used to determine the Special Tax on Production and Services Introduced to Mexican Territory (IEPS in Spanish), which must be paid in addition to final taxes.
- International Phytosanitary Certificate: This document goes alongside the Quality and Health Certificate and certifies that the product is free from pesticides or added chemicals. Learn more about the steps needed to obtain an International Phytosanitary Certificate.
- Certificate of Origin: This is not to be confused with the designation of origin (DO), since many times different grape vines from the same area can be used to produce wines registered in another DO. The customs tariff when entering Mexico will vary as a function of the treaty or commercial agreement Mexico has entered into with the wine’s country of origin. The exporter in Spain may prepare the Certificate of Origin through the Chamber of Commerce [Spanish link only].
- EUR.1 Certificate: This document states the origin of European Union products with regard to countries with which the EU has a Free Trade Agreement, as is the case for Mexico. It determines a specific tariff benefit and can be processed from any European country that is a member of the European Union. In Spain, which is where Dante and Angie are obtaining the wine, EUR.1 is processed using the following link [Spanish link only].
- Export Certificate: Naturally, the winery must be certified to export its products. Each country has different guidelines to obtain this certificate. In Spain, wineries must obtain an export certificate from the Enological Research Station for their respective DO.
Other documents needed for shipping
Dante only wants to import a small quantity of wine to Mexico – 3 boxes of 12 bottles each – to get a feel for the experience. Angie, on the other hand, has decided to go all in and wants to import two pallets with 60 boxes of wine each.
The first thing to remember is that the total cost of shipping will depend on the quantity of wine imported. Whether the goods are shipped by air or ocean, both Dante and Angie will need additional documents for their shipments.
- For Dante, who only wants to import a small amount of wine, the best option is air transport. His three boxes will be available at the destination in Mexico in just a few days. Dante will need an Air Waybill (AWB), which is a document issued by the airline authorizing the shipment.
- For Angie, on the other hand, the best option is to ship the two pallets by ocean transport. It will take longer, but cost less than sending the wine by air. Angie will need a Bill of Lading (BOL), which is a document that shipping companies issue for each shipment they carry.
Both Dante and Angie will also need the following documents:
- Transportation insurance: Like any insurance policy, this document must include the name of the insurance company and the terms of coverage. It must be either in the exporter’s name (in this case, the specific winery in Spain) or the importer’s name (Dante or Angie), depending on the Incoterm agreed upon.
- Commercial invoice: Naturally, Dante and Angie must prove that the products they are trying to import into Mexico were actually purchased and have a valid commercial invoice. This document must also be provided by the wineries in Spain.
- Packing list: This document goes alongside the commercial invoice. It is prepared by the respective winery in Spain and must contain the commercial invoice number, date, commercial name and legal business name of the seller and the buyer, load information (number of bottles, brands, etc.), gross and net weight, and total volume of the shipment.
Nearly half of all exported wines come from Spain, France, and Italy. Dante and Angie are aware of this, and although the processes described above are specific to importing wine from Spain to Mexico, the import processes from other European Union countries are very similar.
Notice that there are a lot of documents involved in this process and having accurate information is extremely important. At TIBA, we have extensive experience with importing wine into Mexico and have the most up to date knowledge regarding compliance with all the requirements.