In ruling NY N320917 (September 2, 2021), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the classification of four wine preservation systems. A breakdown of the four products is provided below:
- Model Three SL: consists of a Coravin Model Three device, a needle clearing tool, a bottle bag, and in some instances a screw cap;
- Model Three Plus: consists of a Coravin Model Three device, an aerator, two screw caps, a needle clearing tool, and a bottle bag;
- Model Pivot: consists of a Coravin Pivot device, two pivot stoppers, and a bottle bag; and
- Model Pivot Plus: consists of a Coravin Pivot device, a pivot aerator, two pivot stoppers, and a bottle bag.
All four products are to be repackaged with gas argon capsules upon importation. CBP found that the items do not represent a set in accordance with Explanatory Note X due to the fact that the system is repacked to include the argon gas capsules upon importation. As such, CBP classified each item separately.
Both Model Three and Model Pivot devices are primarily plastic, handheld devices that are used to compress argon gas in order to allow a user to pour wine from an unopened wine bottle. With the Model Three device, a user aligns the SmartClamps™ over the bottle’s neck and pushes on the handle to insert the thin metal needle through the cork and into an unopened wine bottle. Once inserted, the needle facilitates the flow of argon gas from the device into the bottle and draws wine out. The device also comes with a hand-operated trigger that allows the user to regulate the flow of the compressed argon gas. In order to pour the wine, a user tilts the bottle towards a glass and presses the trigger button to send argon gas into the bottle and force pressurized wine to flow up the needle to the pouring spout. Once the device and its needle are removed, the cork reseals itself and the argon gas within the bottle prevents the wine from spoiling through oxidization. Alternatively, the Model Pivot device is a single-system where the user replaces the cork of a bottle with a pivot stopper. The user then inserts a gas argon capsule into the Model Pivot device. For this case, the device’s metal insert is pushed through the pivot stopper, where a trigger button at the top of the device allows for the flow of argon gas into the bottle in order to release the wine. Once the device is removed from the bottle, the pivot stopper is closed to seal the wine bottle. CBP determined that the applicable subheading for both devices is 8481.80.5090, HTSUS, which provides for “Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances, for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, including pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves; parts thereof: Other appliances: Hand operated: Of other materials: Other.” The general rate of duty is 3 percent ad valorem.
The bottle bag accessory is designed to be used with a wine bottle to provide protection and containment of glass. It is composed of 100% nonwoven polypropylene textile material and measures 6 inches in width by 11 ½ inches in height. CBP found the applicable subheading to be 6307.90.9891, HTSUS, which provides for “Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other: Other: Other: Other: Other.” The general rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.
The stainless-steel needle clearing tool for the Model Three SL and Model Three Plus is used to clear cork from inside the needle. A user can use the tool to push cork down from the top of the eye of the needle in order to clear the pathway. CBP determined that the applicable subheading for the needle clearing tool is 8205.59.5560, HTSUS, which provides for “Handtools (including glass cutters) not elsewhere specified or included; blow torches and similar self-contained torches; vises, clamps and the like, other than accessories for and parts of machine tools; anvils; portable forges; hand- or pedal-operated grinding wheels with frameworks; base metal parts thereof: other handtools (including glass cutters) and parts thereof: other: other: of iron or steel: other: other (including parts).” The general rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem
The screw cap that come with the Model Three SL and Model Three Plus is made of molded plastic and incorporates a silicone plug into the center to seal the bottle. Alternatively, the two pivot stoppers included with the Model Pivot and Model Pivot Plus systems are composed of silicone and are hollow. The stopper is inserted into the bottle to replace the removed cork and can be opened to insert the Model Pivot device for use. CBP found the applicable subheading for the screw cap and the pivot stoppers to be 3923.50.0000, HTSUS, which provides for “Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics.” The general rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.
Lastly, the aerator (compatible with both the Model Three SL and Model Three Plus) and the Pivot Aerator operate in similar fashion, though this differ in size and angle of the wine spout. Both force wine through their two rings, which aerates the wine. The aerator, which is primarily of plastic material, consists of an inner separator, outer separator, a mid-separator, a screen, and a body. CBP found the aerators to be classifiable under subheading 3926.90.9985, HTSUS, which provides for “Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Other: Other: Other.” The general rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.