Everything You Need To Know About Shipping Wines Across State Lines In 2017
Last Monday, The New York Times published an article with implications for anyone who likes to buy wine online. Titled Wines Are No Longer Free to Travel Across State Lines, the piece detailed the intricacies of interstate wine shipping. Its conclusion? Consumers from all but 14 states can no longer legally ship wine across state lines.
The repercussions of this are enormous. Consumers in less prominent wine markets, such as Maryland or Montana, cannot access a wider range of top wines via wine clubs, online retailers, and out-of-state retailers. It also endangers wine retail shops that depend on out-of-state markets.
VinePair investigated what this really means for wine lovers across the country. Its complicated because shipping is not federally regulated, and individual state laws include variations and reciprocal agreements.
Here are the most important things to know about interstate, direct-to-consumer wine shipping. We outline how interstate wine shipping procedures work, why this is happening now, and how all of your favorite wine resources could be affected.
Montana Eyes Legal Direct Shipments Of Wine
House Bill 402has been moving through the Montana Legislature with relatively little opposition, giving us hope that this half-measure direct shipping bill will see the light of day on the floor and pass into law in 2013.
The opposition to the bill has been from the usual suspects: Wholesalers. Their argument in opposition to the bill falls into two general categories:
1. The Current Connoisseurs License which put the onus of complying with regulations and remitting taxes on the consumer is just working great!!
2. Out-of-state wineries should not be allowed to serve Montana residents so easily via direct shipping because, well, just because.
I note that the Montana Direct Shipping bill is a half measure. It is a half measure for the following reasons:
1. It will prohibit Montanans from purchasing wine from out-of-state wine stores2. It will ban the direct shipment of all wines not produced in the United States3. It will ban Montanans from joining wine of the month clubs4. It will ban Montanans from having wine shipped from auction houses.
Still, if passed, LB 402 will be a step in the right direction.
How To Ship Wine
Wine shipping is something that many companies desperately want to do. This is especially true for wineries and vineyards who produce large quantities of wine. If you have been trying to figure out how to ship a bottle of wine, or a large quantity of it, then the very first thing that you need to do is to obtain a license to ship it. If you do not have a license, then it is illegal, no matter what state you are in.
After that, you will need to create a special contract with UPS or FedEx. Next, you will have to figure out exactly where you can ship wine. When you know which places you can ship it to, then you can use UPS Freight or FedEx Freight to ship it to its destination.
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What If I’m Not Home When My Shipping Order Arrives
Upon delivery, our delivery partners will ask to see the receivers ID to ensure they are 21 or older. The receiver will also be required to sign for the order. If you are unable to be home, we will make two additional attempts to deliver your order, and then it will be held at the shippers distribution center.
Ship To A Ups Access Point Location
Approved wine shippers may use the Ship to a UPS Access Point® location service in conjunction with Adult Signature Required for consumers who prefer to pick up shipments from UPS Access Point locations.
To ship wine to a UPS Access Point location:
- Shippers must use a UPS Locator tool and the “Accepts Restricted Articles” filter to select an approved destination UPS Access Point location
- Shippers must also use approved UPS Access Point “Contains Alcohol Beverage Adult Signature Required” labels for wine shipments sent to UPS Access Point locations
- Wine shipments can be redirected to UPS Access Point locations with the ability to accept restricted goods
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New York Has Additional Regulations
New York regulations prohibit wine and food from being shipped in the same package. Gifts and Baskets ordered that include both food and wine will be sent in two separate packages. Your gift message will be included in both packages and your Order Confirmation will show two order numbers that will also be given to separate tracking numbers once they are shipped.
How To Ship Liquor
Because liquor is an alcoholic beverage, it is subject to the same strict shipping requirements that wine is subject to. This means that you will have to obtain a license to ship it, get a special contract with UPS or FedEx, and only ship it to states where you can legally ship it to.
If you are shipping within your own state, then it is much easier to figure out what the regulations are for shipping it.
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Only 14 States Legally Allow Buyers To Have Wine Shipped From Retailers In Other States
The once largely-ignored regulations for interstate wine shipping have seen their enforcement ramped up in recent years.
The internet has changed commerce in innumerable ways. Look no further than major retailer compared to brick-and-mortar decline. But just as some companies are ahead of the curve and some are behind, the law and law enforcement have also struggled to keep up with the ramifications of changing technology, creatingor alteringlegal gray areas. Interstate wine shipments fit into this category. At first, being able to buy wine from across the country at the click of a button seemed like a wine drinkers dream, but as the New York Times recently discussed, for now, the opening of that Pandoras box has actually made interstate wine sales more difficult than ever before.
Alaska, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Wyoming: Those are the only 14 states that allow wine to be shipped to consumers from out-of-state retailers, according to the Times. .
Wholesalers have been looking at this issue for quite some time, Daniel Posner, president of the National Association of Wine Retailers, told the paper. They went to state liquor authorities and said, People arent following the laws. Now its all coming to a brutal end.
There Are A Few Zip Code Restrictions
Local laws prevent us from shipping to certain zip codes that are considered “dry zip codes” in Alaska, Florida, Idaho and New Hampshire. We do ship to most of the zip codes in these states, but our system will tell you if the zip code you enter is one that is excluded by law at the time the order is placed, after the shipping address and zip code is entered.
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Where Do We Ship
We ship wine to most states, though there are still some states that prohibit retailers from shipping wine in their state. We operate multiple warehouses around the country to comply with state laws. To determine if Wine.com ships to your state, use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to select your state. This will ensure you see correct inventory and pricing for your area. If we cannot ship to your state, you will see that on the red bar at the top of the page alerting you that your state prohibits delivery of wine from out-of-state retailers. We do, however, ship our non-wine items to all 50 states, including non-wine gift baskets, accessories and glassware.
Is It Legal To Ship Alcohol
It is technically legal to ship alcohol in the United States. However, that does not mean that it is easy. The only people who can legally ship alcohol are companies who are licensed to sell alcohol to parties in states that permit shipments.
So, if you are not licensed to ship alcohol, then you will not be able to do so. You can face a penalty for shipping alcohol if you try to do so without the proper license.
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Will Digital Retailers Be Affected
Retailers like Wine.com and national retail chains like Total Wine & More are not typically affected by DTC shipping restrictions because they have considerable resources. Total Wine & More, for instance, has brick-and-mortar stores across the U.S., all of which have in-state sales licenses with which they can ship wine orders. Online retailers without physical locations may have the ability to be present in states that do not allow DTC retailer shipping to get around these barriers, through local warehouses or retail partners.
We are licensed and pay sales and excise taxes in the states where we need to, Rich Bergsund, CEO of Wine.com, says. This includes operating our own local warehouses which carry retail licenses just like a store in states where that is necessary. Bergsund stresses that these changes will not effect Wine.com consumers.
Unfortunately, smaller, specialty retailers typically cannot afford to operate local warehouses to get wines across state lines.
Other wine sales sites, like Vivinos Marketplace, merely act as an intermediary between consumers and local retailers, so consumers shouldnt have an issue using these types of sites. However, wine lovers should pay attention to the retailers to which they are directed even if a wine shop in New Jersey is just a few miles away, a Manhattan-dweller is not explicitly allowed to purchase wine and ship it into New York.
Winery Direct Shipping Coming Soon To Montana
Starting October 1, 2013, Montana will allow the direct shipment of wine to Montana residents by wineries that hold a Direct Shipment Endorsement. Holders of a Direct Shipment Endorsement may sell and directly ship up to 18 nine-liter cases of wine annually to an individual in Montana who is at least 21 years of age. Any in-state or out-of-state winery that is already registered with the Montana Department of Revenue must pay $50 and file associated paperwork to receive a Direct Shipment Endorsement, and wineries not already registered with the state will be able to simultaneously register with the state and apply for a Direct Shipper Endorsement. Applicants must submit a signed affidavit that they will contract only with common carriers that agree that wine will be delivered only to an individual in Montana who is at least 21 years old and who signs upon receipt of the wine. Records may be due every month and every quarter, and must be held for state inspection for up to three years. All taxes must be paid quarterly and tax records submitted monthly to the Department of Revenue. If a holder of a Direct Shipment Endorsement uses a bonded wine warehouse for fulfillment purposes, the endorsement holder must file a written notice that includes the name and address of the warehouse. The state also requires pre-approval of all wine labels to be shipped into the state. Stay tuned as Montana will likely issue regulations and step-by-step instructions in the coming months.
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Can Liquor Be Shipped To Montana
Six statesFlorida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Rhode Islandand the District of Columbia authorize the direct shipment of all spirits as specified. Eight states allow the direct shipment of beer and wine as specified: Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia.
How To Ship Wine Through The Mail
With the holidays fast approaching, many people aged 21 and older are getting ready to put down their kale smoothies and pick up the bottle of vino. Thats right between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve, drinking season is upon us. Since its also a time of gift-giving, many more will try to navigate the labyrinth of rules that govern how to ship wine through the mail.
For a country built by booze-loving colonials who in large part believed, Alcohol could cure the sick, strengthen the weak, enliven the aged, and generally make the world a better place, we Americans sure do make it complicated to ship wine to one another.
If you are ready to take up the challenge, heres what you need to know.
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Digital Wine Routes Revisited
When all is said and done, direct shipping regulation is to remain subject to state legislation. Some progress has been made to allow online retailers and wineries to ship without too much of a hassle. The important thing is that the wine shipping regulations are improving across the board.
You might be required to conduct some research and most online wine clubs and shops provide detailed information about their wine shipping rules. So theres no need to worry your wine collection is in jeopardy.
Can I Ship Direct To Consumers
Primary American Source of Supply
How much does the license cost?
$15 per individual COLA that the party will register for sale in Florida per year
Do I need to have money held in bond?
Is there a representative license?
Do I need to register products first?
Yes each COLA
Do I need to Post Prices?
No price postings are made by Florida wholesalers
Do I need to file my Distributor Agreements with the state?
Do I need to file my Territory Assignments with the state?
Are there rules on the exclusivity of territory or brand assignments?
Do I need to file a report with the state on what Ive sold?
Yes monthly, 4000A-125-2 Wine Shipments Return
How is wine defined?3-1-2 Wine means any alcoholic beverage containing not more than 24 percent alcohol by volume made from fruits, berries, or grapes either by natural fermentation or by natural fermentation with brandy added. The term includes, but is not limited to, all sparkling wines, champagnes, combinations of such beverages, vermouths, special natural wines, rectified wines, and like products. The term does not include cooking wine mixed with salt or other ingredients so as to render it unfit for human consumption as a beverage. A liquid shall first be deemed to be a wine at that point in the manufacturing process when it conforms to the definition of wine contained in this Code section.
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Can I Ship A Bottle Of Wine To A Friend
Unfortunately, its against the law for an unlicensed person to ship a bottle of wine to a friend or anyone else for that matter. And, if you are licensed to ship wine, you have to have a special contract with UPS for shipping wine. Some states allow only on-site visitors to a winery to ship wine.
How To Ship Alcohol Legally In All 50 States
We live in a world of e-commerce, where we have everything from groceries to furniture to medicine and everything in-between delivered directly to our homes. However, this doesnt apply to the alcohol industry and selling alcohol online.
WHAT WELL COVER:
Thats because shipping beer, spirit, or wine to consumers comes with its own set of rules and regulations that presents a bigger challenge than simply boxing up a bottle and dropping it in a mailbox.
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Wine Shipping Laws In The Us
From wholesale and direct shipping laws to state-issued permits, wineries need to follow a set of regulations to legally ship wine across the US. At the time of this writing, more than 50% of the states allow direct shipping to consumers, but certain restrictions may still apply.
For example, there might be an annual limit of cases per customer and some counties may prohibit on or off-premises sale, or even ban alcoholic beverages altogether. This article will help you get a better understanding of wine shipping rules for each state. Youll also learn more about the history of these regulations and how theyve changed.
Montana Code Annotatedtitle 16 Alcohol And Tobaccochapter 3 Control Of Liquor Beer And Winepart 4 Sale Of Table Wine16
16-3-411.Winery. A winery located in Montana and licensed pursuant to 16-4-107 may:
import in bulk, bottle, produce, blend, store, transport, or export wine it produces
sell wine it produces at wholesale to wine distributors
sell wine it produces at retail at the winery directly to the consumer for consumption on or off the premises
provide, without charge, wine it produces for consumption at the winery
purchase from the department or its licensees brandy or other distilled spirits for fortifying wine it produces
obtain a special event permit under 16-4-301
perform those operations and cellar treatments that are permitted for bonded winery premises under applicable regulations of the United States department of the treasury
sell wine at the winery to a licensed retailer who presents the retailer’s license or a photocopy of the license or
obtain a direct shipment endorsement to ship table wine as provided in Title 16, chapter 4, part 11, directly to an individual in Montana who is at least 21 years of age.
A winery licensed pursuant to 16-4-107 may sell and deliver wine produced by the winery directly to licensed retailers if the winery:
uses the winery’s own equipment, trucks, and employees to deliver the wine and the wine delivered pursuant to this subsection does not exceed 4,500 cases a year
contracts with a licensed table wine distributor to ship and deliver the winery’s wine to the retailer or
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Bottom Line: The Safest Bet Is To Buy Wine From Within Your State
Given the intricacies of DTC wine shipping, buying bottles across state lines is an exceedingly complicated mission. Its hard for consumers to know whether any winery or retailer holds the requisite licenses. While its rare for a consumer to receive a fine for illegal wine shipping, increasing pressure from regulators might lead to more penalties as well. Technically, you could be fined for personally carrying a bottle of wine into a state that does not allow out-of-state shipping.
Participating in a wine club or purchasing wine directly through a winery is a fairly safe bet, as is purchasing wine from a large retailer that holds a retail license in your state.
The only truly safe way to purchase wine for shipment is to buy from an in-state retailer or winery. Ninety-nine percent of the time, simply by holding a retail or winery sales license, these entities are automatically allowed to ship wine to consumers in-state. If this playing-it-safe mentality just isnt your style, you can certainly continue to attempt out-of-state purchases retailers probably arent going to quit interstate shipping overnight. But you might want to consider contacting your local state legislators directly, or supporting an organization like Free the Grapes, which campaigns to change state alcohol legislation.