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Shipping wine in the US no longer a nightmare for understanding, thanks to Wine Enthusiast

Thanks, Wine Enthusiast Magazine for making shipping wine in the US no longer a nightmare for understanding.

This info graphic changes that constant and complicated moving target, with the easiest way to figure this out EVER.

Jose and I have helped so many clients as Diaz Communications, when they make those Direct-to-Consumer decisions. I’ve learned over the years that this is one of THE worst nightmares in the wine business, yet. State by state, the laws are so complicated that I – frankly – see no redeeming value for wholesalers and state legislators in this matter. [Yeah, I’m that jaded.] I also think that this is part of wholesalers’ thinking… “Make it so hard that wineries will implode, leaving us [the oligopolies] in complete control…”

I’m great with conspiracy theories, writing it off to 20 years of experience and the lessons that go with that privileged.

Along comes Wine Enthusiast to the rescue. (Who doesn’t enjoy a good rescue?)

As a public service, I’m posting this on my wine blog thanking Charlotte Lambert, on behalf of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, for reaching out to me. Click on this image and give it a try… (Infographic created by seerinteractive.com.)

I clicked on California, for example and got the following helpful info:

Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Shipping Wine in The U.S.
Wine Shipping Laws State by State

California: Easy/No restrictions

Legal Amount: No Limit

In-State Shipping: Yes

Cannot Ship To: No regional limitations

Notable Regulations: None

Estimated Tax: $0.20/gallon excise tax (markup) + state sales tax

Penalties: A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1000 and/or imprisonment in the county jail for up to 6 months.

Source: Wine Enthusiast Magazine


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14 Responses to “Shipping wine in the US no longer a nightmare for understanding, thanks to Wine Enthusiast”

  1. Tom Wark says:

    This is a very helpful infographic for those interested in having wine shipped to them from an out-of-state winery.

    However, if a wine lover wishes to have a French, German, Italian, Spanish or another imported wine shipped to them…or if they want to have a rare and collectible wine shipped to them from an auction house or if they want to have a gift basket with wine in it shipped to them or a friend or if they want to join one of the many Wine-of-the-month clubs, then this map does not tell the story since the kind of shipments mentioned above all come from retailers, not wineries. And the rules fro shipments from out-of-state wine stores and retailers and auction houses and wine clubs is different.

    In fact, only 14 states and DC allow out of state wine stores, retailers and auction house to ship wine into their states. Another map or an augmented map that takes this into account would be helpful

  2. Jayme says:

    Shipping as a “…moving target…” is a great description. Even some of Wine Enthusiast’s details are incorrect. For example, we have had a direct shipping license in PA since we started.

  3. Deborah says:

    Definitely a boon to wineries in understanding the various state laws and the changes taking place all the time. Unfortunately, it still leaves importers representing foreign wineries out in the cold without the same avenues to sell to consumers.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Great point, Tom. The next info graphic is needed, for sure.

  5. Jo Diaz says:

    Good to know, Jayme.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    It’s so complicated… as you know, Deborah.

  7. Kenneth Moholt Siebert says:

    The Wine Institute and ShipCompliant have published such a map for some years. As to direct ship to PA,it is clearly prohibited. A winery may ship to the liquor control board up to one case per customer under exceedingly restrictive rules.

  8. Airwine says:

    Right. Just march down to your local UPS store in one of those ‘green’ states with your own bottle of vino and tell them you want to ship wine to Uncle Ed in another state. Good luck with that. The problem with these sort of graphics and info dumps is that it convinces the public that it’s a wide open wine world. It is not. And when you inform someone that your winery does not ship someplace because it has declined to pay for a license there (several states with about a zero wine market and a high cost of yearly fees etc.) they decide you are 1)stupid or 2) hate their state.

  9. Jon Bjork says:

    A very nice map!

    Please note that even though the map implies that all wineries will ship to all the green states, that is not actually true.

    Many of those green states require permits to be in effect and for registration to collect excise and/or sales tax. Never assume a winery will ship wine to a particular state.

    You must always check with the winery first, then don’t complain if they don’t want to pay, for example over $800/year to make one shipment to New Jersey.

    It would be great if some company like ShipCompliant.com could extend their free “shipment maps” service to allow any winery to sign up for a free account to show what states they ship to, then make that map available for search by winery name, and for embedding in their winery Web site.

  10. Jo Diaz says:

    I do march down to my local USP store, Airwine, and they’ll ship anywhere, because they’re paying the state’s licenses to do that.

  11. Jon Bjork says:

    Off the record: I happen to know of two “shipping” stores that regularly make illegal wine shipments. They do not hold certain state licenses and do not collect excise or sales taxes for the destination.

    The problem is that they are competing with each other and one store just flat-out doesn’t care, and the other store eventually discovered they were losing customers to the competitor because the competitor didn’t charge the fees and didn’t have the permit fee overhead.

  12. Jo Diaz says:

    So… it incentizes the good guy in ways that aren’t pretty, Jon. The one that doesn’t care is the one the more likely to have problems.

  13. Jon Bjork says:

    Yes. At some point they’ll ship to one of the few states (like NH) that are actually watching what UPS and FedEx are shipping. Either the shipper or the winery will then get a cease and desist order and/or a fine. It will mean curtailing service or getting proper permits.

  14. Thank you for this article, I have learned your comment, I want to know the price of red wine in U.S.A.?

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