Montana House Bill 402 was signed by Governor Bullock on April 12, 2013 and creates workable direct wine shipping laws in the state. The new law, effective on October 1, 2013, will replace the flawed consumer licensing system presently in place for wine shipping in Montana.
Current regulations require that out-of-state wineries ship only to residents who hold a “Connoisseur’s License“; proof of the consumer license and a special sticker to affix to the shipping box must be provided to the winery before the shipment can be made. The new regulations will require out-of-state wineries to:
- Register as a Foreign Winery or Importer. Many wineries already hold this license as it allows a winery to sell to a Montana distributor (cost of license is $0 to $400 annually, depending on volume sold in Montana; no-cost product registrations are required as part of becoming licensed)
- Apply for a $50 annual direct shipping endorsement
- Supply to Montana the name and address of any utilized fulfillment warehouses
- Submit written acknowledgement of contracting only with common carriers that agree to deliver wine only to individuals who are of age and who provide a signature upon delivery
- Ship no more than 18 cases of wine annually to an individual consumer (up from 12 cases/year)
- Submit excise tax and shipment reports by the 15th of every month
While Montana’s regulations for direct wine shipments are changing, the connoisseur’s licensing system remains in place for shipments of beer from out-of-state breweries. UPS and FedEx, however, do not accept shipments of beer or spirits for delivery to consumers.
We will keep you informed of any updates from the Montana Liquor Control Division regarding the endorsement process once the details become available.