It’s an exciting weekend in New England. Not only are the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but the first Direct to Consumer wine bottles will begin shipping to Massachusetts on February 1st.
The 2015 Direct to Consumer Report predicts that the expected value of winery shipments to Massachusetts will reach almost $29 million in 2015, $75 million within three years, and over $100 million within a decade. Wineries have an unprecedented opportunity to address an untapped market with a high demand for wine .
Three steps to success:
1) Get Licensed
- Licenses cost $300 ($150 annual renewal cost) and take around six weeks to process (for more information on the application process, check out this post).
- Wineries licensed to ship wine will be required to file excise taxes along with Form AB-DS on a monthly or annual basis.
- Excise taxes will be applied and reported in tiers based on the ABV and type of wine shipped.
- Sales tax is not required on wine shipments to Massachusetts.
- Electronic age verification is not required but recommended and available in ShipCompliant through Lexis Nexus and IDology.
2) Find Your Customers
April Damron of winery marketing firm Damron Marketing recommends that wineries carefully prepare their marketing strategy to take full advantage of this new market. She recommends a few simple ways to get started:
- Gather all available Massachusetts customer information from past winery visits.
- Update outbound marketing materials and train tasting room staff to highlight Massachusetts as an available shipping state.
- Begin to promote Massachusetts shipping in all marketing channels — social media, newsletters, emails, website, etc.
3) Start Today
Wineries are thinking differently about marketing to Massachusetts, with some even purchasing TV ad space. Massachusetts has been issuing licenses since the new law came into effect in January. The first shipments for those wineries will begin shipping on Sunday, February 1st.
Don’t wait for the dust to settle at the starting line, get licensed and start making connections with customers in the latest state to open to direct shipping.
If you need help, we’re here to support you. Contact ShipCompliant for guidance.