Wine Retailers Can Only Ship to 14 States

 

Retail-to-Consumer-Blog-Post-300x180Since the 2005 Granholm v. Heald Supreme Court decision addressing the interstate direct shipment of wine, the number of states allowing out-of-state wineries to ship directly to consumers has increased from 31 states to 42. The experience for licensed wine retailers (for example: brick and mortar wine shops, California Type 85 or 20 licensees and auction houses) however, has been somewhat different. The number of states previously available to retailers since 2005 has declined from 18 to 14 states and the District of Columbia.

What Retailers Need to Know

To help retailers navigate the market, we’ve created a quick reference guide, including basic information on regulations in the states available for retailer-to-consumer wine shipping. This guide includes links to license applications, statutes, state websites, and volume limits (if applicable). Note that four states on this list are “reciprocal” states. Reciprocity means generally that if state X’s retailers are allowed to ship into state Y, then state Y’s retailers may ship into state X without the need to obtain a direct shipper license or permit in the destination state. These states are: Idaho, Missouri, New Mexico, and California. General requirements that apply to interstate retail shipments also include but are not limited to:


Download the Retailer Wine Shipping Guide

All states available to retailers are also available to wineries, and in many cases the regulations for the two shippers are similar. Indeed, permit-required states like North Dakota and New Hampshire allow for retailers and wineries to use the same application process and abide by the same rules in order to direct ship wine to that state. With this observation in mind, it would stand to reason that there is the potential for retailers to be welcomed to the same direct shipping states as wineries; actual practice, however, gives wineries access to three times the amount of the US market share.

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Note: This post was originally published in 2013. 

39 Comments

  1. Daniel

    Can you please update Specialty Wine Retailers to National Association of Wine Retailers (www.nawr.org). Thank you!

    Website/Name was changed a few years back!

    Reply
  2. JT

    So how is it that most internet wine retailers ship to around 35-40 states? Are they all breaking the rules or is there some loophole?

    Reply
  3. Stephen

    Are the states listed here just for type 20 and 85 licenses?

    Reply
    • Rachel Bush - Brand Manager

      Hi, Stephen! Thanks for the question. It’s a little tricky, but generally, no; these rules do apply only to “licensed retailers,” but that should include all retail license types. It’s important to note that one or two of these states might have a wrinkle requiring that they be a “wine retailer.” Figuring this out requires reading the statutes, which is linked to in this post. And for all of them, except NE, NH, and VA, this only permits wine sales (VA also limits to only wine or beer). Hope that’s helpful!

      Reply
  4. Kazuko Lally

    Fantastic post , BTW , you are wanting a a form , my colleague filled out a sample version here http://goo.gl/ibIF45

    Reply
  5. Margaret Latcham

    What are the current requirements for shipping wine to residents of Texas?

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for the question! In order to ship wine to Texas residents, you first must make sure you have the proper license. In Texas, this is the type DS out-of-state winery direct shipper license; it is only available to those with active wine producer’s licenses from both the TTB and your home state — out of state retailers are not permitted to sell directly to Texas residents. Beyond having a license, there are a number of other compliance rules to be aware of, including customer purchasing limits, and restrictions on selling wine you do not produce yourself. You must also remit to the state both excise tax and the state sales tax, along with sending in a quarterly report. Further details, including exact tax rates and pre-populated reports are available through a ShipCompliant account.

      Reply
  6. Jim M

    Do these restrictions apply to non sale shipments, that is,shipping wine you own personally to someone as a gift, or to yourself at a vacation rental?

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the question. These restrictions do apply to non-sale shipments, including gifts and if you want to ship back a bottle from your vacation. Unfortunately, states are very strict about who they allow to ship alcohol into and within their borders, and largely restrict common carriers, like UPS or FedEx, to only accept packages containing alcohol from properly licensed businesses. The way the U.S. regulates alcohol, states have tremendous power to control alcohol consumption, sales, and distribution; and you always need to follow the rules of the state of final disposition (this is how Utah can restrict imports even if the sale happened in California). However, if you’re personally transporting the alcohol, say in your trunk or in your checked luggage, most states will allow this, though there could be some limits on how much you can bring in at a time (and as ever, watch out for Utah).

      Reply
  7. Martine

    Can I ship a bottle of wine to a private residence in FL from Indiana? Wanted to do it for Christmas, but cannot figure out if it’s legal or not.

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Martine,

      Thanks for the question. Whether you can ship to a residence in Florida will depend on Florida’s rules, not Indiana’s; so you should make sure to check with the Florida Division of Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco. From this FAQ on the ABT’s site (page 10, question 4), it appears that the biggest restriction on you personally importing wine into Florida is making sure you pay taxes if you’re transporting over 1 gallon. However, that FAQ is really talking about carrying in wine personally, either in your car or in checked baggage, not shipping wine. There is no license to ship into Florida, but Florida’s rules do seem to imply that only wine producers (and not private citizens or retailers) can ship into the state. Further, carriers have their own restrictions, and generally accept packages containing alcohol only from people or businesses who can prove they are legally shipping into a state — USPS will not accept any package with wine. So good on you for checking, but you should confirm with your carrier (say, UPS or FedEx) and see if they’ll accept your package to Florida; or you may want to reach out to the ABT to see if they know of anyway that you can legally ship your wine into the state.

      Reply
  8. mary

    can an individual from Colorado send a bottle of wine to Chicago, IL?

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for your question. Basically, states have a tremendous amount of power when it comes to alcohol rules, and they all have strict limits on who can do what when it comes to moving alcohol into and within their borders. A standard rule — which Illinois follows — is that only properly licensed entities can ship alcohol through a common carrier (like FedEx) into the state, and private citizens are prohibited from doing the same. More over, carriers will only accept packages containing alcohol from businesses that can show they have the proper license (and USPS doesn’t accept them at all). An individual could not get one of these licenses as they are limited only to businesses that actually produce wine. Illinois does permit limited personal import, so if you drove the one bottle from Colorado to Chicago, or flew it there in checked luggage, that should be permitted; but shipping it would almost certainly be illegal. However, you should still feel free to contact the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and ask them directly if there are any Illinois provisions that would permit you to send your wine.

      Reply
  9. D.M.

    Hi. Trying to wrap my head around all of this. I am starting a wine club based in CA and currently have licenses 09, 17 and 20. Do I need to apply for the 82 permit to be able to sell to more than 14 states? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi D.M.,

      Thanks for the question. You’re right that this can get complex, and it’s important that you take proper time to work with your personal legal representative to understand the rules and responsibilities that are out there. Whether you can sell DtC into a state depends of the rules of the state you want to ship into; most of them only permit wine producers to get the necessary DtC permit. As such, the license that really grants broader DtC permissions is the Type 2 Winegrower license; the Type 82 permit is for wineries located outside of California who want to sell DtC to California residents.

      Reply
  10. Carlos Calderon

    Hi Alex,
    Can a retailer in Florida sell wine online to end consumers in Florida? IF yes, is that part of their normal licence or do they need to apply for a different online licence?
    Best,

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Carlos,

      Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, retailer’s in-state permissions are not something that we actively track at ShipCompliant, so we’re not prepared to give you a definitive answer. You should consult with your local legal representative, and perhaps call the Florida Division of Alcohol and Tobacco, to better understand the rights of a Florida retailer — especially when it comes to the application process. That said, it does appear that Florida does permit at least some manner of deliveries by licensees as part of the licensee’s standard rights (see Florida Statute 561.27). How that permission works out in practice, though, is something you should determine with your local counsel, who can speak to Florida’s particular rules.

      Reply
  11. Erin Synn

    Hi, Quick question for small mini sized liquor bottles. Do you know if these follow the same restriction as bigger bottle?

    I am new to the restriction on the liquor sending to different states, so I am kind of confused. I am locating at New York, would like to know what states I could send.

    Thank you Alex in advance if, hopefully, reply
    Erin

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Erin,
      Thanks for your question. Yes, the restrictions on shipping alcohol will apply just the same to mini-sized bottles as they do to standard sizes; there’s no “de minimis” rules when it comes to the volume shipped. Spirituous liquors (distilled products, products with a higher ABV) are severely restricted when it comes to DtC sales. You have to look to the rules of the state that you want to ship to; each are different. Currently, only a handful of states – New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Nebraska, and D.C – permit the direct shipment of spirits to their residents (each of them, helpfully, also permits retailers to get the necessary DtC license). Hope this helps, but you should as ever consult with an attorney or other counsel before making these sales.

      Reply
  12. Amber Asada

    Do you know of a winery in CA that can ship to all 50 states?

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Amber,
      Thanks for your question. We do not know of any winery, in CA or elsewhere, who can ship to all 50 states. In order to ship alcohol into a state, you must first receive a license from that state. Wine producers have much greater access to these licenses than wine retailers. But still, currently only 44 states offer these licenses. The other six states (Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Delaware, Oklahoma, and Kentucky) do not permit any winery, instate or out of state, to make a direct-to-consumer shipment to their residents. (Though, Oklahoma is working to open up to DtC for wineries by this October; and Kentucky technically does offer a DtC license to Small Farm Wineries, however, due to strict felony charges for shipping to a “dry” region in that state, very few common carriers will accept a package going to Kentucky.) As such, while there are wineries selling to all of the 44 available states, we know of none that can sell where they are currently not permitted to.

      Reply
  13. Amu

    I am a retailer and we have licences to sell liquor and wine in Florida
    My questions is,can someone reply what all states we can ship out wine from Florida. Just trying to be safe for shipping as per Florida laws.
    Regards,
    Amu

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Amu,

      Thanks for the question. The only restriction that Florida would have on your ability to ship out from the state is that you must comply with the rules of the state that you want to ship into. Most states do restrict who can ship alcohol, both within their borders and from other states. The only states that will permit a Florida-based retailer to ship wine directly to their customers are listed above in this blog post (that list does not include California, Idaho, New Mexico, and Missouri, as they do not have a reciprocal agreement with Florida, wherein Florida allows foreign retailers to ship to its residents). Hope this helps!

      Reply
  14. Michael

    Hi,

    I have accumulated around 200 bottles of wine over the years in NYC from various wineries in the US (mostly from CA) for personal consumption. I wish to ship them to myself outside of the US as I’m relocating overseas. What license/permit do I need from NYS Liquor Authority to allow UPS to accept the shipment?

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Michael,

      Individuals shipping wine isn’t exactly our area of expertise, but I’ll do what I can to help. The rules around whether and how you can ship alcohol all depend on to where the shipment is going, that is the destination state or country. Within the U.S. this is pretty much completely unavailable for private citizens. However, other countries have more liberal (which is to say, non-existent) restrictions regarding shipping alcohol, and so this could be doable. You should still check on the rules of the country you’re moving to; many European countries will be open to it, but Canada, for instance, has restrictions (and I wouldn’t try this in the Middle East); but even where it’s allowed, you may be required to pay customs duties or other taxes. To check this, you should contact UPS and see what information they can provide (they have a fairly informative website on shipping wine internationally); since you’ll be shipping through UPS, you will need to check with their policies anyway, but do let them know that this is your private stock and you are not otherwise in the business of producing or selling alcohol. Regarding the NY SLA, when it comes to shipping alcohol the source state has very little say in when or how you can ship to another state or country. So it’s our understanding that there will not be any license the SLA would require for you to ship out from New York (if in doubt, I would recommend calling the SLA and confirming this — they have a friendly support staff). I hope this helps, and good luck!

      Reply
  15. Amanda

    Hi, I am looking for information on what kind of license I would need to obtain in order to accept wine shipments (from CA) in the state of Indiana.

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for your question. As the customer, looking to make a DtC purchase of wine for personal consumption, there is no license that you are required to have in order to receive wine shipments. But you will only be able to legally buy from wine producers — including those in CA — who have themselves received a “Direct Wine Seller” license from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. You can search for licensed wineries through the Indiana government’s site here; search for “Profession – Alcohol Beverage” and “License Type – Direct Wine Seller”. You should then get in contact directly with the winery in order to make your DtC order.

      Reply
  16. David

    Can I ship out of GA as an importer DTC to the 14 states that accept such sales to consumers?

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your question. It will depend on what kind of license you have in Georgia. As this post notes, most states will only give DTC licenses to wine “producers,” but there are these states (it’s actually down to 13 now) that will issue licenses also to off-premises wine retailers. If you run a liquor store in Georgia, with a physical location and sell there to customers who consume the wine off your premises, then you should be able to get one of these licenses (though it will only be 10 states you could ship to, as the others are “reciprocal” only with each other). If, however, you only operate as an importer, bringing wine in to the U.S., which you then distribute to wholesalers for further sale to retailers, then unfortunately, you likely cannot get one of these retail DtC licenses; nor would you likely be able to get a “wine producer” DtC license. It’s unfortunate, but the ability of importers to engage in the DtC wine market is extremely limited currently.

      Reply
  17. Cecilia

    I finally found the particular wine needed to replace a bottle inadvently served from an estate collection. It’s in New Jersey, and I’m in Georgia. How do I get it shipped here?

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Cecilia,

      Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, state laws largely restrict the ability to ship alcohol through common carriers, especially for private persons. For the most part (and how it works in Georgia — you have to follow the rules of the state being delivered to), only licensed wine manufacturers may ship wine. In all likelihood, the only way you’ll be able to get the wine from New Jersey to Georgia would be to personally carry it back; either drive it back, or check it with your luggage on the airplane. It is unfortunate that states do prohibit this kind of personal shipments, but it is the legal system currently in effect. If you do feel wronged by this and want to get involved, we recommend you contact your state representatives and perhaps sign up with the Free the Grapes! organization.

      Reply
  18. Kay

    Some of this is now outdated, but thankfully I can operate my wine basket business.

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Kay,

      Thanks for the comment. You’re right that things have changed since we first posted this article. But we have an updated post for anyone who’s interested available here.

      Reply
  19. Kelli Winter

    Hello! I am here in the strict state of South Carolina. I am wanting to start a specialty wine basket business online. As a retailer, located in the beautiful state of South Carolina, is it safe to assume I can only offer my products to the 13 above mentioned states only? Or does South Carolina restrict shipping wine to other states? Im so confused how this works. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Kelli,

      Thanks for the question. When you are selling alcohol, you have to operate under the rules of the state where the sale will be finalized. So if you are operating as a retailer in South Carolina, but selling into Virginia, the rules that matter will be those of Virginia. By and large, states do not (and, constitutionally, largely cannot) control how sales occur elsewhere. Now, South Carolina likely has some rules controlling your South Carolina operations, which may affect your sales to another state (say, if there are warehousing rules or requirements to report sales to another state). But the states that do allow you, as a retailer, to ship alcohol to their residents offer that under their own rules sets, without intervention from South Carolina. One further point, though, is the number of states that you could ship to is only 10 — the other three states, California, Idaho, and New Mexico, operate a “reciprocal” system, where in they only permit each others’ retailers to ship to their residents — in order for South Carolina to join that club, South Carolina would have to allow out-of-state retailers to ship to its residents without licensing or tax requirements.

      Reply
  20. Cecelia Grzeskowiak

    I need an online wine retailer that can ship wine to Alabama. I actually was able to ship a $100 bottle of wine to my sister as a Christmas present three years ago using an online retailer, but I have forgotten the name of the retailer. I know Alabama has a lot of restrictions and the retailer in question has to have a license that permits shipping to Alabama. Can you help me?

    Reply
    • Alex Koral - Industry Relations Advisor

      Hi Cecelia,

      Thanks for the question. Unfortunately we do not know of any retailer who can ship to an Alabama resident. You are right that there are a number of restrictions in place, however these restrictions are rather absolute and do not provide any ability for a retailer to get a license to ship to Alabama residents (that is, such a license doesn’t exist in Alabama). However that retailer shipped your wine three years ago, it likely wasn’t a permissible shipment under Alabama’s laws. In addition to retailers, wineries are also prohibited from shipping direct to Alabama residents, even though they have that right in most states. Alabama resident must buy directly from local retail shops, or there is a process for Alabama residents to make a “special order” for a wine not carried in their local store, which you can find out more about here. We hope this helps, even if it likely is not the answer you were hoping for; if your sister is a wine lover and wants to enjoy the rights that residents of most other states have, you may want to let her know about the Free the Grapes! organization and encourage her to join petitions to her local legislators.

      Reply

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