Your Guide to Entering the Direct-to-Consumer Industry

We often get questions from wineries interested in expanding their business into the direct-to-consumer market. This can be a complicated industry, so we created a guide for wineries to help break down the steps for entering the DtC market, to provide an understanding of our role in the process, and to share some starting-point resources. If you’re already in the DtC industry, this guide may serve as a helpful refresher.

Steps to get started.

     1) Develop a licensing strategy. Determine which states have the highest demand for your wine based on your customer base and the industry demand.

     2) Apply for your direct shipping permits in each of the states you decide are right for your business.

     3) Have a compliance solution in place. This step will ensure you have a way to charge accurate sales tax calculations across the different states and that your shipments are meeting applicable regulations.

     4) Get organized for monthly, quarterly, and/or annual sales and excise tax reports, which will be required by the states to which you decide to ship. 

     5) Be prepared to fulfill orders, whether this be done at the winery or through a third party fulfillment provider.

Consider us your compliance coach.

Once you are licensed to ship across multiple state lines, ShipCompliant software provides the support of a one-stop shop for automated compliance and reporting technology. We prepare each order with real-time tax rates based on the destination of the order while checking these orders against thousands of state rules and regulations. Additionally, we automate the filing of the hundreds of sales and excise tax reports that need to be submitted to the states. Our tools empower you to focus solely on the growth of your business.

Think it might be time to start using ShipCompliant? Contact us and we’ll help you determine if it’s a good choice for your business.

Start researching your options.

We’ve compiled a list of tools that you may find helpful as you work to expand your DtC business.

2015 Direct-to-Consumer Report: Our report provides helpful insight into the direct-to-consumer market. This includes a look into sales data by winery size, wine shipment trends by region, details of varietal performance, and predictions into the industry. This is the holy grail for the facts of DtC shipping. It provides you with the details on which states you can ship to, the complexity of those states, and the cost of registering to ship in each state.

State Break-Even Calculator: Not all states will be cost effective for you to ship to. This calculator helps you determine which states those are by examining your shipped volume alongside state licensing fees and tax rates.

Direct Shipping Map: Explore state regulations and licenses requirements with Wine Institute’s map. Each state varies with their direct shipping requirements, so click around this map to see which states best fit your business model.

Our Partner’s Page: Our software integrates with many eComm, POS, and fulfillment providers, some of which you may already be using. This page tells you exactly which systems we partner with and provides reviews of the partnership from our clients.

We hope this guide was helpful. Feel free to ask questions in the comments!


Find out how ShipCompliant by Sovos can help your business stay on top of compliance by signing up for a free demo.


  1. Brent

    Great post Rachel.


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