Most states allow direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine shipping. However, you must follow the rules of the destination state when doing it. States can have varying requirements and limitations when it comes to licensing, product restrictions, dry communities or even volume limits for how much a given customer can receive.
For example, Massachusetts restricts licensees from shipping no more than 12 cases per individual per calendar year, but Colorado has no such volume restriction limits on licensees. Businesses must ensure that they carefully adhere to the rules and regulations of each state that they want to ship wine to — if they assume that two states have the same requirements, they could incur hefty fines or even have their license revoked.
Following are the basics of DtC wine shipping and key rules that shippers must adhere to in order to stay compliant.
Where can wine producers ship?
Currently, 48 states and the District of Columbia allow for DtC wine shipping, although Delaware and Rhode Island both severely limit the DtC shipment of wine. Mississippi and Utah prohibit DtC sales of wine (Alabama is set to begin permitting DtC wine shipments in summer 2021).
There are universal package label requirements for direct-to-consumer wine shipping. Any packages being shipped must have a label clearly identifying that the box contains alcohol and that a signature of a person aged 21 years or older is required for delivery.
How does DtC wine shipping work?
Wine producers must adhere to the state-specific requirements when it comes to shipping DtC. Since state-by-state requirements vary, shippers should ensure that they are aware of the specific rules of the state they are shipping into. While no two states are exactly the same, shippers can base their research on the following list of general rules:
- Be licensed by the destination state
- Use approved carriers who will check IDs and collect signatures
- Verify age of purchaser and recipient
- Label boxes with notice of alcohol contents
- Abide by per person volume limits
- Agree to remit all applicable sales and excise taxes to the destination state
- File regular reports detailing all their shipments
- Only ship brand/labels that are produced or owned by the shipper
These rules and regulations may be commonly applied in states that allow DtC wine shipping but they may not always be in effect in each state. It’s also important to remember that rules and regulations can be applied with varying levels of strictness. Wineries and other suppliers of wine that want to ship in a new state should consult with the right experts who can properly interpret how the rules apply to individual circumstances. Reach out to your compliance team, legal counsel or another winery to help determine what your next steps in DtC wine shipping might be.
Learn more about managing your DtC alcohol shipping compliance.