<H1>US Wine Shipping Laws</H1>
<TD>In a country that produces Napa Valley Chardonnays, Washington Rieslings, Long Island Cabernets and great wines from almost every other state, it can be a felony to ship one of these wines between two states. The laws are different for every single state. How did this happen? </TD></TR></T></TABLE>
This shipping situation is the complex problem that the repeal of Prohibition in the United States brought. After prohibition, each state suddenly had control over alcohol shipments within the state. Depending on the group that had control, many states completely banned all shipments to and from that state, regardless of the age of the shipper and shippee. It didn't matter if the same person, from another location, was shipping wines back to his or her own home! This now means for many that if a vacationer finds a great Chardonnay while visiting a winery, his or her only hope of tasting it again is to hope that a local store carries it, or to make another trip.
Wine Distributors argue that direct shipments will cause tax problems, and that minors will have easy access to alcohol. However, current states allowing direct shipment are not finding any difficulty in having wineries or providers charge the tax - it works the same as with any other mail order product. Also, minors are hardly likely to order a case of fine wines from a far-off location, patiently wait a week for the case to show up on their doorstep, then forge an adult's signature and ID to receive it!
Currently, thirteen states offer "reciprocal" status - you can ship between these states without any trouble. These are: California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. This at least means that west-coast residents can share their wines with little difficulty.
Next, there are states where the shipping status is not completely
illegal, but there restrictions on shipping: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Dist. Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota (recent!
), Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wyoming. Check carefully before shipping in these states.
States where direct shipping is illegal: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
Next, the fun category. Wine shipments in these states are not only illegal, but felonies
: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
What is currently going on? Bills are being debated in many states regarding the shipment of alcohol. The quick rise of net sales is helping this along - just like amazon.com and reel.com are revolutionizing book and video purchases, companies like Wine.com are making it easier and easier to purchase wine on the net.
Note that FedEx and other shippers are now refusing to ship to "non-reciprocal" states. If you order on line from someone who claims to ship to you, when the above chart shows it should not be allowed, they may be bending the rules to do so. One way some work around the restriction is to ship to a related wine store in the given state. That wine store then reships the package, within state lines, to your doorstep or makes you come pick it up there.
What can consumers who live in the restricted states do? There are a few organizations working to sort out this muddle and define a clear set of common guideslines. Free the Grapes
is the most well known group, and their web page has a lot of information about the current state of events. The Wine Institute
is another storehouse of knowledge, tracking the wine shipment situation.
Shipping Status Updates
Connecticut Wine Shipping Status
Maine Wine Shipping Status
Massachusetts Wine Shipping Status
Nevada Wine Shipping Status
New Hampshire Wine Shipping Status
New York Wine Shipping Status
Rhode Island Wine Shipping Status
Virginia Wine Shipping Status
Vermont Wine Shipping Status
Wyoming Wine Shipping Status
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