Shipping Wine In, Out, and Around California

Are you considering shipping your wine within California, or even out of state? Like everything else in the wine industry, shipping can be complicated and difficult to stay up to date with. This article is written as a guideline for wineries to use prior to shipping any bottle to anyone. Please note, it is illegal in every state for any consumer to ship wine to any other consumer. This article is written as a guide for licensed wineries to ship wine to consumers.

Within the state of California:

The ability of California wineries to make retail wine shipments to adult California consumers is a basic privilege for a California Winegrower Licensee (Type 02 license designation). However, just because you have the privilege of shipping wine does not mean that any shipper will allow it. The United States Postal Service does not accept packages containing alcohol. UPS provides wine shipping services to wineries with valid Type 02 licenses. However, this is on a contract basis only. FedEx has a similar service, with stringent regulations for wine shipping containers. Regional carriers, such a Golden State Overnight, provide similar services, and can often beat the national carrier prices. No matter what carrier, all deliveries must have a person over age 21 sign for the package.

From outside of California to California:

Non-California wineries may ship retail wine to California residents over the age of 21, provided they have a Wine Direct Shipper Permit, available through the ABC. This is a Type 82 license designation. The permit application (Form ABC-248) is $10 per year, and can be found here. Once the California Board of Equalization receives the permit application, the non-California winery must provide the Board with a Certificate of Use Tax, and other reporting as required by the Board. If a non-California winery fails to report their sales, the Board will notify the ABC for further action.

From California to a state other than California:

California wineries do have the ability to ship wine to many non-California adults, but there are restrictions and exceptions, and regulations vary from state to state. For example, for the state of Tennessee generally, California wineries may ship a maximum of one case per month, not to exceed three cases per year, directly to individual consumers. And, as in many other states, Tennessee requires a one-time non-refundable application fee of $300.00, in addition to the annual license fee of $150.00, which is pretty hefty if you only have a few customers in the state. Other states, like Utah, prohibit California wineries from shipping any wine direct to consumers. This is why it’s so important to check the local laws and regulations for any state to which you are considering doing direct-to-consumer shipping.

For more information about shipping wine in and out of California, or for specific information about your needs, contact the author of this article.

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