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How to Ship Wine: A Complete Guide
How to Ship Wine: A Complete Guide
Posted on
August 09, 2021

Oh the joy - you just visited a vineyard, stopped into a miraculous wine store while on vacation, had a great bottle at a restaurant while on a business trip, found the perfect bubbly to remember your honeymoon with -- now you want to send a few bottles of wine home or to a friend as a gift. A truly wonderful and great idea, unfortunately, stop right there. 

Fact is, sending any type of alcohol is not as easy as buying it then heading to a pack and ship store. No, actually, it's far more complicated and comes with numerous regulations. However, with that said, it's not impossible. You just need to know a few things to ensure the bottles make it to their destination. 

So, without further ado, we compiled a complete guide to shipping wine. In the following paragraphs we will discuss shipping regulations -- in-state, state-to-state, and overseas -- as well as what states allow shipping of wine, carrier rules, and more.

Regulations 

Let’s start at the beginning. In the U.S. there are only two universal laws when it comes to sending alcohol and that is. First, the sender and receiver must be over the age of 21. Second, it’s illegal for unlicensed individuals or businesses to sell or ship it. Which means you -- a consumer of wine -- can not just walk into a UPS, USPS, or FedEx with wine and send it. 

From there, the city, state, country of both the sender and receiver have different regulations. For example, in Vermont, during the period of one year, a winery can send up to 12 9-bottle cases of wine to a consumer. In Arizona, that number jumps to 18 12-bottle cases. On the other hand, in Utah, wineries can not send direct-to-consumer at all.

And, that is where it gets confusing for a lot of people. But, have no fear, we’re going to sort it all out. 

First things first, regulations all started when the 21st Amendment went into place and prohibition ended. It gave individual governments the ability to make and control their own laws regarding the sale and shipping of spirits, beer, and yes, wine. Let’s break it down. 

In-State 

Probably the most straightforward approach is in-state, when, for example, you are in northern California shipping to southern California. Even though you are not sending across borders, it is still very vital that you know local city and county laws. However, luckily, seeing as you must ship directly from the winery or licensed vendor, they will know the local regulations and be able to answer any questions. 

State-to-State 

Now, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. When sending state-to-state, the wine will be crossing borders and therefore the shipment must meet two sets of laws. That means, even if you are shipping to Arizona, which, as mentioned above, allows 18 12-bottle cases, if you are shipping from Vermont, you can only send 12 9-bottle cases. But, it doesn’t stop there. 

Of the 54 states, territories, and commonwealths, according to the NCSL, 42 currently allow direct-to-consumer shipping. The states you must be aware of include:

  • Alabama: prohibits alcohol shipments to consumers 
  • Arkansas and Rhode Island: require that the consumer to be present at the time of purchase
  • Delaware: asks that shipments be delivered to a wholesaler and then to the consumer
  • Mississippi: allows in-state winery shipments to consumers 
  • Utah: allows purchase through subscription programs; however, the packages must first be delivered to state liquor or package stores 

Again, most licensed vendors or sellers will know the regulations of the states. This will be very helpful to ensure the wine arrives safe and sound. 

Overseas 

The most difficult of them all, when crossing international borders things can get very tricky, very quickly. First, you will need to know if the wine you want to ship can legally be shipped to the destination without a permit. Again, this varies depending on the state receiving the package. On top of that, you will want to make sure all taxes and duties are paid. For this reason, while other countries may allow you -- a non-licensed individual -- to ship, it is always good to send directly from a licensed vendor or seller. They will be able to help you and ensure that your package is cleared. 

Major Shipping Companies That Might Be Used

Now that we have regulations out of the way, let's talk quickly about the carriers. Again, it may not surprise you that each carrier has its own set of rules. To avoid any complications, let's take a look at each. 

UPS

The United Parcel Service will happily ship and deliver alcoholic beverages; however, there are some stipulations. 


  • You must have an account with them. 
  • You must be a licensed and authorized professional according to any and all state and federal laws. 
  • You must adhere to a per-contract basis.
  • You must apply a special “Contains Alcohol” label to the outside of the package.  
  • You can not send or receive from any UPS location. 
  • You can not have a package delivered to a home. 

FedEx

Federal Express is also willing and happy to ship and deliver alcoholic beverages; however, like UPS, there are some guidelines. 


  • You must have an account with them. 
  • You must read and sign the alcohol shipping agreement. 
  • You must pack according to their requirements (padding, absorbent materials, etc.) 
  • You must apply a special “Contains Alcohol” label to the outside of the package. 
  • Signature is required upon delivery. 
  • Proof of age is required upon delivery. 

USPS 

The United States Parcel Service is not, let us repeat, is not willing to ship wine or alcohol of any kind. They consider alcohol-containing packages illegal. End of story, they simply will not do it. 

Gratsi

And, that brings us to Gratsi. The single easiest way to ship great wine is by ordering Gratsi Old Country Red Wine or Gratsi Old Country White Wine.

Gratsi's innovative packaging and business model handles all of the headaches for you. Shipping wine direct to you is what we do!

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