Since the 2005 Granholm v. Heald Supreme Court decision addressing the interstate direct shipment of wine, the number of states allowing out-of-state wineries to ship directly to consumers has increased from 31 states to 40. The experience for licensed wine retailers (for example: brick and mortar wine shops, California Type 85 or 20 licensees and auction houses) however, has been somewhat different. The number of states previously available to retailers since 2005 has declined from 18 to 14 states and the District of Columbia.
What Retailers Need to Know
To help retailers navigate the market, we’ve created a quick reference guide, including basic information on regulations in the states available for retailer-to-consumer wine shipping. This guide includes links to license applications, statutes, state websites, and volume limits (if applicable). Note that four states on this list are “reciprocal” states. Reciprocity means generally that if state X’s retailers are allowed to ship into state Y, then state Y’s retailers may ship into state X without the need to obtain a direct shipper license or permit in the destination state. These states are: Idaho, Missouri, New Mexico, and California. General requirements that apply to interstate retail shipments also include but are not limited to:
- Customer volume limits (all regions but Alaska)
- Direct shipping permits (Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming)
- Producer consent (Virginia)
- Label registration (Virginia, West Virginia)
- Third party marketing restrictions (Virginia)
- Direct shipment to dry areas prohibited (Alaska, New Hampshire, West Virginia)
All states available to retailers are also available to wineries, and in many cases the regulations for the two shippers are similar. Indeed, permit-required states like North Dakota and New Hampshire allow for retailers and wineries to use the same application process and abide by the same rules in order to direct ship wine to that state. With this observation in mind, it would stand to reason that there is the potential for retailers to be welcomed to the same direct shipping states as wineries; actual practice, however, gives wineries access to three times the amount of the US market share.
- Want more information on wine retailer direct shipping? Visit the Specialty Wine Retailers Association website
- For a history of retail shipping legislation and litigation since Granholm, read R. Corbin Houchins’ “Notes on Wine Distribution” (see page 17 for “Direct Shipments by Retailers”)
- FedEx Approved Zip Codes for Alaska
- Are you a winery? Visit the Wine Institute State Shipping Laws web page for information on winery direct shipping (not applicable for retailers)