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US Wine Shipping Laws



No Wine Shipments 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?


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!

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