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From the Winery to Your Door | Traveling with and Ordering Wine from a Winery
Is there anything more Amazing than visiting a winery?
Picture a beautiful sun-filled day, completely with a stunning view, and three samples of the most delicious winery wines you’ve ever had. I’ve been fortunate to visit a variety of wineries around the world. Each with their own flavor and style, but always delicious. And I honestly can’t pick which view I like the best. It’s a toss-up between the beautiful fall foliage and rolling hills at the famous wineries in the Finger Lakes of Update New York and the quaint wine tour I took in the Tuscan region of Italy.
And it’s inevitable, after tasting these delicious wines, you’re likely to buy a bottle or two and bring them home. How can you transport the wine without breaking them? Can you ship the wine to yourself? Should you have the winery ship the bottles to your house? Or maybe you’ll remember the name of the winery and order them online when you get home so you don’t have to worry. Is any of this even legal?!
Before you can even uncork that bottle, you must be aware that an individual person may never ship wine, even to oneself. The US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS all have strict regulations against shipping wine from individuals. There are so many regulations for shipping wine, that only entities that have signed a “wine shippers agreement” can legally ship wine. These agreements are only available to licensed alcohol retailers an wineries themselves. This law was created for a reason: to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.
Because of the legislation mentioned above, the only way you can ship wine is through the retailer. However, even that can be tricky! Since the repeal of prohibition, each state manages its own liquor sales and laws. That means the options for ordering wine from an out of state winery varies depending on what state you live in. The laws vary depending on how you purchase the wine. States categorize wine purchases in three ways: “off-site”, “on-site”, and “Federal On-Site”. Off-Site simply means you purchase the wine away from the winery, like online or over the phone. On-Site means you purchase the wine while visiting the winery. Federal On-Site extends the shipping capabilities of On-Site purposes to include shipments made to other states. The amount that may be shipped is equal to the amount the individual was able to legally carry into the state without shipping. However, the Federal On-Site does not include future wine purchases or purchases from a wine-club. In other words, only wine purchased made on that specific day you visited the winery are covered.
You’ve probably already realized this, but your wine delivery will need a signature from an adult that is 21 or older. That means you need to have someone readily available to sign for your shipment. If you’re like most people, you probably work on days that shipments arrive. What can you do? Amazing Spaces offers a convenient package acceptance service. That means you can send your wine directly to your wine space. It will be signed for, secured, and preserved in an optimal storage environment.
I feel like I need a glass of wine after discussing all that. If you have more questions about shipping regulations, the best resource I’ve found is on the Wine Institute’s website. Start with their FAQ Section and then dive into some deeper resources, like their State Shipping Compliance Chart.
What about taking the wine with you?
Driving is the easiest way to transport wine from a winery. Typically, the winery will package up the bottles for you, but if you select an eclectic mix, consider bringing one of our custom wine insert and wine boxes with you. You can safely transport the wine in your car and know it will be kept secure. Make sure to follow your state’s laws on the amount of wine you can legally travel with.
Many of us fly to the winery destination. If that’s the case, then you can always travel with wine in your checked bag. WineSkin bags are designed to help protect your wine in this exact scenario. Simply pack a couple extra WineSkin bags, secure the bottles in the bag, and you’re ready to go! The TSA does have limitations on the amount of alcohol you can put in your checked bags and it varies depending on whether you’re doing domestic or international travel.
Let’s start with domestic travel in the United States. You can pack up to 5 liters of alcohol, so long as the alcohol content is between 24% and 70%. Luckily, most wine has less than 24% alcohol content. What does that mean? Alcohol is less than 24% alcohol content is not subject to hazardous materials regulation. That means you can pack as much as you’d like into your suitcase. The only thing you need to worry about is the weight limit through your airline. Cheers to that!
If you’re flying internationally with wine, it’s important to note that you will likely pay a duty tax on them. The only way around this is by purchasing alcohol in the duty-free section of the airport. The amount of alcohol you can bring in your checked bag varies depending on the airline you fly. When I brought wine back from Spain, KLM had a limitation of only 2 liters. Granted, this was nearly 10 years ago, so the rules may have changed. Your best bet is to check with your airline and see what they recommend.
Note: The content discussed and shared is created to better understand buying wine from wineries and who ships where for wineries to consumers; it should not be considered as legal advice.