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U.S. Wine Shipping Laws, State by State

Where can consumers have wine shipped directly to their homes?
Photo by: Map by Henry Eng
Winery direct-to-consumer shipping laws continue to ease in the U.S.

Robert Taylor
Posted: July 14, 2014

Updated March 2017

• Winery Direct Shipping Map
• Out-of-State Retailer Direct Shipping Map
• Alphabetical State-by-State Listing

Much like finding a date, buying wine over the Internet is easier, safer and more popular than ever, but consumers who've gone through the process of purchasing wine online or over the phone from an out-of-state winery or retailer know that it always includes a tense moment of uncertainty, when the question arises: "What state do you live in?"

Which wineries and retailers will sell and ship wine directly to consumers varies from state to state, winery to winery and retailer to retailer. (Note that it is illegal for consumers to sell or ship wine without the assistance of a licensed third party.) In most states, consumers may have wine shipped to them directly from a winery, though most states prohibit consumers from ordering wine from an out-of-state retailer. Today it is illegal for a state to permit consumers to buy wine directly from an in-state winery but not from an out-of-state winery, but a state's right to regulate retailer shipping is less clear, and most states will allow consumers to have wine delivered from a local retailer, but not from one beyond the state's borders.

As for who does the actual delivering, it's not the United States Postal Service, which won't accept packages containing alcohol. Most direct-to-consumer wine deliveries in the United States are handled by a common carrier such as UPS or FedEx, and the package must be signed for by an adult age 21 or older.

If that all weren't enough to keep track of, wine-shipping laws are very loosely enforced: Some wineries and retailers are happy to ship wine to states that may not permit it, and not since Prohibition has an adult consumer been prosecuted for illegally receiving wine for their own personal consumption. Many wine lovers have violated their state's wine shipping laws without even realizing it.

So how did we fall into this seemingly impossible-to-navigate sea of shipping laws? Following Prohibition and up to 2005, state lawmakers pretty much decided who could and could not ship and receive wine based on what they considered to be the best interests of their state—it led to a tangled web of inconsistent and often unfair wine laws. But then the Supreme Court stepped in, and the winery and retailer direct-to-consumer wine-shipping landscape has changed drastically in the decade since its landmark Granholm decision, which ruled that it was unconstitutional for a state to discriminate between in-state and out-of-state wineries when it comes to who may sell and ship wine directly to a consumer.

The number of states that permit winery direct-to-consumer shipping has risen from 27 in 2005 to 42 as of August 2016, when Pennsylvania's winery direct-shipping law went into effect (both out-of-district winery and retailer shipping are permitted in the District of Columbia as well). In that same time, the number of states permitting out-of-state retailer direct-to-consumer shipping has fallen, from 18 states in 2005 to just 14 today.

So where can wine lovers get a bottle of wine delivered straight to their doorstep? Wine Spectator has compiled a comprehensive list of the wine shipping laws in all 50 states, with detailed information on how much wine, from which purveyors, residents can legally buy, along with two maps, one for winery shipping and one for retailer shipping.

We've organized the states into simple categories. For the winery direct-shipping map, those states that are indicated to have "limited winery direct shipping" either place a capacity-cap limit on the wineries that may deliver to their residents or place wholesaler-representation restrictions on which wineries may ship wine to consumers, both of which severely reduce the selection of wines available. We've placed states that only allow winery direct shipping under an on-site exception rule, by which a consumer must go to the winery to have wine shipped back to their home, in the "winery direct shipping prohibited" category.

For the out-of-state retailer shipping map, "reciprocal" states are those that only permit consumers to receive wine orders from retailers located in other states whose consumers are permitted to order wine from its retailers; other states simply require an out-of-state retailer to obtain a permit. In other words, when viewing our retailer shipping map, consumers in the yellow states (California, Idaho, Missouri and New Mexico) may only have wine delivered to them from retailers in the other green and yellow states; consumers in the green states may have wine delivered to them from any U.S. retailer. Out-of-state retailer-to-consumer shipping is prohibited in the white states.

See the state-by-state listings below for more detailed information; these are intended as general guidelines, not legal recommendations. For more information on individual states, as laws may change and are subject to regulators' interpretations, check with your state liquor control agency, or visit www.WineInstitute.org/shipwine.

Click on the Winery Direct Shipping Map to expand.

Map by Henry Eng



Alphabetical State-by-State Listing

The following briefly describes what each state permits, prohibits or limits in respect to interstate and in-state direct shipments of wine, along with details on how much wine (if any) consumers may buy and the requirements for it to be legally shipped. Case limits refer to the amount of wine that a winery may ship to each consumer in the specified time frame. (One case equals 9 liters, or 12 standard 750ml bottles; 2 cases is equivalent to 5 gallons.)

Alabama Direct shipping prohibited. Consumers may order wines from out-of-state wineries but must obtain permission from the state liquor authority and have the wine sent to an ABC store for pickup and payment of taxes.

Alaska Winery direct shipping permitted; direct retailer shipping permitted, except to dry communities.

Arizona Winery direct shipping permitted. Retailer shipping prohibited.

Arkansas Direct shipping prohibited, with on-site exception: Consumers must visit the winery in person to have wine shipped to their home, up to 1 case per calendar quarter. Retailer shipping prohibited.

California Winery direct shipping permitted; reciprocal retailer shipping permitted.

Colorado Winery direct shipping permitted; retailer shipping prohibited.

Connecticut Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 5 gallons every two months; retailer shipping prohibited.

Delaware Direct shipping prohibited, with on-site exception: Delaware residents may visit an out-of-state winery and bring or ship wine back to their homes, but shipping by common carriers (FedEx, UPS) is prohibited. Retailer shipping prohibited.

District of Columbia Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 1 case per month; retailer shipping permitted.

Florida Winery direct shipping permitted; retailer shipping prohibited.

Georgia Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Hawaii Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 6 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Idaho Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 24 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Illinois Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Indiana Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 24 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Iowa Winery direct shipping permitted; retailer shipping prohibited.

Kansas Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Kentucky Prohibitively limited winery direct shipping. Kentucky residents may have wine shipped to them from small wineries making 50,000 gallons of wine or less per year, except in dry counties, however, common carriers (FedEx, UPS) will not deliver to Kentucky. Retailer shipping prohibited.

Louisiana Limited winery direct shipping permitted. Wineries may ship wines that are not carried by a Louisiana distributor, up to 12 cases per year. Retailer shipping permitted.

Maine Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Maryland Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 18 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Massachusetts Winery direct shipping permitted, effective Jan. 1, 2015, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Michigan Winery direct shipping permitted; retailer shipping prohibited.

Minnesota Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Mississippi Direct shipping prohibited.

Missouri Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per month; reciprocal retailer shipping permitted.

Montana Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 18 cases per year; retailer direct shipping prohibited.

Nebraska Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 1 case per month; retailer shipping permitted.

Nevada Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping permitted.

New Hampshire Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping permitted.

New Jersey Limited winery direct shipping. New Jersey residents may have up to 12 cases of wine per year shipped to their home from small wineries making 250,000 gallons of wine or less per year. Retailer shipping prohibited.

New Mexico Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per month; reciprocal retailer shipping permitted.

New York Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 36 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

North Carolina Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per month; retailer shipping prohibited.

North Dakota Winery direct shipping permitted; retailer shipping permitted.

Ohio Limited winery direct shipping. Ohio residents may have up to 24 cases of wine per year shipped to their home from small wineries making 250,000 gallons of wine or less per year. Retailer shipping prohibited.

Oklahoma Direct shipping prohibited.

Oregon Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per month; retailer shipping permitted.

Pennsylvania Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 36 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Rhode Island Direct shipping prohibited, with on-site exception: Rhode Island residents may visit an out-of-state winery and have wine shipped to them, however, it is illegal for a common carrier (FedEx, UPS) to deliver wine in Rhode Island to anyone who does not have a valid wholesaler license. Retailer shipping prohibited.

South Carolina Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per month; retailer shipping prohibited.

South Dakota Effective January 2016, winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Tennessee Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 3 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Texas Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 4 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Utah Direct shipping prohibited.

Vermont Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Virginia Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per month; retailer shipping permitted.

Washington Winery direct shipping permitted; retailer shipping prohibited.

West Virginia Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per month; retailer shipping permitted.

Wisconsin Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 12 cases per year; retailer shipping prohibited.

Wyoming Winery direct shipping permitted, up to 2 cases per year; retailer shipping permitted.

Maryann Worobiec
Napa, California —  July 14, 2014 8:04pm ET
How about shipping a wine as a gift from one state to another, consumer to consumer? In your research do the rules about interstate shipping when money isn't exchanging hands differ at all? I'm guessing that for most states, only folks with valid licenses are allowed to receive alcohol.
Robert Taylor
New York —  July 14, 2014 10:20pm ET
MaryAnn,

No, it is not legal to mail or ship a bottle of wine anywhere in the United States unless you have a license to do so.

In states that permit it, you can take a bottle of wine to a willing local retailer or winery and they can legally ship the bottle for you.

That said, a stealthily boxed shipment of wine labeled as, say, "olive oil," will usually make its way to its intended recipient without issue, or so I have heard. But be warned: Not only is that a crime, but if your ruse is detected, the package can be confiscated without reimbursement.

Rob
Hugh L Sutherland Jr-m
owens cross road,al 35763 —  July 16, 2014 10:23am ET
As a resident of Alabama, I frequently am told that you cannot ship wine here. This is entirely wrong. You simply order the wine you want and have it shipped to a local ABC store. You then have to pay the tax of 30 cents per bottle. I am not aware that any permission is needed and have had no problem in receiving wine from most sellers.

Shipping costs can vary from zero to full price, which can be as much as $50/case ground. The weather can be a problem, but most retailers will hold the wine until called for.

If you can get the wine locally, always support your local wine stores.
Michael Keene
Berlin, VT —  July 16, 2014 2:54pm ET
I recall some of my early visits to wineries on the west coast (US) when I would occasionally be told that they cannot ship direct to Vermont because our state would not allow direct shipping. I thought this was odd because other wineries in the same AVAs would happily ship wines to me.

I later researched this question, and learned that it is legal to ship direct to consumers in Vermont as long as the shipper has paid the $300/year license fee to Vermont.

So now when I hear a winery tell me that the problem is Vermont law, I correct them and tell them to pay the license fee, and then it will be legal.
Austin Beeman
Maumee, Ohio —  July 20, 2014 3:48pm ET
According to this list wine cannot be shipped into the state of Ohio, but almost all the big online NJ, NYC, stores do so everyday. I know many many people that have done this.
Gerry Ansel
Fullerton, California, USA —  July 24, 2014 12:18pm ET
Can we PLEASE get a similar story about CORKAGE laws by state? (Yes, corkage is regulated in some states - prices are not just arbitrarily set by the proprietor.) We've been asking for this for the past several years. Thanks.
Robert Taylor
New York —  July 24, 2014 5:07pm ET
Gerry,

My colleague Ben O'Donnell and I last surveyed U.S. corkage laws in 2011: http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/44507

Note, however, that corkage laws are even more complex than wine shipping laws, as they can vary from city to city, and no restaurant is obligated to offer corkage even if it is legal. And as with shipping, there are also restaurants that will permit corkage even if it's prohibited in their state—like wine shipping laws, corkage laws are very loosely enforced.

Rob
William Thomen
San Francisco —  September 28, 2015 1:35pm ET
I have had a similar experience as Austin has. I frequently order wine on the internet from wine shops all across the US and have never been told that they can not ship to me in California. Yet, if I understand your article correctly, this should only be possible in states that have reciprocity with California - New Mexico, Idaho and Missouri. I very slim list.
Robert Taylor
New York —  September 28, 2015 1:56pm ET
William,

As stated in the article, these laws are very loosely enforced. In fact, as I've reported in the past, California has even gone so far as to state in court that it will "exercise its prosecutorial discretion NOT to pursue enforcement action of any type … against retail licensees in other states for shipping wine … directly to California residents,” despite that it may be technically illegal to do so.

You can read more about that in my blog post, "Legalize It": http://www.winespectator.com/blogs/show/id/50662

Cheers and happy shopping!

Rob
Hugh L Sutherland Jr-m
owens cross road,al 35763 —  December 5, 2016 2:07pm ET
Permission to have wine shipped to Alabama is not usually needed. You only need to have it shipped to a local ABC store so they can collect $0.30 per bottle. If desired, you can go to www.abc.alabama.gov and print out the request form.
Robert Taylor
New York —  December 5, 2016 2:22pm ET
That is correct Hugh,

However, because wine must be shipped to an ABC store in Alabama rather than directly to a consumer's home address, we do not consider that "direct shipping" for the purposes of our map.

Rob
Michael Hall
Texas —  December 21, 2016 12:19pm ET
I believe that Texas allows retailer shipping if retailer has a permit.

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