Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I want to sell wine infused with licorice root and lotus flower. What are the legal requirements for buying, blending and selling it?
—Grayson, Grandview, Texas
To be clear, it’s illegal to buy wine at the store and then sell it. According to a representative from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), “Wine sold at wholesale or retail (for example, from a distributor or at a store) is already labeled and tax-paid and cannot be used for infusing or other further production, rebottling or relabeling for resale.”
To legally sell wine, wine producers (and yes, you’re legally considered a producer even if you’re buying bulk wine and then infusing it with additives for resale) must file all the necessary applications with the TTB to get approval, and you’d have to pay all the necessary taxes as well. Get more detailed information at the TTB website: www.ttb.gov/wine.
You should also make sure you’re in compliance with local and state laws, as alcohol production and sales regulations vary. The TTB can help you there as well, with their directory of state alcohol beverage authorities.