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How to ship wine safely and legally

Let’s start with the basics

Is it legal for you to ship wine? That depends. On myriad factors, actually. Most importantly: Do you have a license to ship wine? If not, you’ve hit your first obstacle. Unfortunately, it’s against the law for an unlicensed person to ship a bottle of wine to a friend — or anyone else for that matter. And, if you are licensed to ship wine, you have to have a special contract with UPS for shipping wine.

Wineries, which typically are licensed to ship wine, face their own set of challenges. Some states allow only on-site visitors to a winery to ship wine. Other states allow you to order wine online, depending on the seller and depending on where you live. And then there’s the packing and the weather. Perhaps you’ve packed up your bottles so well they could withstand a natural disaster with nary a scrape. You’re all set — or so you think.

Until your pricey bottles of Bordeaux get stuck in a triple-digit Texas heat wave. Ouch. Fortunately, there are strategies to tackle everything from confusing regulations to unpredictable weather.

Follow these 10 simple steps to ship wine with fewer headaches.

1. Understand the regulations

Deciphering the rules and regulations surrounding shipping wine is likely the most complicated aspect. Beyond being licensed to ship wine and having a special shipping contract, you’ll also need to consider the varied landscape of municipal, state and country regulations as well.

Restrictions vary depending on who you are, what you’re shipping, how much you are shipping and where your recipient is located. For example, permissible wine shipments fall into five separate categories. Fortunately, resources like ShipCompliant can help the wine beverage industry make sense of it all.


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