Direct-to-Consumer Shipping -- Not Quite the Green Light for Every State
by Eleanor & Ray Heald
Reader Comments... [11]

Pat McGibney
Valley of the Wind Winery, Colorado
Very well written and to the point article. Being a very small winery, I've found the paperwork burdens of permitting, shipment records, and shipping costs to far outweigh any business income. My customers from the Great Plains States don't have the discretionary income to pay the ever increasing shipping costs. I'd like to see two surveys: one that indicates the household income of wine club members, and another that indicates the wine club membership per capita by state.

Claire Marlin, Managing Director
San Saba Vineyards, Monterey, CA
Well written article that touched on many of the direct ship challenges for a small winery, such as the time needed to deal with permitting and compliance reporting. Hard to do with an office staff of 1, who also handles accounts payable, payroll, etc. Still, we find it a very important growth part of our business and a way to continue a relationship with visitors who have been to our tasting room and want to continue accessing our wines in their hometown.

Ted Marks, Proprietor
Atwater Estate Winery, Finger Lakes, NY
I remember being told, "be careful what you wish for". Now I know what they meant. The different laws, fees and bonds required are making it very unprofitable to ship to most states. We don't mind collecting taxes, but to have to fill out forms each month for miniscule amounts is stupid and costs me and the States unreasonable expenses. An example of the plethora of laws that we must wade through. Due to a lightning strike we were unable to file our California return, where we owed $3.67 cents, on Saturday. We sent it in on Tuesday. We have been fined $50.00 for being late. They continue to ignore or acknowledge explanations, and I refuse to pay. Our next step is to somehow work towards a logical system for all states, Good Luck!!!

Bill Kinzler
Excellent article. I particularly liked the current "direct shipping" map which is reminiscent of a pre-National Prohibition map (circa 1890-1913) with the light brown states representing dry states and the dark brown states representing wet states.

Bob McBratney, Owner
Stone Bluff Cellars, Oklahoma
The article was both informative and a stimulus for thought. Our industry here is very young and poor and as yet unable to mount a viable opposition to the well funded wholesale lobby. The efforts of others outside Oklahoma is much appreciated. I'd welcome a nationwide consortium of wineries to sue for direct sales and shipping at the federal level.

Steve Shepard, Winemaker
RayLen Vineyards, Yadkin Valley, NC
I saw this article and thought it will create the controversy our industry needs. Making wine in the Yadkin Valley of NC has it's marketing challenges even though we feel and have been told by many wine consumers that our wine will stand up to any region in the world. I need to pat myself on the back for a job well done!


Tony Mahoney, Wine lover
Boston, MA
As a long time wine drinker/collector I am saddened to live in a state like Massachusetts. I pay plenty of taxes and have supported the local package stores, and will continue to do so. But I still wish to have a broader choice when it comes to wine. I find it amazing that the liquor lobby can have such a hold on this state. We even shot down the right for supermarkets to sell wine! How backward can one be?

Keith Wollenberg, Director
Specialty Wine Retailers, Nationwide
The section of the article on the Illinois "compromise" misses the fact that Illinois consumers will be deprived of a right they have enjoyed for 15 years. They will no longer be able to purchase wine from out of state retailers. So the wholesalers get to partially restore their protected market, at the expense of the consumers, and of the out of state retailers? This hardly seems to be to the consumers benefit.

Joel Goldberg
A great follow-up article to a momentous decision. Here, in the home state of Granholm v. Heald, I can now legally receive both of my Creek wines (Tablas and Quilceda) at my front door. Despite the remaining rearguard actions and wholesaler-dominated legislatures, wine lovers nationwide have lots of reasons to give thanks. So thanks, Eleanor & Ray!

Jonas, Project Specialist
Agistix, California
Great article! If you're a winery looking for a good way to ensure you're compliant with all of the wine shipping regulations but don't have time to learn everything yourself, Agistix has managed services which review your shipments for compliance. We can also automate your routing guides to take advantage of any carrier contracts you've established as well as a heavy freight bid tool which allows carriers to compete for your business. Check out

Sarah, Wine Industry Supporter
Kansas has a small and growing wine industry, hampered by a complicated and unfriendly regulatory environment. We have shipping of wine available, but it is labor intensive for both the winery and the receiver. At this time, a winery must ship to a retailer in the location chosen by the person placing the order. This increases the amount of paperwork for both the winery and the retailer, as well as the cost of the wine as that the retailer can charge a surcharge for handling the wine being shipped.