Navigating through the complex world of international wine shipping is a daunting task. But this doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. It can be puzzling because laws vary from state to state and from country to country. Still, unlike the U.S., most countries don’t impose strict regulations on the shipment of alcohol. Once wine makes its way out of the country, it usually arrives to its place of destination without any problems. What creates the problem is sending wine from another country to the U.S. State laws may prevent your wine from arriving at your destination as planned when shipping to the U.S. So to avoid this, it is good to know the “ins and outs” of international wine shipment.
Shipping wine from one state to another country, or vice versa, can be illegal. States that offer reciprocal status such as California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin will not be so imposing when it comes to shipping alcoholic beverages from one state to another. The reverse is also true because of the lenient laws being allowed on wine shipments to these states. What poses a problem though, are the other states, not mentioned, that offer restrictive status or a partial ban on the shipment of large quantities of wine. Some states require a license to ship alcoholic beverages into and out of the state.
Worldwide courier services such as DHL, FedEx and UPS offer services tailored to the shipment of wine and spirits. They are a source of extensive information regarding laws concerning wine shipping and they often post this information online. Still they have requirements that must be followed. One stipulation is that the documentation process must be electronic. In addition, a Wine Shippers Agreement must be completed before shipping any bottles. Finally, there are package requirements that must be fulfilled by the shipper. The packaging must be made of molded polystyrene while the box must be made of corrugated cardboard.
If you are shipping wine to sell in the US, many Google-searchable wine buyers in the US can guide you on how to do it. They have a “home court advantage” when it comes to these laws. They also know which laws are enforceable in each individual state. They will advise you as to how to prepare certain documents, such as the bill of lading and any export documents.
Regardless, it is important to do your research ahead of time. The internet makes this easy; all of the information is at your fingertips. When you’ve got a good idea of what the shipping laws are in the state you want to ship to, perform a Google search for “wine buyers”, or something similar, and begin finding the wine buyer that best suits your needs.