Wine shipping in the US
While often asked about how to travel with wine from Americans, from Europeans, we’re often asked, “What do you mean you can’t just send a bottle of wine from California to Pennsylvania?” It’s a logical question as the US is, at least in theory, one country, but there are time when the 50 states that comprise it are less cohesive than the notoriously grumble-prone (get a room UK & France) 28 countries that comprise the EU. But the EU common market generally works better as seen by a box of wine samples from the Rhône Valley that showed up a couple of days ago from France without a problem while living in California, getting bottles from New York importer involved all kinds of pain and labeling of “olive oil”. Now if there was only some way to finally get another box of samples from Israel that Madrid has decided to indefinitely “store” for us :(
Why is it like this in the US? Simply put, it’s due to laws hanging on from the nearly 100 year-old idiotic failure of Prohibition in the US. A lot of states kept these laws around as protective measures for their own nascent wine industries which obviously worked as Kentucky wine sales went through the roof (note, they didn’t.) If you’ve lived in California, you didn’t really care about these laws as that statewide common market of 38 million is more than happy to drink what is produced locally. With the massive growth of wine sales on the internet though, things changed considerably and these laws have proved unworkable as well as confusing as hell.
Thankfully, instead of having to explain the exact details of how this functions anymore, Wine Spectator assembled a very nice article with all the up-to-date details so that everyone can understand or at the very least see who can ship here. And, in the case of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah, to never set foot in these states which still forcefully believe in banning direct wine shipments, blah.