Shipping assorted wine from CA to MA?
May 12, 2009 1:09 PM   Subscribe

How can I ship a bunch of bottles of wine I buy at various vineyards from California back to Boston?

I'm heading to Napa/Sonoma in a week or so, and I'd like to be able to ship a case of wine home, rather than risk broken bottles in my checked bag on the flight back. I'll be visiting a lot of wineries and buying at different places, and so I think it's a bit more complicated than if one merchant was shipping to me. UPS and FedEx websites say that they can only ship wine from a Licensee (i.e., business; not an individual).

I'm pretty sure that rules still prohibit shipping wine to MA in general, so I can have it delivered to my parents' house in NH if necessary.

Basically, is there any place that can package my bottles and ship them? (Like a wino's UPS store?) How legal, and how expensive would it be?

I read this previous post but I'd like recommendations of a specific place that will do this, if such exists, or any other ideas.
posted by supramarginal to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
At most vineyards I have visited, they have been more than happy to arrange shipping for me.
posted by dersins at 1:21 PM on May 12, 2009

This site seems to imply that you can't directly ship to NH, but this winery site state that orders may be shipped to either state via the three tier system. It might be that most vineyards realize there's benefit in getting nation-wide deliveries set up on their end.

If you know where you're going ahead of time (exact locations or general region), you can check the websites of those wineries or contact them for more info. It might not be that bad.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:29 PM on May 12, 2009

What dersins said. I've had wines shipped from various wineries. Last time was with a friend who had them shipped to Hong Kong. One was Robert Sinskey I recall where he bought and they shipped him a crate - but they all seemed happy to arrange it.
posted by vacapinta at 1:40 PM on May 12, 2009

At most vineyards I have visited, they have been more than happy to arrange shipping for me.

Definitely. Call ahead (even just call one - the laws are the same for everyone), ask if there is any obstacle to shipping into MA. If not, take it as it goes while you're out there. It won't be cheap, but it will be easy to handle it on a per-winery basis.
posted by rkent at 1:46 PM on May 12, 2009

Oh, also check out Martignetti's before you go (and, um... that place over on 28/38 in Medford), if you have a list of wineries where you'll be visiting. They actually bring in tons of stuff from Napa/Sonoma so it'll be handy to know ahead of time what you should actually focus on shipping, and what you can just remember to pick up once you get home. I mean, I don't know what your budget is like, but it will be way more financially efficient to only ship the wines that really don't distribute outside the area and pick up the rest locally once you go home.
posted by rkent at 1:50 PM on May 12, 2009

The winery can arrange shipping for you.

Barring that, while it is illegal to ship wine to MA, it is not illegal to ship Really Big Bottles of Perfume. Just sayin'.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:58 PM on May 12, 2009

All Ways Cool does this.
posted by judith at 1:59 PM on May 12, 2009

2nding BitterOldPunk. Boyfriend bought wine in New Zealand and brought it back with him. He wanted to ship it as a thank you gift to an employer. He was told it was illegal and his best bet was to pack it up and label it as balsamic vinegar.
posted by spec80 at 2:08 PM on May 12, 2009

Buying from a bunch of wineries isn't going to make shipping from a single winery easy. If I were you, I'd buy a styrofoam box for a case of wine. Twelve individual cylinders in a cardboard box. Fill it up with wine bought on the way, then take it to a UPS outlet for shipping. They aren't going to ask what's in the box. This may or may not be technically legal, I don't honestly know.

You may also want to consider packing it well and checking the box as luggage on the plane. Shipping wine during the summer is a dicey proposition, and a case of wine is awfully heavy and expensive to ship air.
posted by Nelson at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2009

When we were there in 2008, we slipped a bottle of wine into a box full of other things to be shipped home via UPS. We were caught. I'm not sure if they x-rayed the box or what. But make sure you follow their rules.
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:51 PM on May 12, 2009

Last time I was back home in St. Helena I shipped some difficult to find liquor (bloody WA state liquor laws) via the St. Helena Copy and Mailing Center. It wasn't super cheap, but they've got specialized bottle boxes in various sizes and everything I shipped arrived intact about a day after I'd returned to Seattle (I shipped it the day before I left California). Not sure if they're able to ship to states that don't allow direct shipping, and someone over the age of 21 has to sign for the package on the other end. They also offer insurance up to any value, which is nice if you're buying pricey wines. I'd use them again in the future.
posted by Jawn at 10:43 PM on May 13, 2009

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