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Shipping Wine to MA from abroad

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  • Jules May 2, 2002 10:07 AM
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I know that in many states it is a felony to ship wine from abroad. Does anyone know what the law is in Mass?

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  1. You cannot ship wine from other states into MA, so I imagine the same applies to abroad.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hank

      It isn't that simple, and to be honest, I do not know the law. That said, I do know people who have shipped wine here, and two co-workers recently got a bottle each of absinthe through the mail. I doubt it's a felony, especially for a couple of bottles, but I wouldn't ship a whole case and I wouldn't label the carton as to its true contents.

      1. re: Alan H

        I have had wine shipped to me in Mass. a few times, but is is risky and illegal. It is illegal to transport wine in a vehicle that is not licensed by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission; and Fedex and UPS vehicles are not licensed. Unfortunately they seem to be cracking down on this activity recently. On one occassion the wine was confiscated by UPS, and another time I had to pick-up the wine at their warehouse because they wouldn't deliver it in their own unlicensed vehicle.

        1. re: Veronica

          So, your car is licensed by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission? :)

          1. re: Alan H

            Perhaps this will clear this up as this is the business I am in. It is legal to ship wine from one private person to another, across state lines. It is illegal to have a wine shop, importer or winery ship you wine across state lines. The critical point is the tax, a personal shipment is not commerce and therefore not subject to state or federal taxes and therefore not of interest to either local or federal governments. A vehicle only needs to be licensed of it is engaged in the transport of alcohol for commercial reasons.

      2. re: hank

        Yes, you can. I have had wine shipped to me from other states. For instance, you can order wine online and have it shipped to you in MA. As for shipping from outside the country, you are allowed to ship wine for your own personal use; you simply have to pay a duty on it.

      3. a
        AGM/Cape Cod

        Jules-
        We had 2 cases shipped from France last year. The merchant that we dealt with knew which states were legal and not. Massachusetts is a state where it is legal to import wine for personal use. We paid customs duty and a small fee to the shipper (American Airlines). The rest of the shipping costs were paid by the merchant.

        3 Replies
        1. re: AGM/Cape Cod

          Thanks for the tip. Was it expensive (i.e., was it worth it to buy the wine abroad and ship it or in the end, is it the same as buying it in the US?)

          Thanks again

          1. re: Jules
            a
            AGM/Cape Cod

            Jules-
            The wines we bought we couldn't get or afford in the US. We took a barge tour in Burgundy last June and one of the activities was an afternoon in Beaune with a wine tasting. The place we went does shipping but it has to be at least two cases. We bought top flight Burgundies-one of red and one of white. The wines ranged from a 1979 Beaune Hospice de Beaune red (the most expensive at $55) to a 1993 Beaune Hospice de Dijon red at $21. We also got a 1993 Meursault and a 1992 Puligny Montrachet. Was it cheap? Not at all but it was a great price for those wines and those years. We are experienced in French wines and know the availabilities, prices and what we like. This was an unusual arrangement since they do all the shipping-all we had to do was pick it up at Logan, pay the duty ($26 for two cases) and a handling fee to American Airlines ($10). We were in Paris in March and brought back a half case of Alsacian wines. No one in Paris would ship for us but one place packs the wine in half cases for checking not carryon. I was nervous but the wine came through ok. I hope this helps. If you have specific questions email me.

            1. re: Jules

              I was in line at my local UPS when I noticed that they offer acoholic beverages between states. I saw a list of States where they can ship to, but I don't remember all the places they can ship from. But if you call them I am sure they can tell you.