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Wine Shipping Problem

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When I visited Germany a few years ago I found a particular wine I liked and went on line and ordered 6 bottles. The problem is US Customs has it sitting in New Jersey and the only way I can get it is to go and pick it up, send someone to pick it up or they say I can use a "shipper". I live in the Pittsburgh area and only have about 10 days left of my 30 days to pick it up before they "discard" it. Any suggestions on who these shippers are that I can be in contact with to go there and get it and ship it to me? UPS will not do it.

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  1. Pennsylvania is a control state. Here's a link to the Liquor Control Board's consumer page with information on licensed direct wine shippers.

    1. My wine shipping problem today:

      Here's what the FEDEX tracking for my shipment said...
      "No attempt made, delivery scheduled for next business day"

      Never seen that one before. ;)

      I always wine mule the bottles myself. With a good molded styrofoam shipping container inside wheeled luggage, I've never had breakage problems. When I know I'm flying to wine country, I go out with one empty bag. As long as you keep it under 50 pounds, there are no excess baggage charges. I've never paid duty.

      1. Once, when time was too short for Fedex or UPS to get something from Hawaii to NYC, I had it send it via a passenger flight. When it arrived in NYC I had to have someone pick it up. I used a messenger service to pick it up and deliver it.

        You might try and do the same. I'm sure you could find a messenger service to pick it up and they could also handle the shipping from UPS (or whomever) to you once "it's in the country". The question is whether it'd be worth the cost of doing so. Best of luck.


        P.S. Like the previous poster I've always just lugged it home as check-on luggage myself.

        1. I was at FedEx to pick up some wine recently and saw a pile of individual wine shipments which they had decided to hold/refuse to ship, because of state laws against personal shipping (even non commercial as gifts!) - question is: can you ship wine to yourself prior to travel or does this require a license of sorts, or are the regulations varied?

          3 Replies
          1. re: tdo ca

            Each state has its own laws. You need to check with the state you are shipping the wine to.

            1. re: tdo ca

              No, wait a minute! That's not wine in your FedEx or UPS package. It's OLIVE OIL! That's right, that's the ticket. Yeaaahhh.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Which is OK as long as bottles don't brake during shipment.
                If they do, you're in deep s**t.

            2. Are you sure that UPS will not do it? I have had UPS ship wine to me in Pennsylvania (from California). The only requirement that they had was that someone 21 or up had to sign for it.

              I'd try calling UPS again and maybe you will get the right person.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Greg P.

                I'm fairly certain that the issue is that the entity SHIPPING the wine has to be licensed to do so. Both UPS and FedEx have wine shipping divisions. The following is from the UPS site: "UPS only accepts packages containing wine from shippers who have signed and entered into a contract with UPS. UPS does not accept shipments of any other alcoholic beverages". The most significant feature of that 'contract' is that the shipper has documented that it is licensed by it's own state to ship wine.

                That is totally separate from the laws in the individual states as to who can or can't receive it.

              2. At the very least, before you lose the wine, find a customs agent to arrange to get it out of bonded storage. If anyone in the NY area can then do you a favor of getting in to you, it should be dealt with.

                1. Is shipping to PA still an issue in 2009? I bought wine as a thank you for someone and want to know if I can ship to PA.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: mglipski

                    If you as an individual ship wine to another individual in Pennsylvania, you are okay. Wineries in other states have to jump through the PA hoops in order to ship to individuals. Wine shops are also subject to the PA regulations. Better to take the bottle home, pack it yourself and then go to FedEx or UPS yourself.

                    1. re: araknd

                      "If you as an individual ship wine to another individual in Pennsylvania, you are okay." I think that's right for shipping WITHIN the state. It would be true from outside PA except for the fact that the USPS will not knowingly accept a shipment of wine at all and neither FedEx nor UPS will accept shipments to anywhere from someone who is not licensed (in their own state) to sell wine.

                      Here's a link, from Melanie Wong's post above, that may help explain: http://www.lcb.state.pa.us/plcb/cwp/v...

                      As outlined in that link, yYou CAN now buy wine at a winery and have them ship it into PA but the whole procedure is so involved and complex (and expensive) that most wineries won't do it. The few that do seem to just ignore the rules.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        The link from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is relevant to a resident of Pennsylvania that wishes to purchase wine from a vendor outside Pennsylvania. The OP wanted to send wine as a private individual to another private individual, which he has the rights to do. This is NOT interstate commerce for which Pennsylvania is due any taxes or levies.

                        I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. I have lived in Pennsylvania, however and have sent wine to friends that still reside there, from the "grand Republik of California". :-)

                        1. re: araknd

                          Maybe the link was off-point (I was trying to explain more than the OP wanted to know), but the issue is HOW to ship wine into PA. The OP may have the RIGHT to ship individual to individual, but the shippers won't do it if you tell them what's in the package.

                          Believe me, I owned a wine shop for several years and had many people ask me to ship for them because they had been refused by the USPS, FedEx and UPS. If people ship wine as individuals they are likely calling it olive oil or something else. I'm sure it happens every day.

                          1. re: Midlife

                            I was off when I put OP in my reply to you. I was replying to mglipski, who was inquiring about sending wine to someone in PA as a gift.

                            This whole thread is a sad statement about the arcane regulatory environment that has grown up around moralistic issues, like the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

                            1. re: araknd

                              I knew you were referring to mglipski. The other posts are 2 1/2 years old, so the O OP is likely not around.

                              Actually, it's really not so much moralistic issues as politics and business. Each state wants it's tax revenue, but even moreso, each local wine distributor fights like hell (politically) to get legislation passed that keeps wine sales coming to consumers through THEIR local channels, so they get their profit. Check out this link for some background and click back to other pages about the issue: http://www.wineinstitute.org/initiati...

                              1. re: Midlife

                                Oh I know all about the political forces at work to keep the $$ flowing. In the Pennsylvania link, they specify that one can only buy wine from out of state, if it is not stocked at the state store. My moralistic comment goes back to the time of prohibition and the repeal, when they could only get the the Prohibition Act repealed if the federal law circumvented the commerce clause and allowed each individual state to dictate how their residents could partake. This is a discussion that I have had on a personal level with local and federal legislators several times, over many years and never really got any satisfaction from their political answers.

                                1. re: araknd

                                  Thanks all.

                                  ~Native of PA now in CA

                                  1. re: mglipski

                                    what part of PA are you from and in what part of CA are you now residing?

                  2. A lot of the folks I know from wine boards that live in the Philly metro are using an offsite storage location in NJ that can can direct ship to. This is great, with the exception of the few wineries that won't ship to NJ ie Kosta Browne, Sea Smoke, Myriad, Emeritus, and some others. Hence the reason we have offsite in Manhattan since the above will ship to NY.

                    The PALCB has the gustapo on alcohol, and I feel bad for PA residents. Such a pain in the rear, and the PALCB stores are nothing to write home about...and I've heard horror stories about cooked wines. The few daily drinkers I have bought from PALCB stores have been OK thus far, but I have only bought 4-6 bottles throught them on a whim. -mJ

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: njfoodies

                      I'd love to know the name of the offsite storage location in NJ. My brother lives in Philly and it costs me $25/bottle to ship wine to him there. Good line about the gestapo.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        I will have to look through my e-mail on my laptop at home, but I think it is called Zip Wine Storage or something like that. I think they are located in Pennsauken. Awesome option for those living in or close to Philly!

                        1. re: njfoodies

                          I'd love to know how it is that a storage facility gets you around the New Jersey prohibitions against direct shipment to consumers. From my experience, the reason most wineries won't ship to NJ is that FedEx and UPS won't accept the shipments. I checked the FedEx site and it does not permit "offsite" delivery (which is where a consumer orders online, by phone, etc.. from out-of-state.

                          When I had my shop I inadvertently shipped some wine to Vermont or New Hampshire (can't recall which). It was delivered but they obviously have some type of monitoring arrangement with FedEx because I got a cease and desist letter from the State alcohol board there. If I'm recalling correctly, to continue to ship there I would have had to pay for a permit and pay the State something like 8% tax, which I'm pretty sure they said I could NOT legally charge the customer. State consumer shipping laws are much more complicated than a simple Yes or No. Sheesh!

                          1. re: Midlife

                            Actually, most wineries DO ship to NJ. The only mailers that we are on that do not ship to NJ are Sea Smoke, Kosta Browne, Emeritus, Antica Terra, Lillian, and Quilceda Creek. Other than that, most of them have no problem shipping to me.

                            The offsite that I used is actually in East Orange, but their shipping address is in Manhattan. As soon as the wine arrives, they truck it across the border to their climate controlled warehouse. It's a heck of a convenience, and their yearly contract is the best deal out there. And they also have NO fees for wines delivered to picked up. Gotta love it, and it beats having wineries ship to my sister in IL, then having to have her ship it to me here. -mJ

                            1. re: njfoodies

                              Aha! The Manhattan Connection!

                              The wineries that DO ship.............. I can only guess. FedEx, UPS. and The Wine Institute (major player in the lobbying fight to open up direct shipping) are all pretty clear on that.

                              1. re: Midlife

                                Yes, the ones that do ship are arriving via either FedEx or UPS. usually depends on the winery. But a signature is always required, hence the reason I always hip to my wife's office as we're never home during the day. -mJ

                              2. re: njfoodies

                                njfoodies -- Would you share the name of the offsite storage place you reference above? I'm in Toms River and just beginning to look ... and true to form, Ocean County and Monmouth County seem to be a bit of a desert for this. So, it seems that north Jersey is as good as I'm going to find. Any other suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.

                                1. re: njfreqflyer

                                  Manhattan Wine Company. They have ship to addresses in both New York City, as well as New Jersey. Great place, awesome customer service, and constant storage temps. The prices are awesome, and I think contracts start at as little as 3 cases. Convenient pick/drop off during the week as well. We're actually heading up there one weekend in a few weeks to get together with the owner when he gets back from Burgundy/Bordeaux. We'll pick up a few cases there, and drop a few off, and maybe enjoy a few glasses. Check them out online at http://www.mwcwine.com/ Tell them that I sent ya! -mJ

                            2. re: njfoodies

                              Njfoodies, would you please check your contact info for Zip Wine or ZipCo Wine Storage? If it's the latter, the website is down, and there is no current business listing. The owner is/was Scot (Zippy) Ziskind.

                              By the way, here in California a consumer can ship wine to PA, but it costs a fortune, so it makes no sense to do it. Any help you can provide as to where to ship wine across the border from Philly in New Jersey, I'd most appreciate.


                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                Roger that. I'll see what I can find for you, but I am pretty sure that was the place. I just e-mailed my buddy who uses their services to see whawt he can find out. More to come! -mJ

                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                  As promised:

                                  http://www.zipcowine.com/ but for some reason the site is down...I emailed Scot "Zippy" Ziskind about it and is working on it. His number/email Zipwine@aol.com Phone: (215)625-3928. Hope that helps!

                                  1. re: Zipwine

                                    For international shipping inbound or outbound USA has anyone had problems?

                                    1. re: Greg Mclaughlin

                                      Greg, could you be more specific? What are your concerns? How much do you want/need to ship? And in what direction?