Whenever my Hubby & I travel, I like to see if there is a winery in the area. So this past October we went to New England and Long Island, NY. I was very excited about this trip because Long Island has some really good wineries.
I got to visit quite a few and even found one on Cape Cod and Rhode Island. Now you are probably wondering why I have not written about this adventure before now. Well, it is because my wines are stuck in Massachusetts at my Husband’s Aunt’s home! And I’m “spitt’n mad” at the state AND federal government.
Did you know that it is against federal law to ship wine to yourself through the mail, Fed Ex, or UPS? You have to have a special shipping licence. If I was a winery or a distributor, I could do that.
Sully and I never thought it would be a problem because I didn’t have many bottles to ship, so we didn’t even think to have the wineries ship the one or two bottles I bought from them. However, when we showed up at the UPS Store and told them to ship the wine, they said they couldn’t because it is a federal offense and they could be fined $50,000 and we didn’t have a license. Talk about going into panic mode! So we went to Aunt Claire’s house and dropped my “babies” off until we could figure out what to do. I knew she would take good care of them and keep them cool in the basement…that’s where wine seems to be happiest anyway !!!
I started getting on the internet and some people suggested going ahead and packing it in checked luggage, if you are flying. Sully said if we had enough time we could have bought a suitcase and put the wine in it and had UPS ship it and not tell them. Some people said to write “glass” or “olive oil” on the box. One person said “holy water”…I liked that one the best.
As I was researching this problem, I came across some organizations that are trying to combat this issue. They are: “Free the grapes” (www.freethegrapes.org) and “The Wine Institute” (www.wineinstitute.org). I also came across some legislation called H.R. 5034. It is something that liquor distributors support because it keeps them as the “middleman” and limits wineries, distillers,and brewers from selling direct to you. I know I’m simplifying this, but Damn it! We are not in the Prohibition Era anymore and don’t mess with my wine club shipments!!!
While I’m on a rant…distributors are not my favorite people. I was asked to do a wine tasting for my Cousin Mark’s birthday and I wanted certain wines that I normally don’t see on the shelves at the liquor stores, so I asked a friend of mine who has access to some of the distributors (not all of them because his business is too small…that’s another issue!) to get them for me. Unfortunately, certain wines are carried by certain distributors and some distributors required me to buy at least 2 cases of each wine.
Just to let you know, if I do a wine tasting at a private home; I cannot sell wine because the license to sell is attached to the winery not the person.
If I have offended anyone or given out wrong info, please let me know.
Until then I will be waiting for my Long Island wines to come home to Texas where they belong.
P.S. I never went to the winery in Rhode Island because they could not sell to me over the phone and they didn’t know if they could ship to Texas!
Now breathe. Don’t you just love all the regulatory crap our government puts on us?! You’d think they have better things to do with their time.
You just found this out? I’ve been a member of free the grapes for a long time. I think my cousin sent his wine back labeled Olive Oil when they moved back from Europe. If it is only a bottle or two, I pack it carefully in our checked luggage and fly it with me.
So, road trip to New England to pick up the hostage wine?
I know! I’m soooo embarrassed that I didn’t know about “Free the Grapes” until recently.
I made Sully be a friend of the organization on his Facebook and we saw you!
Hi Lori, we have similar loves in our lives, good wine and JoeB. Please add me to your list. I’m going to have fun reading your back catalog. I’d be happy to assist you in getting some good stuff from California. We have our ways. ;>)
Rick you are awesome! I will happily add you to my “Twisted Wine Peep” list. I knew I would meet some good folks from the JB forum.