Massachusetts Wine Shipping Laws
Massachusetts currently has around 15 wineries, which are known as "farm wineries". This means they are allowed to sell wine from their site, and many also act as distributors and provide their wines to local wine shops as well. Many of the Massachusetts wineries use fruit to make their wine, as well as making hard cider, beer, and even hard liquor.
I live in Massachusetts, so I avidly follow and write my reps about wine shipping laws. They have been up and down over the years. For a while it was completely illegal to ship wine. Then it was legal, but no carrier would do it because the laws were so convoluted.
Then in November 2008, the federal court said that Massachusetts complicated laws were illegal. They in essence made it really hard for out of state wineries to get wine to Massachusetts residents, which created an unfair situation. Massachusetts had to treat all wineries the same, in state and out of state.
So far so good? But Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley decided to appeal that judgement, to try to keep the complicated laws on the books! When I wrote to complain, the response was:
Thank you for contacting the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley relative to the appeal by the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission. By statute, the role of the Attorney General's Government Bureau is to represent state agencies-in this case the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC)-and to defend a statute that was passed by the Legislature. When a statue that has passed and is presumed to be constitutional is overturned by a single District Court judge, it is customary that the Attorney General's Office bring an appeal so that a panel of federal Appeals Court judges may fully vet the analysis of that single lower judge. Such review would include a legal analysis of the admissibility of the evidence at hand and the reasoning upon which the single judge based his or her decision. While we respect Judge Zobel's decision, we feel that it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth to have a full judicial review on this matter.
So that is the status as of August 2009. We SHOULD be able to ship, but no carrier will touch us because of the laws. So we in essence CANNOT ship. I have actively tried to have wines shipped in to me and have been told it can't be done.
Let me know if you have any fresh information about Massachusetts wine shipping laws! If you have recently had wine shipped in to you here, please let me know how smoothly the experience went. Often the laws say one thing, but FedEx and UPS say another!
Winery Visit Notes and Photos from Massachusetts
Wine Shipping Laws
United States Wineries by State
Wine Regional Information Around the World