A year ago, I made a list of my Predictions & Desires for 2014, and #5 was a desire for the passage of a law that would allow wineries to ship to Massachusetts. There had been some hopeful signs in 2013 that it might occur, and in 2014 it came to fruition with a new Direct Wine Shipment law. I noted some caveats at the time, but more progress has been made since then.
ShipCompliant reported that as of February 1, 2015, FedEx Express and FedEx Ground would "open the state of Massachusetts for legal shipments of alcoholic beverages." That was excellent news, as that was one of the caveats. Having a carrier willing to transport wine into Massachusetts is an important and positive change since the passing of the new law. A recent Boston Globe article also highlighted some encouraging information about direct wine shipping. Besides FedEx, the Globe mentioned that UPS has 80 licenses to deliver shipped wine, and may seek more in the near future.
Another of my caveats involved whether or not wineries would obtain a direct wine shipping permit for Massachusetts. That license costs $300 for the first year, and then $150 for successive years. There are other requirements that such wineries must follow, involving additional time, effort and expense, Not all wineries will choose to obtain this license, meaning you might not be able to get wine shipped from your favorite U.S. winery.
The Boston Globe article noted that 91 wineries, mainly on the West Coast, have already applied for direct wine shipping permits, though the article only names one of those wineries. As there are over 7700 wineries in the U.S., this is a tiny amount but the process has only just started and I'm sure more wineries will sign up in the near future. ShipCompliant has done an excellent job in providing instructions to wineries on obtaining the Massachusetts Direct Wine Shipper license, making it easier to navigate the new regulations.
Wine lovers in Massachusetts though need to take action, to help make direct wine shipment a success. I ask you to contact your favorite U.S. wineries and tell them that you want to be able to get their wines shipped to you. These wineries need to know that a demand for their wines exists in Massachusetts. These wineries need to know it will be financially advantageous to them to apply for a Direct Wine Shipper license. These wineries need to know there is a strong customer base for their wines in Massachusetts.
Write a letter or email to your favorite wineries. Contact them on Facebook, Twitter or some other social media outlet. Blog about them. Get the word out, in whatever manner that you can, and let them know you want to be able to order their wines in Massachusetts. The more people that do this, the more wineries which will see the advantage in shipping to Massachusetts. If you do nothing, then you can't get upset when your favorite wineries won't ship to Massachusetts. Step up to the plate and show U.S. wineries how much you care.
Let your voice be heard.