If you were thinking about pouring a glass of wine on and settling in to some online shopping for your favorite bottles, think again.
Your preferred wine site may no longer be allowed to ship to you.
We were one of the first to cover this shipping issue last year, and it has only gotten worse.
"Your favorite online store won't exist, and FedEx (FDX) - Get Report and UPS (UPS) - Get Report will get out of wine shipping business," said Daniel Posner, owner of Grapes The Wine Company in White Plains, N.Y. and president of the National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR).
You can blame the 1930s shipping laws that still are in effect today. But you really should point the finger at wholesalers, with their deep pockets and lobbying teams, who have convinced politicians that local retailers should not to be allowed to ship out of state.
But that's exactly what's happening.
Flash-sale site Wine Kloud, a site that compiled wine discounts from around the country. is completely out of business because of the inability of retailers to ship. Even worse, the site's founder, Darian Wilson, who spent his entire career in the wine world, has since had to leave the industry altogether and now runs a real estate syndication company.
And Posner is feeling the struggle it firsthand, too. About half of his shop's business is with out-of-state clients, primarily in New Jersey and Connecticut. Not being able to ship to them could have huge ramifications on his small business and its 12 employees.
At this point, there are only 14 states, plus Washington D.C., that allow out-of-state retailers to ship wine legally to their consumers. The states are: Alaska, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
If you happen to live in a state not listed and you're still getting your out-of-state deliveries, lucky you. Wine-shipping laws obviously are not enforced very well. But now that the wholesale lobbyists are involved, things will get harder.
"It's become more challenging," says Gary Fisch, founder of New Jersey-based Gary's Wine & Marketplace, whose prices are so competitive that he has become a go-to for wine lovers around the country.
And Fisch is still having Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. But check with his store, and all your other favorite online retail shops, to make sure they can still ship to you.
Otherwise buying direct from your favorite winery probably may be your best bet. This direct-to-consumer method, while generally not your cheapest option, may be the one surefire way to get your favorite wines online.
And many of them are having sales. Cameron Hughes, for instance, is offering 30% off the entire store and select wines also will be further marked down Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
Windsor Vineyards, one of the first direct-to-consumer wineries and known for offering customized wine labels, is offering 30% off wines site-wide and a free customizable label with your purchase from Black Friday through November 26.
Grab a Wine Gadget
And if you don't have it already...get the Coravin while its on sale.
The Coravin basically is a magic tool, because it lets you pour a glass of wine without removing the cork.
The device has a thin hollow needle that is inserted through the cork. Argon gas, which is an inert gas that's in our air already so it won't hurt you or the wine, is then shot into the bottle. Once the bottle is pressurized with gas, the wine comes up through the needle so you can pour it into a glass.
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And when the needle is removed, the cork naturally reseals itself because it's so porous. So the wine will continue to age, completely unharmed.
The Coravin usually retails for around $350, but you can get it on the site for 50% off on Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
Get Out On Small Business Saturday
Instead of dealing with these arcane interstate shipping laws, why not get out on Small Business Saturday and patronize your local wine shops -- especially if they're hurting from a drop in their out-of-state shipments.
So go in for a tasting and meet your local wine shop owners.
And no surprise, showing hometown support actually makes the wine taste better.
TheStreet's "Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Survival Guide" series aims to help you, the consumer and the investor, navigate the holiday season, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and everything in between. Through a number stories, videos, graphics and other multimedia elements TheStreet takes a look at the biggest challenges of the season, the winners and losers from the shifting retail environment and much more.Read More about navigating the holiday season.
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