Why we don’t ship Champagne (or any sparkling wine)

Technically the only wine that be called champagne are the ones produced in a select region of France, everything else is a sparkling wine. So a bottle of Dom Pérignon can legally be called champagne, while a bottle produced in California may be much higher quality cannot be called champagne. Those are the rules, it’s just the way it is. Even if bottle from some other part of the world tastes exactly like a bottle made in the Champagne region of France it is just called a sparkling wine.

So while that is interesting.. it really has no bearing on why no booze with the berries A few times a year we get asked if we can ship champagne with the chocolate covered strawberries.

Nope, no, nana, no way Jose’, Hommie don’t play that, ain’t gonna happen… and here is why:
Why Not:

  1. After an overnight trip in planes and trucks a bottle of sparkling wine would be like a shaken soda can.
  2. When it is possible to ship wine: packages must be signed for by an adult
  3. Too many inconsistent laws, regulatory bodies, licenses to obtain, and taxing authorities to file reports with

Shake and spew:

FedEx and UPS trucks are a bit bumpy.. do you really want a bottle of carbonated wine that has been bouncing in a plane or truck after a few hours.. (shake a soda can to see a small scale example of the results), eventually someone with try to open one of those bottles that’s had a bit too much shaking and send us the bill for clothing and furniture that was ruined and even more likely someone will bounce an over-presurized cork off an eye or look for a company to sue when they do something stupid under the influence of the alcohol.

No ID no booze:

Just like any bar or restaurant, you can’t get alcohol without a valid ID, that means that FedEx and UPS driver would need to see a drivers license from someone over 21 in order to allow them to sign for the package. If the recipient is temporarily unavailable or no adult with ID is available: the package goes back to the FedEx or UPS warehouse for another attempt the next day. If there are strawberries in that shipment there is now a high chance those strawberries will be ruined by the delay. It’s a crime to deliver alcohol to a minor, a felony in some states, so no one should expect the driver to deliver without an adult signature and valid ID . The carriers charge more for this service because it’s risky, on average takes more gas  and eats up drivers time.

 

A tangled web of state and local government red tape:

When prohibition was overturned, the feds gave control to the local states, cities and counties. Have you ever known of local governments to coming up with consistent laws across states? Nope, even something as simple as a speeding ticket is $50 in one city and over $200 just across the state line. Liquor laws are even more irregular, vary from state to state and sometimes even inside the state vary from city to city and don’t even follow zip code lines.

Here are some examples:

  • Some states allow you to ship wine into the state but then it must be sent to the local liquor store to collect local taxes.
  • Some states only allow shipment to consumers when the recipient has special written approval from a local Alcohol Control Board, other states require a special personal license ($50).
  • Some states have dry cities or counties while the rest of the state is wide open (dry means no alcohol), city and county lines don’t necessarily follow zip code boundaries.
  • Some states laws are so fuzzy and inconsistent UPS and FedEx will not deliver wine there, they just don’t want their drivers picked up on felony charges.
  • Some states require special labeling and those labeling requirements differ by state.
  • Some states allow only wineries to ship direct, so you must grow and bottle wine even to ship a different brand.
  • Many localities require the shipper to obtain a local alcohol license of some type ($50 and up…), and collect local tax, and register/get a permit to collect local tax …
  • Some states require specific bonds be obtained (like a special insurance policy & those policies don’t cross state lines).
  • In some locations you can’t have a mixed shipment or purchase of food and wine.

In other words there are a limited number of states you can ship wine but the regulatory and reporting requirements would be a full time job for several people.

With the penalties for violating all the random and inconsistent regulatory statues being felonies in some cases: it is just not worth the risk.

So while we are all for alcohol, it’s just not worth it for us, there are some companies that specialize in meeting all those regulations, but the wine is no bargain as it costs a lot to fund the extra locations and people to maintain all those permits and reporting requirements.

Our core business is the strawberries and complimentary products like roses and cookies, but regulatory and logistical hurdles involved with shipping alcohol mean that we’ll never try it .

 

 

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