Reader Question: Sending Wine to a Friend in Massachusetts

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Update: Massachusetts opened up for direct shipment of wine from out of state wineries in 2015. More here...

I received an email this past week that's very similar to one I receive about once a month so I thought it would be useful to share my reply with others. Here's the question:

I have friends in Massachusetts I'd like to thank by sending a couple bottles of wine. What is the shipping situation in Massachusetts? My quick web search tells me that different states have different delivery or shipping regulations.

Massachusetts is indeed a tough state to ship wine to. One of the worst in fact. The American Wine Consumer Coalition recently rated the "friendliness" of wine shipping laws in each state and Massachusetts, along with 11 other states, received an "F". Full report here.

That said it absolutely is possible to get wine shipped to Massachuetts - you just have to buy from a licensed Massaschusetts retailer or winery.

This makes shopping for wine a bit of a tricky endeavor compared to most things you buy on the Internet because the product you want and the state you're shipping to play into which retailer you buy from.

That being the case we just have to figure out which Massachusetts retailer has the wine we're looking for.

The biggest online wine retailer is, and fortunately they are able to ship to Massachusetts. People are sometimes puzzled why can ship to Massachusetts but other retailers can't. can ship to Massachusetts because they've gone through the effort of obtaining a Massachusetts retailer license and all the wine they sell in Massachusetts is purchased from Massachusetts wholesalers.

So if you like buying from a prominent large retailer and want to get your gifting done, they're the first option to consider. Their prices are a tad high I'd say, and their shipping costs, especially for the first bottle, do seem high. But shipping does have its costs.

If you want to send a specific bottle of wine to a specific state (Massachusetts or otherwise) is the way to go. Wine Searcher is known for its ability to find the best publicly listed price for a given wine, but my favorite part of its search engine is that you can filter on just the retailers within a certain state -or- retailers that ship to that state.'s ability to find specific bottles available
to ship to each state is its killer feature
Wine Searcher doesn't sell wine - they just guide you to retailer websites where you then complete the transaction. Sometimes you'll find phantom availability (that is to say, the retailer doesn't actually have the wine that's listed on Wine Searcher). But for the most part it does work well and is the best way I've found to track down specific bottles of wine that can ship to a certain state.

If you'd like to drop me an email at to ask my opinion of a given retailer I'd be happy to offer my input.

And I'd love it if you subscribed to The Wellesley Wine Press for future updates.


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