A List of Wineries that Ship to Massachusetts

Friday, January 30, 2015

Map of Massachusetts
It has been a long time coming, but as you may have noticed some out of state wineries are now able to ship to Massachusetts!

Some spring release mailers have included a special shout out saying they'll be able to ship here. What it really means for me is cheaper shipping and fewer hassles.

I'm looking forward to being able to order directly from my favorite producers in a recurring manner to develop a persistent relationship with them. Sometimes when I was on the fence about reordering from a pricey producer I'd decide against it because of shipping costs and the hassle of shipping to a neighboring state.

I'm also entertaining joining some moderately priced winery clubs that I hadn't considered before. And possibly taking advantage of specials wineries offer from time to time. Wineries don't like to compete with retailers who carry their wine on price but you'll sometimes catch deals on their mailing list that will now make more sense than they used to.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can out of state *retailers* ship to Massachusetts now?
A: Not legally. The provision passed in 2014 only allows out of state *wineries* to apply for a permit.

Q: A winery I know ships to Massachusetts isn't listed. Why would that be?
A: In the past, some wineries may have found creative ways to ship to Massachusetts. They should now go through the process of getting a permit because it's the right thing to do and will likely lead to lower shipping costs for them and you.

Q: If I know a winery was recently approved but isn't listed what should I do?
A: Leave a comment below if you have official communication from them. They were probably approved after this list was compiled.

Q: I'd like to encourage a winery to obtain a permit, what should I do?
A: Contact them and tell them you'd buy from them if they get a permit. The permits aren't cheap, wineries need one for each state they ship to, and small wineries need to know they have enough demand for it to make sense.

Q: I thought FedEx and UPS weren't going to be able to deliver in MA because each truck needs a permit. What happened with that?
FedEx flattened that issue.

Q: What does it take for a winery to get a permit?
A: Massachusetts is now similar to many other states that allow winery direct shipment. Here's a post from ShipCompliant on what's needed.

Q: Where did you get this list?
From the Massachusetts ABCC. I took their list of approved entities and manually mapped it to winery websites. In some cases there was ambiguity (is Oakville Hill Cellars really Dalla Valle?). In others a single corporate entity has a bunch of permits (Diageo, Jackson, etc). But hopefully the format presented here is user friendly. Let me know if you spot any mistakes.

Here is a list of wineries approved to ship to Massachusetts as of January 30th, 2015:
* - Confirmed by winery
** - Said to have applied, permit pending

Still Does Not Ship to Massachusetts (but I wish they would!):
Unknown Entities:
  • A W Direct
  • BWSC
  • C And C Wine Services
  • GBF Enterprises
  • Gene M. Kosinksi
  • Icolebe
  • J. Cellars Investments
  • Jack John Investments
  • Kangaru Enterprises
  • Modern Development Company
  • New Vavin
  • Nuage
  • Mathew Reid and Martha Webb
  • TSG
My thanks to the Massachusetts ABCC for sharing this list, to ShipCompliant for sharing useful updates on this process, and to Free The Grapes and other organizations for their part in making direct shipment to Massachusetts.

If you've received official communication from a winery that they've been approved for direct shipment to Massachusetts and they're not on this list feel free to leave a comment below and I'll add them to the list.

If you're a winery and you've recently been approved leave a comment or drop me an email and I'll add you to the list.

I'll reach out to the ABCC again in the next couple months for an update.
Hope this is helpful!


Opus One Wine Dinner at Del Frisco's Boston

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak in Boston is offering a five-course dinner featuring the wines of Opus One on Thursday February 5th at 6:30 pm.

Del Frisco's is fantastic dining experiernce (review) and Opus One produces Bordeaux blends at the very highest level in Napa Valley.

I visited Opus One in 2010. Opus One was founded as a collaboration between Baron Phillipe de Rothschild and the Robert Mondavi family. The wines remain strong today thanks to the leadership of winemaker Michael Silacci. It was on this visit that I got a sense, for the first time, of the broad range of responsibilties a winemaker has. At least at Opus One - he calls the shots and sets the tone for the entire operation.
Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci in the Opus One vineyards
The winery is without a doubt a must-see destination. There's a sense of upscale tranquility that surrounds every bit of the place. The drive up, the architecture, the serenity of it, the cellars, the tasting rooms. Truly amazing.
Opus One winery, designed by architect Scott Johnson of Johnson, Fain & Pereira
Opus One produces around 25,000 cases of their flagship wine that sells for around $250 a bottle. At the gravity-fed winery each berry is sorted and analyzed with digital photography to ensure consistent quality. Some wineries rent these. Opus One owns theirs.
Grapes are individually analyzed with digital photography to ensure consistent quality
The cellars at Opus One are immaculate and form a half-circle around tasting rooms enclosed in glass. Tasting the wines while looking out at future vintages is an amazing experience.
The cellars at Opus One
This dinner at Del Frisco's is sure to provide the best taste of what Opus One is all about you can find on the east coast.

Scallop Mousse “Cone”, Caviar Sprinkles, 
Brussels Sprout Basket of Mini Pommes Frites
Baron-Rothschild Sparkling Rose NV 

Butter Poached Lobster Ravioli, Tarragon, and Pear Infused Cream
Oakville Fume Blanc, Robert Mondavi 2011 

Local Stuffed Quail, Charred Ramps, 
Chanterelle Blackberry and Brie Gastrique 
Overture NV

Intermezzo of Pate, 
Pickled Vegetables, Bourbon Jam, Toast Points
Opus One 2010 

Bone-In New York Strip, Cajun Crispy Onions, Au Gratin Potatoes, 
Bone Marrow and Opus Demi
Opus One 2005 

Flight of Untraditional House Made Ice Cream
Chateau Coutet, Baron-Rothschild

$250 Per person plus tax & gratuity
Call for reservations: (617) 951-1368
Limited seating.

More info:


Total Wine Coming to Massachusetts

Friday, January 23, 2015

I don't know how this slipped by me until now, but national wine retailer Total Wine is set to open in Natick, Massachusetts this year:

Total Wine & More plans to open a store at Cloverleaf Mall, taking over the existing 7,000-square-foot Cloverleaf Wine and Spirits and adjacent Golfers Warehouse space.

If you're not familiar with Total Wine, their stores are huge with tons of wines at all price points. Rather than having sections for regions or varieties they have entire grocery store-sized aisles devoted to, for example, domestic Pinot Noir.

Their entry here is notable for its potential to change the landscape of the Massachusetts wine industry. Once dominated by dusty-bottled old package stores, I think we're seeing a shift in two directions: High volume retailers and specialty boutique retailers.

With each retailer now capable of acquiring more licenses, the arrival of more national retailers (like Wegmans and Total Wine), and winery direct shipping set to occur this year - Massachusetts bears little resemblance to itself of 10 years ago. Let's see if we can do something about out of state retailer shipments here next.

This first Total Wine store will be an interesting location to watch. I'd imagine they've got plans to open stores at points north and south as well. We'll see how this first opening goes.

Question of the Day: Are you looking forward to shopping at Total Wine?


Using Points & Miles to Travel to Wine Spectator Grand Tour Events

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yesterday I posted about Wine Spectator's Grand Tour events coming up in 2015 in Chicago, Las Vegas and Dallas. I immediately started thinking about which of the locations would be most convenient to attend. If the idea of flying in to a city just to attend a wine tasting sounds crazy and expensive bear with me for a moment. It might be easier and more affordable than you think.


First, the reason I'd be willing to fly for one of these tastings is because they're so good. Yes, $225 per person is a lot of money for a wine tasting. But the quality of wine poured at these events and the editorial sort Wine Spectator applies when selecting the wineries pouring make these events special.

It is truly an embarrassment of riches and if you quickly want to develop a relatable frame of reference for what some of the world's benchmark wines taste like I've not seen a better way to do it.


So how can we make it happen? How much would it cost?

Let's take the Dallas event as an example and suppose we live in Boston.
  • $250 per person round-trip airfare
  • $200/nt hotel
  • $100 rental car/ground transportation
  • $225 event ticket
  • $100 per person meals
  • $50 airport parking
  • Total: $925
If we did it as a couple, airfare and meal costs would go up a bit but there would be some shared expenses. Call it $1,500 all-in for a party of 2?

Okay - that's a fairly good chunk of change.

But here's how I'd play it, using credit card signup bonuses to make the trip more affordable and more pleasant.

Three Credit Cards

First, airfare. I'd check for the best paid fares out of Boston to get a feel for the going rates for direct flights at good times. Then, I'd check for saver level award availability for those flights. If award availability looked good at flight times that worked for me use AA miles to book the flight. Currently I see 25K AA miles round-trip in Economy or 50K AA miles per person round-trip in First.
50K AA miles is enough for round-trip
in First Class at saver levels
Since I've got plenty of AA miles already I'd probably go for a couple First Class tickets at saver levels if my wife can join. If not I'd just go for Economy. If I needed some AA miles I'd sign up for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum MasterCard with a 50K signup bonus after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year. If I wanted to fly both me and my wife in First and I didn't have enough miles I'd sign her up for a card as well.
45K Chase Ultimte Rewards would
cover hotel, event tickets and more
The next card I'd go for is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I think this is the best all around travel credit card. It comes with a 40K point signup bonus plus an additional 5K bonus after adding an authorized user. The best thing about the card is its flexibility. You can cash out the points at a penny a piece (so $400 to spend on whatever you want), or book for travel at 1.2 cents a piece through their portal, or (most optimally) transfer the points 1:1 to travel partners like United and Hyatt. The event is at a Hyatt. It costs just $159/nt which isn't bad in itself but if you use Hyatt points it's just 8,000 points per night. Transfer 8,000 of your 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and your hotel room is paid for.

After that you'd still have Chase Ultimate Rewards points remaining. If you really wanted to do this whole thing "for free" you could use those points for the event admission, meals or parking. But since that's only a penny a point I'd probably pay for them out of pocket and save my valuable Ultimate Rewards points or something higher leverage like premium cabin international flights.
40K Barclay points are easy to redeem towards travel
and 2+% cashback every is good for ongoing spend
A third card I'd get, depending on my current point balances and the flights available to me, is the Barclay Arrival+. It also comes with a 40K point signup bonus but the points work differently than with Chase. To use Barclay Arrival points you just charge travel (air, hotel, rental car) to your card and erase the charges at a rate of a penny a point. There's no award availability you need to search for and no loyalty programs to figure out. You just charge travel and erase it, up to $400 to start. The card is also nice for ongoing spend because it pays 2% on all purchases when the points are redeemed towards travel.

Bottom Line

So how much would the event cost if we signed up for these three cards and used the points towards the trip?
  • $250 per person round-trip airfare (Citi AA 50K)
  • $200/nt hotel (use 8K Hyatt points, transferred from Chase Sapphire Preferred)
  • $100 rental car/ground transportation (10,000 Barclay Arrival points)
  • $225 event ticket (out of pocket or use cashback from Chase Sapphire Preferred)
  • $100 per person meals (you kind of have to eat no matter where you are, and the event serves food, but use Chase Sapphire cashback if you want)
  • $50 airport parking (I'd pay out of pocket with the Chase Sapphire and earn 2X on this)
  • Total: $925 (nearly FREE?)
So there you have it. Three credit card signups and a little minimum spend and you're on your way to an amazing time at the event for hardly any out of pocket expense.

I hope this was a helpful diversion from straight wine content. I think points & miles can be a great way to make trips to wine events and wine regions more attainable. If you're interested in discussing points, miles & cashback further drop me an email (wellesleywinepress@gmail.com)or ping me on Twitter (@RobertDwyer).



Dates Set for Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Locations and dates have been set for Wine Spectator's 2015 Grand Tour events.

These stand-up/walk around tastings provide an outstanding opportunity to taste benchmark wines and meet winemakers and winery owners. Wine Spectator editors attend, a light buffet is provided and you get a souvenir Riedel glass.

If you're looking to efficiently and enjoyably build up a frame of reference for some of the world's great wines, these Spectator events are the best I've found. If you're a wine enthusiast it's hard to imagine not feeling like a kid in a candy store. And if you just like the taste of wine there's a ton of really good stuff to enjoy.

Las Vegas is a familiar venue for the Grand Tour - here's a review of the 2012 event.

I attended the Chicago event in 2013 and had a great time. Here's a review of that one.

I also attended the 2011 event in Boston. Please come back to Boston next year Grand Tour!

Dallas is an intriuging location to me. Like Chicago it's conveniently served by major airlines so it should be relatively easy for people from all over the country to get to.

I'll ping a few of my wine pals on Twitter right now to see if we can finally converge on one of these and meet in real life for the first time after comparing notes over the years...

Question or comments on the event or venues? Let me know.

Question of the Day: Which location works best for you?


15% Off at Liquid Discount with Exclusive Code WWP15: What to Buy Now

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New York based online retailer Liquid Discount is offering two discount codes for your consideration:
  • 10% off $199+ orders WWP10
  • 15% off $299+ orders WWP15
Combined with reasonable shipping costs (especially when you ship a round 12 bottle case) and quick fulfillment, it's worth having a look through their inventory to see if you can find great values in the categories interesting to you.

A category that's had my attention lately is 2012 Oregon Pinot Noir. I'm normally more of a California guy when it comes to Pinot Noir but the '12 Pinot Noir vintage was disappointing in California and Oregon knocked it out of the park. The 2012 Oregons I've tasted avoid the things I usually don't like about Oregon Pinot Noir: Green stemmy notes and twangy flavor profiles. Instead the better ones I've tasted are plush and offer brilliant, focused, effortless power.

Specifically I'd look to the ever-reliable 2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir, the 2012 Maison l'Envoye, and this 2012 Purple Hands - all of which garnered terrific rating from Spectator.

Spain continues to deliver for me, and it's always worth checking whether you might be able to catch Alto Moncayo or Clio at a great price with a coupon code like this. The 2012 Clio is $39.95 so after 15% off that's $33.95. It always feels like I'm cheating the wine game when I enjoy a bottle of Clio south of $35. So good. Every time.

It's always good to have some daily drinkers to round things out, and Spain excels here. Juan Gil at $13.95 is always terrific (you'd be amazed how such an affordable wine gets better and better after a night or three on the counter under stopper, especially in this 2012). I've never had this 94 point (WA) $13.95 wine but I like the metrics (even if Parker's scores are a bit inflated). And this E-2 is a juicy crowd pleaser if there ever was one.

If you were interested in trying #6 on Wine Spectator's Top 100 list they've got half and full bottles of  the 2010 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico San Lorenzo Gran Selezione. I haven't cracked a bottle of this yet but I'm looking forward to trying it.

So that's what jumps out at me. If you're in the Westchester County area check out their store front in the Ridge Hill Mall.

Coupon code is value through January 15, 2015.

Note: I've gotten a few questions recently regarding whether out of state retailers can ship to Massachusetts now. They cannot. Although out of state wineries are now able to submit applications for direct shipment to Massachusetts consumers, and FedEx/UPS are gearing up to fulfill, retailers were unfortunately not included in the 2014 Massachusetts law changes that will allow winery direct shipments for the first time.

Whether things will loosen up for covert retail shipping remains to be seen, but out of state retailers including WWP supporter Liquid Discount still can't ship to Massachusetts.

Question of the Day: What are some of the best wines you see for taking advantage of this 15% off code?



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