How to Ship Wine as a Gift
A great bottle of wine always makes for a fun gift to give family and friends to celebrate a special occasion, or even just because. With hundreds of varietals to choose from, a bottle of wine can be enjoyed at home on its own or paired with a favorite meal. It doesn’t matter if your gift recipient is across town or across the country, help them celebrate by shipping wine directly to their doorstep.
If you’re wondering how to ship wine as a gift for a friend, family member, or loved one, this guide will provide you with some helpful considerations to keep in mind to make sure your gift arrives intact and ready to be enjoyed!
7 Tips to Keep in Mind When Shipping Wine
Before you drop off your loved one’s favorite bottle of wine at your nearest shipping provider, double check these tips to make sure your wine is selected, packaged, delivered, and enjoyed as best as possible.
Check Your Recipient’s State Laws for Wine Delivery
Wine shipping laws vary by state: most states allow wine retailers or liquor stores to make direct-to-consumer wine shipments to a home address, however there are some exceptions depending on the state your recipient lives in. These exceptions limit the type and quantity of alcohol that can be shipped. And, just as if purchasing wine at a physical store, the recipient who signs for the package must be at least 21 years old.
Technically speaking, states don’t allow two individual consumers to ship wine to one another. Their laws and restrictions do, however, allow individuals who are licensed wine shippers in the state of origin, or the state where the wine was purchased, to ship wine. Texas is one of those states, so if you’re looking to ship wine to Texas, your options include obtaining a wine shipping license, or using a third-party licensed wine shipper to get that bottle to your recipient.
Other states are even more restrictive; For example, Alabama completely prohibits alcohol delivery. Mississippi requires the consumer to make the purchase themselves physically at a winery and have the shipment sent to a package retailer. In Utah, wine subscription programs must be delivered to a state store or package agency. On the other hand, shipping wine to Florida is a lot easier for those who are purchasing their gift from retailers, as they loosened their restrictions on wine shipping in June 2019.
While most states have laws that currently allow for shipping wine through a licensed party, it’s best to double check the laws and regulations for the state where your recipient is located, as these laws can change. A great resource is the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), as it manages a comprehensive list of alcohol shipment regulations by state.
Know Your Friend’s or Family Member’s Wine Preferences
From varietal and sweetness to alcohol percentage and tannins, there are many different characteristics that go into a person’s wine taste preferences. These preferences are important to keep in mind when selecting that perfect bottle for your friend or family member. Some ways to make sure you’ve got their preferences down, besides asking them, is to take note of the type of wine they order when out to dinner or the bottles they keep on-hand in their home. If in doubt, it’s perfectly fine to send them a quick note asking about their favorite type or take a look at their state's most popular wine—it’s better to be sure you’re shipping wine they’ll love, and they can anticipate the arrival of their favorite bottle!
Carefully Package Each Bottle of Wine
Wine is a fun gift to unwrap, and shipping wine offers new opportunities to elevate the gift giving experience. Adding a personal note and properly protecting the bottle will go a long way in making sure that your wine gift arrives in the same condition as when it was packaged. Positioning your bottle upright in its packaging, using a box that’s just the right size, and individually protecting each item are great ways to take that extra step. These bottle protectors feature double air bubble cushioning, are leak-proof, and (best of all) reusable. They’re the perfect wine accessory to send along with your carefully selected and packaged bottle of wine.
Find the Right Box
The perfect pairing to a wine gift that’s being shipped is the box it’s traveling in! When looking for that box, you’ll want to make sure it’s sturdy and big enough for your bottle of wine and the additional packaging needed to keep it safe. You can never be too safe when packaging a bottle for shipping, and you should be sure to seal the box with strong packing tape, along with “fragile” stickers to the outside.
Take Weather into Consideration
Generally, wine is best preserved when kept at under 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is great news for those looking to ship wine as a gift in the cooler months. If you’re shipping wine in the middle of summer, there are plenty of solutions for protecting your bottle from extreme heat. For example, an insulated wine bottle carrier will keep your bottle at an optimum temperature, as well as add another layer of protection throughout shipment.
Some Bottles Travel Better than Others
The first thing your friend or loved one will do after they call to thank you for their gift is start planning out the meal or night they’ll be enjoying their new bottle of wine! When shipping wine, the amount of time the bottle spends traveling and its varietal will determine the best time to uncork the bottle after delivery.
If your recipient is in the same state as you and the delivery arrived on time, they’ll be fine to drink their wine the same day (or night) they receive it. If multiple delivery attempts were needed to get their signature, or your recipient is out of state, then it’s best to advise them to let their wine sit and settle for at least a week or two.
Hardy wines, like chardonnay, cabernet, and merlot will recover from traveling quickly, but wines like pinot noir, Champagne, and sparkling will need to settle a little longer due to sediment and effervescence.
Simplify Shipping Wine with Beautiful, Prepackaged Bottles and Baskets
From selecting the right bottle to researching wine shipping laws and regulations, it may be easier to just go with an online retailer who will take care of shipping your gift directly. Online retailers, like Hickory Farms, have an entire section specifically dedicated to wine gifts. From nicely packaged gift baskets of sparkling wines and high-end still bottles to trios of wines, tasting sets, and even wines sold with specialty snacks and treats, these beautifully packaged gifts simplify the wine shipping and gift giving process. Not only that, but these wine gifts are temperature controlled and beautifully packaged with a fantastic wine bottle of or set of wines.
There are all kinds of sets like Champagne with sweets, Napa Valley tasting sets, and wine and cheese charcuterie board sets. You can also shop through options sorted by specific occasions—birthday, Thanksgiving, New Years, wedding, congratulations, thank you, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and more.
Bottle of Wine
Each Varietal Will
Those are our seven tips for shipping wine as a gift to a friend, family member, or loved one. Wine shipping is a straightforward process once you understand the regulations in the recipient’s state, and know how to safely package and ship bottles. When in doubt, let an online retailer take care of the wine pairing and shipping for you. Browse the Hickory Farms website today to find all the best wine bottles and wine gift baskets to send to your loved ones today.