Selling Wine Online

Technology has transformative properties. It transcends almost every aspect of life, business, and retail. For wineries, it can improve your customer relationship.

Today's consumers are interacting with brands in ways that have never happened before. So much of what we do on a daily basis is online. That being said, consumers digest information and advertising on their smart devices and computers. It's the age of convenience and companies are taking advantage by participating in direct to consumer sales models. The food and beverage industry is participating too in a couple of different ways.

First, you have the direct to consumer delivery apps like Uber Eats and Postmates. They make it easy for individuals to buy food and beverage online and have it sent directly to their door. The next is direct to consumer sales of alcohol. While "direct to consumer" doesn't always take out retailers, the idea is providing an online platform for purchasing alcohol. One area of the adult beverage sector seeing phenomenal growth is the wine industry.  

The Growth of Wine E-commerce and the Benefits

One of the reasons the wine sector is performing well is that state regulations are a little more relaxed compared to spirits. Most states will allow some form of online distribution which we will cover shortly. What's impressive are the statistics surrounding online wine sales. In 2017, online sales of wine totaled $2.69 billion. The volume was 5.78 million. That's a 15% increase from the previous year. These numbers are only expected to go up.

The option of selling wine online increases brand recognition. There are limitations to promoting your wine through traditional forms of advertising such as print or TV. But, an e-commerce site makes it possible to reach a broader audience. There's also customer information. When consumers purchase online, you can collect data that informs you how they found your site, how much time they spent, their purchasing habits, and more. All valuable information that can only help your business make marketing strategies more effective.

Examples of Successful Wine E-Commerce

We've talked before about some of the start-ups shaking up the alcohol beverage industry and which ones you should be watching. Some of the companies that have made the list are excellent examples of business strategies that are finding success online.


Vivino is embracing the online and mobile app sales of wine. They have built a huge community based off reviews. Their business model allows consumers to leave reviews and buy wine online by browsing by meal, for regional selections, or by their favorite white or red.


Cavissima allows users to purchase sophisticated wine online. If they don't have access to a nearby wine cellar, Cavissima will help you find access to one nearby. These cellars will help with the aging process and allow you to develop them to their individual taste.


A monthly subscription service and direct to consumer retailer of wine. After completing a quiz, users receive tailored selections. Their algorithm will match their answers and purchase history to improve recommendations in the future.

Requirements for Selling Wine Online

Online wine sales don't exempt you from complying with state and federal laws. There are a few licenses you'll be required to have:

  • Alcohol Dealer Registration

  • A winery license from your state

  • A retailer's state license

  • Shipper's license

A shipper's license must be obtained from each state you plan to ship. And, it's important to note that just because your county or state allows you to sell locally doesn't mean you can ship online. You'll need to do your due diligence. The Wine Institute offers an interactive map with a breakdown of information by state.

Shipping Your Wine

The United States Postal Service does not allow the shipment of alcohol. They are a federally run program and are restricted by a law from 1909. The law bans the shipment of explosives, harmful substances, and “all spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented or other intoxicating liquors of any kind.

You can ship your wine UPS and FedEx. Getting the process moving starts with creating an account with your chosen carrier and signing an alcohol shipment agreement. Each carrier will outline packaging requirements you must follow to ensure there are no breakages and leakages during transportation.

It's also required of your winery to fix a particular label identifying the contents of the package is alcohol. There is also the requirement to have a 21-over signature to ensure you aren't selling your product to a minor.

Age Verification

The legal age for consuming and purchasing alcohol online is 21. The challenge of selling wine online is confirming the buyer is of legal age. Noticing a gap, companies have sprung up with the aim of making it easier for wineries to establish age restrictions before the purchase is made. Through the use of sophisticated technology, online solutions integrate with your website to confirm the ID of your customer and restrict products sold to a minor. They will compare data against billions of records almost instantly. Some states mandate you have these services to sell online. Others might require you to use state-approved age verification providers.

Navigating the selling of alcohol is complex by design. At Brindiamo Group, we have years of experience helping entities of all sizes find success in the alcohol beverage industry. Visit our website to learn more.

Horton Admin