What’s the best way to ship wine?

Do you want to ship some wine to a friend? Or maybe you are on vacation and want to ship a bottle or two home for later. Well there is more to it than just slapping on a few stamps and hoping for the best.

Is it legal

Let me answer this question by quoting an answer from an article on ehow.com

“It is not legal to ship alcohol through the mail across state or national lines unless you have a license. That said, there are a variety of ways to ship alcohol (both legal and illegal) that people regularly put into practice. As long as you’re not shipping large amounts of alcohol from one point to another, the punishment for getting caught is little more then you losing the bottle or bottles you are sending. In other words, there is a risk in breaking the rules but not a criminal one.”

As you can see, it is really up to you if you want to either pay the high fees to accomplish it legally, or take your chances and do it yourself.

Shipping your Bottle, or bottles of wine takes a little bit of planning.

First up is the packaging. The last thing you want is your wine bottle breaking somewhere from point A to point B.

You need a good box that will have enough room for your bottles, and the padding you will need to use. Make sure the box is strong enough to not split open, yet not one that is so heavy it is hard to move.

Also make sure to use a non alcohol related box. You will run into trouble shipping anything in these boxes. Even a few t-shirts from your vacation will have a problem making it home in a box that once housed alcohol.

Shipping provider

What ever you do stay away from USPS. It is illegal to ship alcohol of any kind with them.

UPS, and FedEx do not expressly forbid it, but they can refuse to deliver it if you tell them up front what it is you are doing. Here is an excerpt from Quora on shipping wine.

“You want to use FedEx. I know, I know, the UPS guy is friendlier, and he gives my dog treats. But there is a significant difference in the way they treat signature packages. UPS will often leave signature-required alcohol packages on a front doorstep or stoop when the package recipient is not home. This is illegal, but they figure they’re doing the recipient and the shipper a favor. Newsflash: They’re not doing anyone a favor except themselves. Porque? Because when wine sits outside, even on a mild day, it’s probably getting exposed to direct heat, direct sunlight, direct cold, direct snow, direct dog territory marking, etc.

This is why you ask for signature, so that the package will not get left out exposed to the elements. UPS drivers are okay with breaking the law with this because if they were to get caught, UPS takes the hit, not the individual driver. FedEx, however, has a different type of contract with their drivers where the driver is responsible for these kinds of infractions. because of that, FedEx drivers don’t leave packages that require signature out and about just because they’re friendly with the recipient. Now, if you’re a private party shipping to another private party, I’m not sure whether or not you can get the package tagged as alcohol. If you can, this is a good thing, because that is when they become 100% strict about not leaving the package on a doorstep.

Similarly, you want to try to ship to a business address, so that you know the person or a co-worker will be there to accept the package and keep it from having to sit on the delivery truck the rest of the day or another whole day for a second delivery attempt. The only time to ship to a residential address is if you know the person will be there for sure”

Depending on how valuble the bottle of wine is, you may need to insure it. I have heard stories of UPS willing shiping Wine, but refusing to ship it. Make sure you waigh the pros and cons of insuring your wine, and if you belive you need it.

Another shipping concern is Tempature. From the same Quara post the following spells out some realy good advice on how to better insure your wine doesnt ruin during the delivery due to tempature.

Depending on estimated in-transit time, you want to avoid the package being at the origin distribution center or the destination distribution center over the weekend. A lot of shipping warehouses are not air conditioned over the weekend. Even worse: If the package was loaded onto the truck before the weekend was over, but the truck didn’t make it back out again, then it’s sitting in a wonderfully warm little oven all weekend.

You should time your shipping so that the package is delivered before a weekend, or is in cross country transit over a weekend. This is another reason to pick FedEx… they do residential delivery on Saturdays, so you get an extra day of the week to get a residential package delivered, if that’s you’re only shipping option. The only time this becomes a concern is if you’re going completely trans-continental on FedEx Ground. A good portion of the east coast is still Friday deliver from Monday shipping in California, but some is Saturday/Monday deliver from Monday shipping. If this is the case, you might just want to pony up and pay for 3 Day Express Saver to make sure it’s delivered by Friday, or make sure they’ll be at their residence on Saturday to accept the package. Remember that if the Saturday delivery gets missed, the package will sit ON the truck over Sunday until Monday.

On the other hand, if you are shipping express, even 3 Day, you want to avoid the package having to lie around anywhere over the weekend (even in temp controlled Express warehouses). Just wait till Monday to ship.

In general, the way you should think about it is this: How can I limit the time exposed to non-temperature controlled space (or any conditions outside of 40-72 degrees F) as much as possible for my money?”

Another reason to use UPS or FedEx over USPS is the ability to track your package.

Most likely you will need to ship express, or even overnight.

Use PackageFox to make sure you get your refunds if your packages are not delivered on time.

If your wine is late for any reason recoup your shipping fees with PackageFox.

Sign up for Package Fox

Are you sending a out bunch of FedEx or UPS shipments every month? Chances are your invoices contain refund opportunities. Let PackageFox help you save some money.

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