Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I have been seduced by the nectar of the gods a time or two and totally over did it when the nice tasting room associate asked me what I wanted to take home. Before you slur “Everything!” realize that there’s a trick or two for getting wine home, depending on where you live. If you’re local, obviously this doesn’t apply to you, because you can schlep it home in the inevitable Lyft you’re taking home. But I also know my out-of-state friends and family are always hitting me up to ship wine, so locals, still read on.
If you fly straight into the Sonoma County Airport, Alaska/Horizon Air will let you check wine fo’ free! So build yourself a mix and match case and be sure to use the approved carriers to protect your grape babies. You can also bring wine home in your checked luggage, and this airport sells Wine Skins in a vending machine within the terminal. I repeat, the Sonoma County Airport sells Wine Skins in the terminal. I’m so pumped on that fact. What the heck is a Wine Skin, you say? Wine Skin is the name brand for a handy product that is a leak-proof, cushion-y single bottle pack that protects the bottles of cougar juice (I see you, Chardonnay swillin’ ladies of the early evening) and will contain any leakage in the rare case something breaks. I usually wrap clothes around single bottles (or hotel towels? I would never…) in addition to the Wine Skin for extra protection. Think of it as an appropriate time to double bag the goods.
If you are flying in and out of Oakland or San Francisco, no free vino shipping there, so be prepared to pay to check your cases of wine. Please, please use a wine shipper though, available at the wineries where you purchased wine or mailing stores. If you’re only shipping a few bottles, you can stuff them in your suit case safely as I mentioned above, but for cases, a real wine shipper will save your investment. If you’re like me and you don’t want to lug around all that anyway, you might ask: how do I ship it all home? Seems straight forward, but unfortunately it’s not.
While most wineries will ship to most states, if you live in the five US states still living under archaic prohibition era laws, how do you get your wine home? Alabama, Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Delaware don’t allow wine shipments (or basically don’t because carriers refuse to deal with their crazy restrictions). Period. Because apparently they want residents of their states to hate life and turn to hard drugs. But honestly, this hurts American wineries more than anything because imports have a better deal and easy access to distributing in these states, but I digress. Within those states there are even more crazy rules like if you live in Utah and you bring more than two bottles of wine home with you, you can be charged with a felony! This might be because Utah has been given the title of “second most religious state,” but I’d like to remind everyone that Jesus liked to party and turned water INTO wine. So stop being the poop of the party. (Please note: I have no idea if the tight restrictions on wine has anything to do with religion, so don’t get mad.)
So what can you do? Besides move to California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska or Maryland, where you’re allowed to get whatever you want? Here are 10 steps to wine shipping bliss.
- Check with the winery about shipping costs and restrictions before you buy.
- If they can’t or won’t ship to your state, decide if you really want the wine.
- Of course you really want the wine.
- Buy it anyway.
- Buy enough to fill a six or 12 bottle wine shipper.
- Buy wine shipper at any Sonoma County UPS or similar mailbox store.
- Put that wine shipper box inside of ANOTHER box. A box that doesn’t look like a wine shipper box.
- Take it to the post office or whatever carrier you prefer.
- Don’t say it’s wine.
- Ship away.
Revel in your rebelliousness and enjoy your hard won spoils.