California

In 2017, California was responsible for $866 million in DtC wine sales, making it the largest DtC wine market in the country by a wide margin. This is not surprising given that it is home the vast majority of U.S. wineries. California supports its industry by making DtC sales relatively easy, especially for in-state wineries.

Here’s what you need to know to:
  • 1) Become compliant
  • 2) Stay compliant
  • 3) Expand your business in California
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Steps to Compliance

STEP 1: Becoming Compliant

STEP 1: Becoming Compliant

California makes it pretty easy for wineries, particularly in-state wineries, to sell their products DtC. Below is a list of some regulations to look out for.

  • Volume Limits

    There are no limits on the volume of wine that a winery can ship to a California resident.

  • Shipping Restrictions

    All packages containing wine must clearly have a label stating: “CONTAINS ALCOHOL: SIGNATURE OF PERSON AGE 21 YEARS OR OLDER REQUIRED FOR DELIVERY.”

  • Customer Information

    Wineries must maintain records of all sales to California residents for 3 years, in case of audit.

  • Tax Rates

    Excise Tax:

    • $0.20 per gallon for still wine
    • $0.30 per gallon for sparkling wine


    Sales Tax: 7.25% + local rates (as of May 2019, California requires calculation of sales tax based on destination address when goods are delivered to end consumer)

STEP 2: Staying Compliant

STEP 2: Staying Compliant

The second step in expanding your business is staying compliant. For in-state wineries, DtC sales should be reported similarly to sales made from your tasting rooms. Out-of-state wineries should be aware of the following requirements:

Tax Reports

Excise Tax: BOE-501-WG Winegrower Tax Return, filing frequency can vary

Sales Tax: BOE-401-A2 State and Local Tax Return, filing frequency varies on the amount of sales

STEP 3: Expanding Your Business

STEP 3: Expanding Your Business

With its large population and dominant wine industry, California is the biggest state for DtC sales and will maintain that position for the foreseeable future. The state makes things easy for in-state wineries by permitting them to sell DtC under their Type 02 Winegrower License. Out-of-state wineries, though, can still make a splash if they get licensed.


License Required

In-state Wineries can sell DtC under their Type 02 Winegrower license. Out-of-state wineries need a Wine Direct Shipper Permit, available for $10 per year. Only holders of a federal Wine Producer Permit may receive DtC permission.

STEP 4: Get In Touch with A DtC Expert

STEP 4: Get In Touch with A DtC Expert

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Learn how Sovos ShipCompliant can support your expanding business by helping you adhere to state DtC compliance requirements automatically.

 

Use the map below to find out how to comply with other state's direct-to-consumer wine shipping rules.

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