Is direct-to-consumer wine shipping legal in Texas?

by | Mar 2, 2022 | Regulatory Risk Analysis and Compliance

In 1986, California became the first state to allow direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine shipping—allowing wine to be shipped from the winery directly to the consumer. Today, thanks to the wine industry’s concerted state-by-state lobbying efforts, nearly every state allows DtC wine shipping. Wineries in and outside of Texas can ship wine directly to consumers anywhere in Texas, if they hold the correct TABC permit and comply with shipping and delivery requirements.

DtC wine shipping is big business, and Texans are big drinkers. According to a report by Sovos ShipCompliant and Wines Vines Analytics, the value of the DtC shipping channel increased 13.4% in 2021, putting total shipments over the $4 billion mark for the first time.

Source: 2022 Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping Report by Sovos ShipCompliant and Wines Vines Analytics.

The $4.2 billion in wine shipped by U.S. wineries in 2021 was a result of the largest ever year-over-year increase in the average price per bottle shipped, climbing 11.8% over 2020 to $41.16 per bottle.

The five states that received the most shipments in 2021 were Texas, California, New York, Florida, and Washington (and Texas has been in the top five since 2016).

Source: 2022 Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping Report by Sovos ShipCompliant and Wines Vines Analytics.

Wineries located in and outside of Texas can ship wine directly to consumers 21 or older anywhere in the state. Wholesalers, distributors, wineries outside of the United States, and retailers are not allowed to ship wine directly to consumers in Texas.

Any wine being shipped into, out of, or through Texas must be transported by a common carrier permitted by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).

Texas wineries

A winery located in Texas needs a Winery Permit (a “G” permit) from TABC to ship wine directly to Texas consumers.[1] A winery can ship wine to consumers even if they live in a “dry” area of the state, where the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.

The winery must contract with a delivery company that holds a carrier’s permit (a “C” permit) from TABC to have the order delivered to the consumer.

A winery may ship no more than 9 gallons of wine within a calendar month or 36 gallons within any 12-month period to the same consumer. A case of 12 bottles of wine generally contains 2.378 gallons, so each consumer is limited to about 36 bottles per month or 180 bottles per year.

The person accepting the wine delivery must be: (1) the person who purchased the wine; (2) someone else designated in advance by the purchaser; or (3) anyone who is 21 or older, after they present a valid ID and personally sign a receipt acknowledging delivery of the package.  

Out-of-state wineries

A winery located outside Texas needs an Out-of-State Winery Direct Shipper’s Permit (a “DS” permit) from TABC to ship wine directly to Texas consumers. An out-of-state winery can ship wine to consumers even if they live in a “dry” area of the state, where the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.[2]

It is a criminal offense to sell and ship alcohol from outside of Texas to an ultimate consumer in Texas without holding a DS permit.[3]

To obtain a DS permit from TABC, you must:

  • not hold a Winery Permit (“G”) in Texas;
  • operate a winery in the United States that holds all the necessary state and federal permits to operate, including the federal winemaker’s and blender’s basic permit;
  • hold a Texas sales tax permit from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts;
  • expressly submit to personal jurisdiction in Texas state and federal courts;
  • agree that Travis County, Texas, will be the proper venue if any proceedings are initiated by or against TABC; and
  • have no direct or indirect financial interest in a Texas wholesaler or retailer, according to the definition of those terms in section 102.01 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.[4]

The shipping and delivery requirements for out-of-state wineries are generally the same as those for in-state wineries. The out-of-state winery can ship no more than 9 gallons of wine within a calendar month or 36 gallons within a 12-month period to the same consumer and must contract with the holder of a carrier’s permit to have the order delivered.[5] The person accepting the wine delivery must be: (1) the person who purchased the wine; (2) someone else designated in advance by the purchaser; or (3) anyone who is 21 or older, after they present a valid ID and personally sign a receipt acknowledging delivery of the package.[6]  

Unlike in-state wineries, however, out-of-state wineries are subject to a limit on DtC sales in Texas—up to 35,000 gallons annually.[7]


[1] Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 16.09

[2] Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 54.09

[3] Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 54.12

[4] Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 54.03

[5] Tex. Alco. Bev. Code §§ 54.01-54.02

[6] Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 54.05

[7] Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 54.02

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