Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Does Your Direct to Consumer Program Compare to Industry Benchmarks?

How Does Your DTC Program Compare to Industry Benchmarks?

The Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium’s Steering Committee has put out a call for wineries to participate at no charge in the “DTC Winery Check Up,” a comprehensive research project that benchmarks industry DTC metrics. One of the highlights of the 2012 Symposium, the DTC Winery Check Up will expand with additional winery data.  Each participating winery will receive a free, confidential, quarterly report that illustrates how their DTC program compares with their peers. Later, this information will be aggregated (without naming any wineries) and presented at the 2013 DTC Wine Symposium. American wineries can participate by signing up today at  

The sixth annual summit on direct marketing and sales is slated for January 24, 2013 at the South San Francisco Conference Center and is presented by, and a fundraiser for, Free the Grapes and Coalition for Free Trade.

Friday, May 25, 2012

TTB Issues Interim Policy on Gluten Content Statements in the Labeling and Advertising of Wines, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages

The TTB has issued an interim policy on the inclusion of gluten content statements on alcohol beverage products.  The following passage pertains to wine, which can be labeled as gluten free:

TTB has received requests from various alcohol beverage industry members it
regulates who wish to use gluten-free statements on their labels and in advertisements.
Pending the issuance of a final rule by FDA, TTB is providing interim guidance on the
use of the term “gluten-free” on alcohol beverage labels and in advertisements subject
to TTB’s authority under the FAA Act. In the absence of a regulatory definition of the
term “gluten-free,” TTB believes that the term will be interpreted by consumers of
alcohol beverages to mean that the product contains no gluten.

Many alcohol beverage products subject to the FAA Act are produced without any ingredients that contain gluten. For example, a wine fermented from grapes, or a vodka distilled from potatoes, may be “gluten-free” if the producer used good manufacturing practices, took adequate precautions to prevent cross-contamination, and did not use additives, yeast, or storage materials that contained gluten. Under this interim policy, TTB will allow the use of a “gluten-free” claim in the labeling and advertising of such products. As always, it will be the responsibility of the importer or bottler of the product to ensure that the claim is truthful and accurate.

As always, it is essential for the wine labels and advertising to be truthful and accurate, so the use of "gluten-free" on the label must be documented if the TTB were to ask for proof. If you have any questions regarding this interim policy please contact WineAmerica.  To read the entire ruling please follow this link.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

NJ Opens Up to Direct Shipping

Our friends and WineAmerica supplier member ShipCompliant penned this highly informative blog posting about direct shipping opening up in NJ.

The First of May Brings the First of Direct Wine Shipping to the Garden State 


May 1st, 2012

By Sarah Werner - ShipCompliant Research Team


Spring brings more than flowers this year for supporters of direct shipping. After three and a half months of anticipation and preparation, the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control posted checklists, forms and applications on their site, making S 3172 a reality for the wine industry. Effective May 1, New Jersey is accepting applications for the Out-of-State Winery License from wineries producing less than 250,000 gallons (roughly 105,000 cases) annually. Annual production dictates the fee for the new license:
  • Less than 1,000 gallons – $63
  • Between 1,000 and 2,500 gallons – $125
  • Between 2,500 and 30,000 gallons – $250
  • Between 30,000 and 50,000 gallons – $375
  • Between 50,000 and 250,0000 gallons – $938
In addition to the listed winery license fees, New Jersey will make out-of-state wineries work hard for entry into the 40th U.S. state to allow direct shipping. The latest information indicates out-of-state wineries must: 1) register their business with the Secretary of State ($125); 2) register their business with the Division of Taxation for payment of state sales and excise taxes; 3) post a beverage tax bond (ranging from $1,000 to $1,000,000 depending on anticipated sales); and 4) submit the license application with the fee, outlined above, to the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control (NJ ABC). New Jersey also requires all products shipped into the state to be brand-registered at a cost of $23 per label.

In an unanticipated twist, corporate laws in New Jersey require any foreign (non-New Jersey) corporation that secures a license from a state agency (for example, a wine shipper’s license from the NJ ABC) to establish nexus with the state. With this nexus, out-of-state winery licensees must also annually file corporate income tax and pay a minimum of $500/year, depending on gross revenues. Partnerships are also subject to a tax of $150/partner/year and annual filing. All wineries applying for the license should be aware that they are subject to this requirement.

On top of direct shipping capabilities for Out-of-State Wineries, with the payment of an additional fee (from $100 to $1000 depending on annual production), licensees may ship directly to New Jersey retailers. Common carriers are not allowed to ship these orders to retailers, and price posting is required on products for sale to retailers. Additionally, licensees have the option to open up to 16 tasting rooms within New Jersey for a fee of $250/site.
Here are the forms referenced in New Jersey’s checklist and instructions, in order of appearance:
We realize that the application process in New Jersey is a little daunting, so ShipCompliant has already geared up to facilitate the licensing process. Visit before May 15th with the coupon code “EWLNJ” and save 35% off ShipCompliant service fees to obtain a New Jersey direct shipping license.