Why Can’t All Wine Clubs Ship to Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is an interesting state on a number of levels when it comes to wine shipping, but before I get into more specifics on wine clubs shipping to Pennsylvania, it’s important to note what we’re talking about in terms of alcohol laws in the state. In essence, Pennsylvania is still catching up, frankly, to modern times.

Need examples:

  • Wine was not allowed to be sold in grocery stores, supermarkets etc (you get the idea) until 2016
  • Spirits (IE hard liquor) is only sold at state owned liquor stores. Those stores also sell wine
  • Hours for selling wine generally run from 11am to 10pm, or even shorter.

Pennsylvania is what is commonly referred to as, an alcohol control state, which basically means that the state of Pennsylvania holds a good, old fashioned Monopoly over what gets sold in the state. I had a friend attempting to have his wine sold in the state, he grew up there and now makes some of Napa’s most expensive juice…..the result? It was over a year to have his wine reviewed by the state owned liquor stores to allow it to come into the state. He said, I don’t doubt this but also can’t independently confirm, that the state had only 2 people to judge all the wine to be sold in the state at that time.

So why is Pennsylvania such a pain for alcohol sales? Like all the alcohol control states, many of their antiquated laws date to Prohibition and have changed, only at a glacial pace since then,

What does this mean for wine clubs? The big change in Pennsylvania came about with that 2016 law change, back then direct shipment of alcohol to consumers was finally allowed. As with many of these states, there really are two questions at play in regard to joining a wine club in the state: First, can the wine club legally ship to you? Second, even if they can’t, will they, because the state is not enforcing any ban on outside shippers without a permit?

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