Why Does California Wine Club Say Title is Transferred in California?

California Wine Club (read our in depth review here) has a short note that the wine they sell has its title transferred in California.

You might be wondering why?

I’ll go into more detail in a coming post, but generally speaking our alcohol shipping laws are centered around a bunch of Prohibition era statutes…..which, as you might imagine, kinda suck after being on the books for almost a hundred years.

There have been court cases over the years, but generally those tend to separate retailers (and remember, after looking at the permitting for the California Wine Club, I discovered they function as an online retailer) and wineries. For retailers, there really are only a handful of states which allow you to apply for and be given a license.

While Free The Grapes will often have an updated list, as of late 2020 there are about 14 states that are possibilities. For a winery though, that number jumps to over 40.

Ok, so back to the initial question about that little line about transferring title in California……If you transfer the title to the wine here in California, then you’re only arranging the shipment of wine, which is the same thing that any number of shipment companies do on a daily basis in wine country.

The idea here is that a sale online should be treated in the same way as a sale in person. Of course, the law is currently discriminating against retailers in favor of wineries….so this may or may not be accurate when someone actually litigates it. Until then, California Wine Club has found and uses a good workaround that allows them to ship your wine of the month club to your front door, in basically every state.