How to start a wine import business

Written by scott yoder
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How to start a wine import business
Starting a wine import business is an intricate proposition. (bottle of wine on white image by JoLin from

Importing wine can be a lucrative trade, but to start an import business you will have to submit the proper documentation to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department. Also, you will have to submit business and tax forms to the state in which you will do business and be aware of their requirements for importing alcoholic beverages. You are required to maintain and staff a business office in the United States to import a product like wine.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Business location
  • TTB Form 5100.24 (application for basic permit under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act)
  • Qualifying documents from the state you will do business in

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    Wine Importing Business

  1. 1

    Find and secure a location for your business. Insure adequate office space and space for wine storage.

  2. 2

    Complete TTB Form 5100.24,the Application for Basic Permit Under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. Mail to "Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, National Revenue Center, 550 Main St., Room 8002, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202".

  3. 3

    Acquire and complete all qualifying documents for the state you will do business in. Regulations vary from state to state for importing alcoholic beverages.

Tips and warnings

  • At, they recommend you hire a customs broker when starting an importing business. These professionals can prepare all the necessary documentation and are licensed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service. It will be an added expense when starting your business, but it will also save a lot of time, particularly with the added paperwork involved in importing alcoholic beverages.
  • Insure that you know and trust your business partners in the country you are importing the wine from. Before you go through the process of getting your business set up in the United States, take care of the logistics on the foreign end. Travel to the places you are importing the wine from so you know the products and people behind them.

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