Wine is a great gift to send over a long distance because it's nonperishable. Sending wine to Thailand from the U.S. is legal, but you need to follow the correct procedures. To send wine yourself you will need to get a liquor license, pack the wine very cautiously and be careful to stay within the alcohol exportation regulations of your state. Alternatively, you can avoid dealing with becoming licensed and packaging by using an online wine retailer to ship the wine for you.
Find out your state's laws on wine shipping. Laws vary state to state; some do not allow wine shipments made directly to consumers, while some have quantity limits on shipping wine. Check The Wine Institute's website to find information on your state's regulations.
Get an alcohol license, also called a liquor license. Even if you're simply shipping one bottle of wine you bought from a store, you need the same license that any alcohol wholesaler, retailer, dealer, distributor, importer or manufacturer needs. Contact your local mayor's office to inquire about obtaining an alcohol license application, as well as the specific address for submitting your application and the office hours when the applications are accepted. You may be interviewed at the time you submit your application.
Decide on the carrier you want to use. Your choices are limited to FedEx and UPS, as the U.S. Post Office and other major parcel carriers do not ship alcohol. Although FedEx ships alcohol, it only deals with business shipments, meaning cases of wine sent from one winery to another winery. Unless you have a wine business, your shipment options are limited to UPS, which allows personal shipments of alcohol. However, you'll still need to show UPS your liquor license and state license to send wine.
According to UPS regulations, wine shipments must be thoroughly packaged in a corrugated or moulded fibre tray. Place the tray inside an appropriately sized cardboard box, securing it against the sides. Keeping the bottle away from the sides of the box protects the wine from shattering.
Wrap each wine bottle in several layers of bubble wrap and secure with tape. Pack them inside the box. Fill up any empty spaces inside your box using styrofoam packing peanuts or Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam.
Calculate the estimated cost and transit time. The average 750ml unopened wine bottle weighs 0.748kg. Multiply 1.65 by the number of wine bottles you're sending and add about a half-pound to that number to include the weight of your packaging. Go to the time and cost calculator on the UPS website. Enter the weight you calculated, the measurements of your box in inches, and the day you plan to send out your package. Submitting the form will immediately give you a cost estimate and an estimated arrival time. Inform your recipient of this estimated time. If you're sending it to yourself, plan to be in Thailand by the time the shipment arrives.
Sign an agreement with UPS called either the Agreement for Approved Wine Shippers or Wine Industry Fulfillment House Agreement for Approved Wine Shippers. A UPS representative will walk you through this process when you tell her you're sending alcohol.
Fill out a customs form, available at your local post office, since you are sending the wine internationally. Customs forms usually ask for the address and name of the person you're shipping to, as well as the contents of what you're sending and its monetary value.
Make sure your recipient is 21 or older and has a government-issued photo ID to prove her age. Regardless of Thailand's alcohol consumption age law, since you're shipping from the U.S. your recipient must be 21 or older to receive the package.
Choose an online wine retailer that will ship internationally. Vinquire is one such option.
Choose the wine you'd like to send and add it to your online cart.
Provide your payment and shipment information.
Receive the estimated shipment time and make sure your recipient is aware of the delivery. She will need to show a photo ID to verify she is at least 18, which is Thailand's legal age for alcohol consumption.
Do not attempt to ship wine through the regular postage mail, as this is illegal.
Tips and warnings
- Do not attempt to ship wine through the regular postage mail, as this is illegal.