I can't buy wine from Tennessee. Why?

While in vacation in Gatlinburg, I purchased a bottle of wine at the Smoky Mountain Winery. Upon our return, the bottle was broken.

I called to order a replacement, but I was told that they are no longer allowed to ship outside the state as of April 4, SCOTUS’s decision notwithstanding.

What’s the scoop? Anyone know?

TN law prohibits the shipping of alcoholic beverages to private individuals via mail/UPS, etc.

The SCOTUS ruling said that if you allowed some alcoholic beverages to be shipped in or out of state, you had to allow any shipments. Since TN doesn’t allow any, it’s exempt from the ruling.


The woman did say something might change in the next couple of months. Is there a move in the TN legislature to change the law? I would imagine they would be at a disadvantage with other states.

And what happened April 4th? She said they were able to ship wine before then, but after April 4 they couldn’t.

I dunno. There has been some talk about it in the past, but nothing’s ever happened, obviously.

Heh. This state had Prohibition before the Constitutional Amendment was passed. When it comes to “alkeyhol” this state doesn’t mind being behind everyone else. :rolleyes:

I imagine that was when SCOTUS made their ruling, and the state legislature, in their effort to “protect the children” changed things so that no one could ship anything.

In the interest of fairness, I should point out that at one time it was common for members of the state legislature to drink from cans of Donald Duck orange juice spiked with vodka while in session.

As far as I know, TN was never allowed to ship wine directly in or out of state. Like Tuckerfan said, the SCOTUS ruling had little to no impact there, and from the looks of the state’s history, I doubt it will.

But your problem isn’t TN alone. If your location is Orlando, FL, you’re just about screwed anyway. It is not only against the law, it’s a felony for a winery, any winery in the country, to ship to consumers in FL.

With one exception being onsite sales.
Meaning if you were to visit a winery in TN, that winery could ship wine you purchased during your visit to your home for you, that one time only.

If you want to get involved, you could send a letter to your legislators.

Check out Free The Grapes for more info.

I did not know this! Do you have a cite so I can read more about it?

It sounds like the SCOTUS decision did not really free up wine sals like I thought.

Is it a felony to buy a bottle of wine, & then ship it as a gift?

I hope not, because I’ve done that.

Not a felony, or at least I don’t think it is, for individuals, and as far as I know, the law really only applies to wineries, businesses, etc. though I do know that most carriers won’t ship to states that restrict it, even for individuals. And the USPS won’t ship wine at all, period.

The laws are so different for each state though, there is no blanket answer.

Ivylass, if you ever get a chance to try some of the fruitier wines from around Jamestown, Tennessee, there are some nice ones. I was really surprised at the quality. I had no idea.

It doesn’t seem fair to me that they can ship Jack Daniels out by the barrell, but not a nice bottle of wine by UPS.

What’s more, the county where Jack Daniels is made is a dry county. Of course that doesn’t stop Jack Black from adding a whang to the recipes at Miss Mary Bobo’s – the place to eat.

Sorry, Ivylass. Our legislature isn’t doing anything except getting indicted at the moment. I’ll see what I can find out.

My understanding of these laws is that they are not the vestigial stumps of Prohibition, but are conceived out of a desire by the state in question to get all the sales tax revenue that’s coming to it. If you’re in Tennessee and buy wine in a store there, you have to pay sales taxes, and perhaps excise taxes as well. In other words, the law exists to protect the state’s revenue, rather than to make it hard to get wine from out of state (though it certainly does do that).

The wine I liked at Smoky Mountain Winery was called Mountain White, a nice, fruity, sweet wine. I’m afraid I’m not enough of a wine snob to enjoy the dry wines. There’s a winery near my house that makes a wonderful red, and I get it every time I’m up there.

Ah well. I guess it will have to wait until I make another trip up there, whenever that may be.

Yes, it’s generally okay for individuals to ship to individuals state-to-state, though if you ship an entire case they may question you.

Free the Grapes is an excellent website.