Wineries are now able to apply to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission for a Direct Shipper license. Direct Shipper licensees may ship no more than 1 case (9 liters) of wine to a Tennessee consumer during a calendar month and total shipments to each consumer may not exceed 3 cases (27 liters) of wine during a calendar year. Only Tennessee consumers located in a wet region are allowed to receive wine shipments, and common carriers will not deliver shipments to an address that is located in a jurisdiction that has not authorized the sale of alcoholic beverages. A complete list of jurisdictions that have approved sales of alcohol is available on the Wine Institute website.
The first step in the direct shipper application process is registering to pay taxes, by submitting an “Application for Registration” to the Department of Revenue. The “Application for Registration” form must be completed by hand (Do Not file online version of the application.) Direct Shippers should select “Wholesale Gallonage” and “Sales and Use Tax” in section 1 and describe their business activity as “direct shipping” in section 15. Direct Shipper’s are not required to post a bond.
Once the Department of Revenue has processed the application for registration the direct shipper applicant should receive two documents: a “Certificate of Registration” and a letter confirming the tax registration process has been completed. Do not submit the Direct Shipper License application to the Alcoholic Beverage Commission before receiving these documents. The confirmation letter issued by the Department of Revenue must be submitted with the Direct Shipper License application. Direct shipper license applicants must pay a one time non-refundable fee of $300.00 and an annual license fee of $150 to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission before receiving their license. Payment totaling $450.00 should be included with the application packet. In addition, the following documents should be submitted with the direct shipper’s license: copies of contracts with common carriers shipping wine to Tennessee consumers (also known as “Alcohol Shipping Agreement”), a copy of the applicant’s organizational document, and a copy of the applicant’s federal basic permit.
The direct shipper’s license is valid for 1 year from the date of issue. Direct shipper’s must file reports, pay a state sales tax of 9.25% and pay excise tax. The Department of Revenue will send the appropriate reporting forms and instructions to licensees based on their filing status. The application forms and instructions are available on the Wine Institute website. Wineries should remember that shipping to consumers in Tennessee without a license is classified as a felony. Should you have any questions please contact Wine Institute’s State Relations Department at 415-356-7530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Annie Bones, State Relations - Wine Institute