For Immediate Release November 18, 2021

Washington’s Protectionist Wine Shipping Laws Put Damper on Holiday Gift Giving

—National Association of Wine Retailers Call for Change to
Washington’s Anti-Consumer Ban on Retailer Wine Shipments—

—Gift Baskets With Wine Sent From Out-of-State Banned in Washington—

—Washington Law Bans Out-of-State Shipment of all French Champagnes—

—Wine Shipping Ban Eliminates $6.5 Million in Tax Revenue for Washington—

(Olympia, WASHINGTON)—Washingtonians during the upcoming holiday season will once again have to forgo giving wine as a gift to their family and friends in the Evergreen State due to archaic and protectionist laws that ban the shipment of most wines into the state.

The National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) points out that Washingtonians remain barred by state law from receiving wine gift baskets or wine-of-the-month club memberships if the wine originates from an out-of-state wine-of-the-month club or wine gift basket company. Both wine clubs and wine gift basket companies are licensed in their home state as retailers, which are banned from shipping wine into Washington State.

“The odd irony here is that Washington residents may legally receive wine shipments from out-of-state wineries, in-state wineries, and in-state wine stores, but only out-of-state wine stores are barred from shipping wine to Washington residents,” notes Tom Wark, Executive Director of the National Association of Wine Retailers. “There is no rational reason for the restriction on Washington residents receiving wine shipments from out-of-state wine retailers, but instead it’s a matter of stepping on Washingtonian’s freedoms in order to protect local wine wholesalers from competition.”

Gift baskets containing wine are a very popular holiday gift. However, most wine gift basket specialists are classified as retailers and reside outside the state of Washington. The Washington ban on wine shipments from out-of-state wine retailers also means that the vast majority of wines sold in the United States may not be shipped to consumers in the state of Washington. Imported wines such as Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italian and Australian wines, which are only sold in the U.S. by retailers, are therefore also banned from being shipped to wine lovers in the state.

NAWR estimates that Washington State annually loses more than $6.5 million in sales tax by banning wine shipments into the state from out-of-state retailers. NAWR further estimates that more than 300,000 different wines are unavailable to Washingtonians as a result of the anti-competitive and protectionist ban on wine shipments from out-of-state retailers, wine-of-the-month clubs, gift basket retailers, Internet wine retailers, and wine auction houses.

“While it won’t occur in time to satisfy gift-givers this holiday season, NAWR believes that
a change to Washington law allowing wines to be shipped to consumers in the state would benefit consumers, the collection of tax revenue and free trade in the state,” says Wark.

The National Association of Wine Retailers is a national trade association representing the interests of and providing member benefits to wine retailers and other alcohol beverage industry supporters from across the country. The NAWR seeks a modernized and level playing field for wine sales. NAWR opposes protectionist, anti-consumer, and discriminatory laws that favor the largest and most powerful interests in the alcohol industry. For more information visit

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Tom Wark, Executive Director
National Association of Wine Retailers
[email protected] • (971) 332-5057