Reader mailbag: how’s North Carolina for wine?

Dear Dr. Vino,

I may soon be transfered from Chicago to North Carolina for work. While there are lots of factors involved in a move, not an insignificant one for me is the wine. Does NC have reciprocal shipping? Could I still order from Sam’s?

-Wino on the move

Glad to see that you have your priorities straight–and you are in luck!

It turns out that North Carolina does have direct shipping. Since October 1, 2003 residents have had the right to order wine directly from wineries at the rate of two cases a month–almost a bottle a day! Those wineries can be either in-state or out-of-state, laws that conformed with the current legal environment two years before the Supreme Court decision in the case Granholm v. Heald was handed down. The only catch is that the winery has to have a license to ship on file with NC so check first and encourage them to apply for one if they don’t have one already.

I called Sam’s for you and they do ship to North Carolina. By the way, consider yourself lucky in this regard. Even though NC allows direct shipping by wineries, even in the post-Granholm era, you can’t take it for granted that shops will ship too (see my previous frustration with this here). Indeed, Sam’s doesn’t ship to me in New York, also a reciprocal state. When I asked why, one of the owners emailed me that the decision is based on the advice of their attorneys. Those darned attorneys…grrr

And don’t forget the local options you have in North Carolina. NCwine.org boasts that the state is 10th in grape production and 12th in wine production!

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One Response to “Reader mailbag: how’s North Carolina for wine?”


  1. I seriously doubt that Sam’s can legally ship into North Carolina, for the reason you mention (only licensed wineries, in or out of state, can get a shipper’s permit…). Before giving out advice, you might check with the state rather than the retailer, especially Sam’s which tends to ship to a state regardless of the law until they get a letter, as probably happened with NY.


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