10 States Wine Lovers Should Never Retire To

Many wine lovers use the Internet to learn about new and exciting bottles and blends. Still, others order wine online and have it shipped directly to their home to stay ahead of inflation.

Unfortunately, there are some states where shipping wine is either prohibited or extremely difficult due to complex shipping laws, dry counties, and other restrictions.

Here are 10 states that restrict the shipment of wine and what exactly those restrictions entail. If you’re thinking about where to retire, you might want to cross these options off your shortlist.

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1. Alabama

In 2021, Alabama updated its liquor transportation laws to make it significantly easier to get limited amounts of beer, wine, and spirits delivered to residential homes.

However, in order to ship wine to Alabama residents, companies must apply for a direct wine shipper license. Many other states also require these carrier licenses.

By the end of 2021, several companies have either obtained a license or submitted their applications to begin shipping wine to the Alabaman. However, because the laws are so new, alcohol shipment may not be available everywhere in the state.

So if you count on a regular supply of wine as a treat every now and then, Alabama might not be the best state to spend your golden years.

2. Alaska

The state of Alaska has no restrictions on foreign suppliers supplying alcohol to its residents. However, more than 75 communities have banned the importation or possession of alcoholic beverages.

If you’re thinking about retiring to Alaska, be sure to check out the official list of communities that prohibit alcohol. Sending alcoholic beverages to these communities may be considered a criminal offence.

3. Arkansas

Wine delivery in Arkansas is a bit complicated, so it may be best to avoid the Wonder State if alcohol delivery is a priority.

If you happen to be visiting an out-of-state winery and want to send some wine back home, you can do so by ordering the drinks in person. This is the only way to have products from out-of-state wineries shipped to Arkansas.

However, there are some wine stores and subscription services that deliver to Arkansas. However, finding these services can be a bit complicated as they are few and far between.

4. Delaware

Delaware is one of four states that prohibit direct delivery of wine to consumers. While many retirees consider moving to Delaware because of its reputation as an extremely tax-friendly state, the complications of transporting alcohol are a con for wine lovers.

To order wine to Delaware, shipments must be sent to wholesalers, who then deliver to the off-premises Delaware licensee and ultimately to the consumer.

This “three-tier system” can get a little complicated, though there has been some recent movement to try to legalize direct-to-consumer shipping in the state.

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5. Florida

While wineries can ship wine directly to consumers throughout most of Florida, there are two dry counties where any shipment of wine is strictly prohibited.

Lafayette and Liberty counties, both located in the northern part of the state, prohibit any sale (or shipment) of alcohol. Florida also has one of the higher wine excise taxes in the country at $2.25 per gallon.

However, Florida is still generally considered a hot spot for retirees — because of the warm weather and tax benefits — and even wine lovers can enjoy regular shipments as long as they avoid dry areas.

6. Kentucky

Kentucky is another state with recently updated laws when it comes to transporting wine. If you want to have it shipped directly from the winery to your home within the state, that is allowed.

However, out-of-state retailers are not allowed to ship to Kentucky homes. Some wine delivery companies are also able to deliver to residents within the state.

Kentucky also has the highest wine excise tax rate in the country at $3.23 per gallon.

7. Mississippi

Mississippi has some of the strictest wine shipping laws in the country, so wine-loving retirees considering the state as a potential landing spot may want to reconsider.

A recent bill allows wine to be delivered to residents’ homes. However, the retailer delivering the alcohol must be within 30 miles of the customer’s home.

The state also does not allow any out-of-state shipments of alcohol or things like subscription wine deliveries.

8. New Hampshire

Retailers who want to ship wine to New Hampshire residents must obtain a direct shipper permit and submit copies of all their documents to the appropriate government agency. Once licensed, companies are free to ship beer, wine or liquor.

There is one dry town in the state, Ellsworth, where no direct shipments are allowed, so wine-loving retirees may want to avoid the area.

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9. Rhode Island

Rhode Island is another state with fairly complicated laws when it comes to transporting wine, and it may not be the best destination for retirees who like to treat themselves to a good glass every now and then.

The only way residents can have wine shipped from an out-of-state retailer is if they happen to be on the winery’s premises and order the wine in person to be shipped back to their homes in Rhode Island.

Winery direct shipping done online or over the phone is not allowed in the state.

10. Utah

Despite the many natural wonders that visitors can find in Utah, wine-loving retirees should absolutely avoid this state, as it is perhaps the most difficult when it comes to bringing in alcohol from outside.

Direct shipment of wine is strictly prohibited – and although Utah residents can be members of a wine subscription program, they must have bottles delivered to an in-state store or package agency for pickup.

If you are traveling back to Utah from another country, you can bring up to one liter of wine or brandy into the state.

Bottom Line

While many states allow residents to freely purchase wine and spirits online, looking into the liquor laws of the state you’re planning to move to can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

In general, alcohol laws vary widely from state to state. If you move to a state with severe shipping restrictions or a state that imposes additional alcohol delivery fees, you may end up spending more money on just a few bottles of wine.

As retirees know, planning ahead is the name of the game, especially if you want to try to retire early. So look out for things like additional taxes that may be associated with things like food, alcohol, general purchases, etc.

Budget planning should include avoiding cost of living increases where possible.

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