The Wine Importers Guide
Wine importers are people who buy and sell the wine in bulk or in large quantities. Importers get their wine directly from wineries, or they obtain it from smaller vendors who import it from other countries and sell it to the customers. In order to import or export wine, an importer needs a legal contract with the winery that allows them access to the sources. This is also called a “merchant contract”. Before any contract is signed, the buyer and the seller must agree on all terms.
There are two types of importers. One is a direct importer, which usually ships the wine directly to the customer. The other is an indirect importer, which ships the wine to a retailer or an off-site warehouse where it will remain until it is purchased by the end user. In either case, both parties are legally bound to follow all applicable laws and regulations. Therefore, it is imperative to have a lawyer on board to guide you through the process.
It is a good idea to hire an importer if you are planning to travel to the country of the wine. For instance, if you are going to Spain to partake in the merriment with friends, you should have your passport and ticket in hand when you step onto the plane. Likewise, if you are shipping to Chile, it is necessary for you to have a valid license Wine Importer. The license will help ensure that your shipment is legal and up-to-date with appropriate labeling.
One of the most important things to know about a wine importer is the type of licensing required for them. While most states do not require an importer to obtain a federal license, some do, and those who do will likely be the most strict. If you want to ensure that you do not run into any problems when you are importing wines, it is imperative to do research to determine what the legal requirements are.
Every importer has its own laws regarding the shipment of wine. Some will only ship directly to a person’s home, while others will ship directly to a restaurant. It is important to find out the method of shipment that works best for you. Some wine retailers are even licensed to ship directly from wineries, which can reduce a few more hoops to jump through.
You can usually find an importer by doing a search online. You can also ask other winemakers for recommendations. If you are looking to import an older vintage, you will not have much luck looking through importers that exclusively import that type of wine. On the other hand, if you are looking to import recent vintage wines, you should have no problem finding a reliable company to meet your needs.
Make sure that you are very clear on the different types of laws each importer has. It is a good idea to contact the office responsible for state taxes and licenses. You will need this information if there are any special rules applicable to the importer. Most companies will be clear about the laws applicable to their company, but some will try to play the foreigner (that you are) and pretend they know something that they really do not. So make sure you get all the information you need up front.
When you are ready to arrange all the specifics for your wine import, call your chosen importer and have them prepare all the paperwork for you. Usually, this includes a completed application, all the necessary taxes and permits, and a list of items you want imported. This will make the whole process go very smoothly and you will have your wine before you know it! Happy Vino hunting!