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Tips & Tricks

When’s The Best Time for Shipping Wine?

- Updated

When’s The Best Time for Shipping Wine?

Short Answer: Spring & Fall
Think of wine like cheese. Would you send your grandmother in Tennessee a wheel of blue cheese during August? Wine loses its original freshness and aroma when exposed to light and temperature fluctuation.

A bottle of wine is more sensitive than you might think. Exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees (like in the back of a UPS truck), a wine will cook and taste strangely acidic and nutty.

wine shipping wine boxes cardboard shippers
The waiting is the hardest part. Photo by Ricardo Bernardo


Some wine businesses only ship twice a year

When I order something online I expect it tomorrow. Even with international orders, a 2-3 week waiting period is near death torture. Imagine waiting 6 months for a wine shipment. Impossible. Despite our current culture of instant gratification, waiting a few months for wine is actually pretty standard.

There are many online wine businesses and wineries who only ship a couple times a year.

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I know what you’re thinking: “WTF?!”

Let’s find out why good wine businesses are shipping wine only at certain times a year. Learn what to expect when shipping wine and become a better planner. Also, if you need your wine immediately, here are some tips you can use to feel confident when shipping wine all year round.

To minimize exposure, wine is shipped only twice a year in the temperate weather of spring and fall. Orders will be held for free under ideal storage conditions (56 degrees/70% humidity) until shipping is possible.

garagiste.com Shipping Seasons


Is your wine going to make it okay? credit



We ship all year round. We will hold shipments for 3 months if the weather is not conducive to shipping to you at the time of your order.

winelibrary.com FAQ


Tips for Shipping Wine

Okay to ship ground in most states. mid-February to mid-April
Ship expedited or with polystyrene inserts.
Okay to ship ground in most states. mid-September to mid-November
Ship expedited or with polystyrene inserts especially for cross-country wine shipping.

Shipping and handling charges may be slightly higher [during extreme temperatures] to expedite shipments, reduce travel time and minimize the chance of damage.

wine.com Customer Care


Can You Ship Wine?

Nope. But it happens all the time…
It’s illegal in most states for consumers to ship wine but it happens all the time. In 2005, The SF Gate shipped wine illegally to see if they could get away with it.
The result? Don’t ask, Don’t Tell

What if I need it now?

If you are stranded without wine, by all means, order it! However, don’t be surprised when your wine arrives in polystyrene shipping inserts (aka styrofoam shippers). Many online retailers who ship year-round use styrofoam during extreme temperatures.

Expedite Shipping Pay a little more and reduce the transit time as much as possible. Consider having your wine delivered to your work instead of sending it through the cycle of missed deliveries.
Buy More Wine A case of wine will fluctuate less with temperature peaks than a two-pack.

I’ll drink to that!

Regional Climate Maps from cpc.mcep.moaa.gov
SF Gate Don’t ask, Don’t Tell, 2005

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AboutMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly