Importing wine to U.S.A.
Due to the high volume of requests we are currently not able to offer free quotes for transportation or import of wines to the U.S.A. Also we are not able to offer our service to individuals. Due to the licenses we hold we can work only with restaurant, wholesale or retail store located in California who would like to import some international wine.
Our goal is to help California based retail stores, restaurants, wholesalers and individuals import any wine they want from their preferred producers for very low cost. Three tier wine licensing system increases substantially cost of the wine. No company can hold all the licenses (import, wholesale and retail). Partner with us. Our California warehouse is fully licensed to import wine.
We offer everything necessary to import your wines to U.S.A.
- Importer. We will prepare all paperwork necessary to import wine to U.S.A.
- FDA registration. Each winery needs to be registered with FDA before the first import. We will also help with prior notice which needs to be provided before each wine shipment to U.S.A. (even small sample shipment). We will do or assist with the FDA registration.
- Primary American Source (Appointment Letter). Most of the states require an Appointment Letter to be provided before you start selling wine in the state. We will prepare it.
- COLA - Certificate of label approval. Each wine needs COLA approval. We will help with all paperwork to get you label approval or exemption. We will need from you:
- Provide good quality scan of wine label (back and front) for each wine you want to import.
- Brand name
- Class or Type Designation (red table wine, Zinfandel, etc.)
- Appellation (if applicable)
- Alcohol content
- Bottler’s Name and Address
- Net Contents (750 ml)
- Sulfite Declration (Contains Sulfites)
- Importer Details (we will provide those)
- Health Warning Statement (see below)
Example of government warning which needs to be on every bottle (we will give you details once your label is approved). You can keep your current wine label and add something like this on the back of the bottle:
GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) ACCORDING TO THE SURGEON GENERAL, WOMEN SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING PREGNANCY BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF BIRTH DEFECTS. (2) CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE A CAR OR OPERATE MACHINERY, AND MAY CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS.
Importing samples of wines without COLA approval
Samples of alcoholic beverages imported strictly for use at trade shows and/or for soliciting orders may, under certain conditions, be imported without a certificate of label approval (COLA). We will prepare letter for TTB and explain you the requirements for wine bottles (for example each bottle must have government health warning and text: “For Trade Show (or Sample) Purposes Only – Not for Sale. Let us know before sending any samples and we will take care of the paperwork and send you exact instructions.
We will take care of customs duties and clearance. After the customs duty is cleared we will pick up wine from port.
How to ship wine to U.S.A.
The least expensive way to ship wine is by ocean cargo container. 20 feet container maximum weight limit is 39,500 lbs (17,916 kg). That is about 700-1,000 cases. Each case is 12 x 750 ml bottles. You can fit 56 cases per pallet (4 layers of 14 cases each). You are responsible for transportation cost to port Los Angeles or Long Beach.
Our warehouse in Torrance is located two miles from the ocean with average temperature around 60-65 F/20 C and humidity about 60%. We will store the wine short term at no cost (up to 30 days) if necessary before distributing to you.
The three tier alcohol licensing system in the U.S.A. (importer/producer, wholesaler, retailer) substantially increases the wine price before it gets to customer. Importers expect 35-40% markup, wholesalers another 35-40% markup and retailers another 40-50% markup. The bottle of wine producer is offering for $5 will cost about $12-$16 when sold to customer.
We do not charge any commission or mark up over the cost of wine. Our fee is based on doing paperwork and handling the sale with rate $250 per hour. For example COLA approval might take about 2-3 hours of our time and it will be billed accordingly. Same for coordination of transport, paying customs duty, etc. The cost to import one type of wine can be approximately $1,000 flat fee (if you import one pallet or full container doesn’t make much difference in time spent).
Any order placed by us on your behalf needs to be paid upfront.
State Shipping Laws