Wine Talk

Snooth User: WineGeekJen

State wine stores

Posted by WineGeekJen, Dec 2, 2009.

Your Message...Do you think that wine drinkers that live in states that have state run liquor monopolies have limited purchasing options or do you think they get a good deal because the state has more buying power to keep prices down?

On our podcast this week, we talked with Mike Gonze the owner of Dreadnought wines, which is a wine distributor in Pittsburgh, PA. We were discussing all of the rules that the state has for wine distributors. In fact, he called the company Dreadnought because he had to navigate the "rough waters" of the state's bureaucracy. Let me know what you think! You can listen to the podcast on iTunes (East Coast Wine Geeks Episode 34) or at


Reply by rhill2990, Dec 3, 2009.

I live in Ohio where there is a three-tiered liquor distribution system run by the state. My opinion is that we have less choice in wine selection because this system does not let all wines into the mix. The state determines which wines are available for import into the state, either by private individuals or by the retailers. I am not sure what the criteria the state of Ohio uses, however, I know there are certain wines that are unavailable for me to bring into the state. I think this state run system is rigged to arrange for maximum "soaking" of the retail customer. As a private purchaser of wine, beer or spirits, I must file an excise tax return with the state liquor control authority and pay the sales tax and excise tax on the wine within 30 days of receiving the shipment. The excise tax is pretty low and depends upon the alcohol content of the wine, beer or spirits. For example still wine that contains between 14 and 22 percent alcohol has a $2.38 per case excise tax. The sales tax in my county is 6.75%. I am also limited to purchase less than 11 gallons per every three months. It sounds like a lot of wine but it amounts to less than 5 cases. If you are trying to cellar wine it can make things tougher.

The money involved is insignificant and the paperwork is not bad. Still I kind of view this as a limitation on my personal rights to consume wine of my own choosing.

It's all pretty ridiculous. Anway, that's my two cents.

Reply by dmcker, Dec 3, 2009.

Sounds like quite a bit of bureaucratic nonsense, RHil. Undoubtedly does justify extra jobs in government for a few folks, though. ;-) What happens to people who forget to pay their excise/sales tax?

Reply by John Andrews, Dec 4, 2009.

Being from Canada and in a province where all alcohol sales are controlled by the government I would have to say that choice is definitely reduced but prices are high but that is more to do with the 'built-in' taxes and tariffs Canadians have to pay.

Reply by John Andrews, Dec 4, 2009.

Oh yeah, now that I live in California, I don't have to worry about it. :-)

Reply by rhill2990, Dec 4, 2009.

Yes, dmcker, I think it is nonsense. I am not sure but I think in order to ship to Ohio the retailers have to have a special permit from the state. I would bet that they probably send copies of the purchase invoices to the liquor control people. There is probably some regulatory fine for failure to comply.

I have great faith in tax collecting agencies.

Reply by kylewolf, Dec 4, 2009.

Here is Alabama, the choices are pretty slim, even at high end wine stores. The state run stores have very limited selection, but the best prices, which is still on avg. $3-5 higher than what I use to pay in Illinois. Also, you have to pay a ridiculous tax on any wine being shipping into the state.

While I can not remember what the tax on wine is, I know to calculate liquor tax it is

invoice * 1.3= X * .48 = tax due
example, a case of Jack single barrel ($38)

$456 * 1.3= $592.8 *.48= $284.54

I do believe that is how it works...if anyone from Alabama knows better, please let me know.

Reply by rhill2990, Dec 4, 2009.

That's a pretty steep tax. I guess I should count my blessings

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