Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Can I buy wines and resell them as a retailer?
—Hanna, Pensacola, Fla.
Not without a license. It is illegal to sell alcohol without a license.
To sell wines, you must file all the necessary applications with the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and you’ll need to pay taxes on the wines you sell. You can get more information about that on the TTB's website: www.ttb.gov/wine.
You will also have to make sure you’re in compliance with local and state laws, since they vary (a lingering effect of Prohibition). The TTB can help you there as well, with their directory of state alcohol beverage authorities.
If you were talking about selling wines from your own personal collection, I would still tell you that it's illegal to sell alcohol without a license, and that working with an auction house or other licensed retailer would be your best bet for legally selling a large and/or valuable wine collection. Do wine collectors occasionally sell bottles to their wine collector friends in off-the-books cash transactions? Certainly, but not legally.