FedEx/UPS - I have to start my own wine shipping company.

Yes, I get licenses for each state. I have a compliance person deal with it for me. It’s a nightmare.

With VinoShipper you basically have to hand them off to them at the point of sale, which is a little less control than I think most wineries would like. I have no idea how it integrates with wine club softwares etc. Also, I don’t think there’s a seamless way to have licenses for a few states and use them for the less common states. Means you have two looks then - one where the checkout is on your website for the states you have licenses in, and their design/checkout for the ones you use them for. That would irk the perfectionist in me to no end.

I see this a lot on websites: “If you live in CA, click here. If you live in anywhere else, click her eto go to Vinoshipper”

It’s not ideal, but very common with the dual checkouts.

Fedex has been horrible. It’s lost a couple of our wine shipments lately, or it’s been a PITA to go try and pick them up at a local pickup location. UPS is…ok. They haven’t lost a shipment, but sometimes it’s been late, which depending on weather can be a nail-biter.

I wanted to ask…has anyone tried DHL? Do they ship wine? I know they’re huge globally and can ship things like perfume (that normally are hard to mail…) I know normally DHL is more globally focused, but for getting things to places like Alaska it might be a worthwhile option.

I’d like to know about DHL as well, especially for my Alaska shipments.

Adam, I feel your pain. Returned shipments are the worst. FedEx randomly, this summer, returned shipments to me without even attempting delivery. And they charge BOTH out and back. So that’s brutal. And no, nobody to talk to. No way to get packages turned back around. “Oh, no, that package is already in transit, there is no way to stop it…” Ever since they gleefully announced in April(?) 2020 that they no longer offer the service guarantee, and raised the surcharges for “Covid” Home Deliveries, their stock price went crazy but it’s been tough on us. And REALLY expensive.

I suppose I lost a lot of sales on BerserkerDay because I no longer offer “Free” Shipping. It’s just unfair to local (say California and other western states) to charge more for wine --i.e., offer lower discount–to cover the $59 case to East Coast and cost of triple-fee shipments (out, back, and out again). it’s unfortunate that wine buyers don’t understand the amount of work and cost involved in shipping. I find when they pay for it, they pay more attention–like more willing to choose, for example, to ship to a business to save themselves $7 home delivery surcharges.

But back to the point, at FedEx rates today, we as shippers should expect delivery attempted, and a PHONE CALL when there’s confusion or a problem, so a temperature sensitive package doesn’t just auto-bounce back, doubling FedEx revenues, and causing massive loss for me. The slow boat return goes who-knows-where and at what temp, so I can never re-sell that wine.

At some point, FedEx will lose business and maybe go back to the model of having wine specialist customer service reps–we used to have a great one in Napa–and giving a shit about the shipper, as if we’re a customer. I did choose to use GLS for every California shipment I could last fall.

I feel I just have no choice but to track every package every day and beg customers to take delivery at local FedEx offices as those shipments have lower risk of things going wrong. Sometimes you can see a slowdown in progress and head off an issue before the irrevocable “Return to Shipper” message shows up. But it’s not fun–my dog goes under the bed the minute he hears the FedEx hold music.


It probably won’t make any of you feel better (except in the misery loves company department), but FedEx has become a train wreck for aerospace industry deliveries as well. Our “lost shipment” rate has tripled since 2019, and shipping costs have nearly doubled. Shipments routinely go “walking in Memphis” only to show up on eBay.

This is how over-charged we are:

I’m looking at a minimum of $7-10K in shipping in the coming months for all the BD and mailing list stuff. It would literally cost as much (or even be cheaper) to hire someone for a month, have him do every single delivery (in temperature control and with no screw ups or returns) across the US in my own truck.

Guesstimate that it would take 14 days to deliver it all across every state in America?

$200/day salary.
$100/day hotel room.
$200/fuel day.
$50/day truck rental/wear/depreciation.
$50/day food, expendables, phones, service etc

Total: $8400

Not the mention that you could then also deliver in boxes, no need for heavy duty shipping boxes or shippers. That’s a saving of at least $5/package. Naive, perhaps, but if it makes sense on paper at such a small scale, then how much wouldn’t it make sense on a bigger scale with maybe 10, 20 wineries participating?

Just sayin’… [drinkers.gif]

I think it’d probably take more than 2 weeks to handle all the packages. The traffic heavy metropolitan areas would take its toll. But I also reckon you could group up with another BD CA-based producer or two and the cost/package would go even further down. Interesting concept.

Hi Adam,

I live in South Florida and for the past 2 years I’ve been buying wines from a retailer in Seattle (Garagiste). Last year’s shipping cost was $38.56 per case, this year, with all the Covid-19 craziness it went up $41.75 per case which is still reasonable. I don’t think that Garagiste is shipping at a lost so that tells me that there has to be a way around the FedEx/UPS insanity. As far as I know they use a 3rd party shipping company with temperature control an they only handle the shipment to UPS on the last leg (in my case Ocala-Miami). Hope you can find the light at the end of the shipping tunnel soon :wink:

I would love to find an alternative to UPS/FedEX. Has anyone else shipped with other smaller players across the nation?

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Yeah, probably. When I deliver here locally in greater Los Angeles, I kind of struggle to do more than 10 deliveries a day. It’s hard to do 1/hr with the distances.

I had a shipment go to a medical office in FL. Fedex tried to deliver the box at 9pm. Second attempt was the following day at 7am. Of course the office was closed both times. Then they took 4 weeks to get the box back to me. Good times. Shipping is just awful.

That sounds like an awesome road trip for someone with a bit of spare time in their hands :slight_smile:

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You would need a minimum of 2 people to handle this scenario. And God forbid something happened to one or both of them, then what? Finally, there are licensing issues to consider when transporting alcohol across state lines. Something to look into with an attorney.

For sure. I have no idea about the legalities at this point. If it’s anything like shipping wines, it’s a complete nightmare. That said, FedEx relies on the wineries to have their licenses for the states, as far as I know they don’t need to have any alcohol direct shipping licenses.

What about GSO overnight here in California - i’ve had good experience with them - i think Justin was using them for a while - or maybe still does

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I have a GSO account, but have not used it yet. But heard good things.

I love getting wine from GSO. Very fast, usually same cost as UPS and very good handling.


my favorite is trying to talk to UPS on the phone

UPS center: hello thank you for calling UPS. would you like to track a package?
Me: speak to a representative
UPS: OK. to speak to a representative we first need your tracking number
Me: rattles off tracking number
UPS: this is the status of that package
Me: ok speak to representative
UPS: we can get you connected to a representative, but that is the most up to date information about your package
Me: OK speak to representative
UPS: please hold while we connect you to representative
::Hold music::
UPS: (still automated messaging) you have received the most up to date information about your package. you may now hang up at any time.
:call ends:

there is not a way to actually speak with a representative through their system anymore. they dont list a number on their site where you can. the ONLY way to do it is to first speak with their chat bot and tell it that its worthless and not getting you the answers you need. then it will MAYBE let a real person call you or live chat.

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that’s one of the reasons i like GSO so much - you can talk to real live people here in CA and even go to there warehouse and pick up the shipment if you’d like

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