Increased Enforcement of Age Verification for DTC Sales

Members are advised that the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) is conducting minimum purchase age compliance checks on DTC license holders through the end of the calendar year. Many other states have also made DTC shipping laws and regulations an enforcement priority and are conducting active investigations.

The best practice for consumer age verification for online sales is to utilize an age verification service that will verify the legal drinking age of online purchasers of wine at the point of purchase for all transactions, even if a particular state law does not require it. Employing a third-party age verification service provides added assurance that online buyers are age 21 or older. These recommendations are part of Wine Institute’s Code of Advertising Standards and Digital Marketing Guidelines and apply to all Wine Institute members. Members should be mindful that age verification is separate from an age affirmation mechanism on their website that requires the user/purchaser to confirm that they are at least 21 years of age.

Failure by a winery to verify that the purchaser is at least 21 years of age and comply with other state rules may have serious consequences and potentially put their federal basic permits at risk. In addition, industry compliance with regulations is necessary to preserve existing winery DTC shipping privileges and continue to make progress on long-term efforts to open up new states for DTC shipping.