The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) has reversed its eight-year old position that wineries with contracts with Louisiana wholesalers could ship direct to consumers any label not sold to a wholesaler. That will no longer be the case. A winery that sells, directly or indirectly, to a Louisiana wholesaler is no longer permitted to make off-site direct sales of any of its products. Wineries that have a direct or indirect agreement with any Louisiana wholesaler may continue to ship to consumers in Louisiana that purchase the wine on the premises of the winery.
In addition, In 2015 the legislature amended La R.S. 26:359 (S 235) to require that prior to selling or shipping any sparkling wine or still wine directly to any consumer in Louisiana, a wine producer or manufacturer or retailer domiciled outside of Louisiana register as a direct shipper with the Louisiana ATC. Previously, wineries that wished to ship wine directly to Louisiana consumers were only required to register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR). There is no fee to register with the ATC. Products shipped to Louisiana consumers must have federal label approvals, but do not require additional label approval from the ATC. The provisions of S 235 became effective on Jan. 1, 2016.
As of March 24, 2016, only wineries registered with both the LDR and ATC may continue to make direct wine shipments to Louisiana consumers. LDR and ATC registration is required for making on-site and off-site direct sales to Louisiana consumers. Direct shippers are required to pay sales and excise taxes on all on-site and off-site sales and file quarterly reports with the LDR.
Wineries that have not yet paid the required annual fee of $150 and received written authorization to make direct shipments to Louisiana consumers from the LDR must do so before submitting their registration form to the ATC. The LDR wine shipper permits are valid from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. The ATC registration form, however, must be completed and renewed on an annual basis by Dec. 31 or within 30 days of any change in the information provided on the registration form since the last submission. Wineries that register with the ATC will not receive a permit or be contacted by the ATC unless there is an issue with their application.