4 Tips for Sending Wine Media Samples

Shot of five glasses of different wines on a table

Tasting rooms and wine clubs are not the only way to spread the “good news” about a winery’s outstanding product quality (and thereby boost Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) sales).  Getting your wine in front of reviewers, writers, and other influencers, as well as into wine competitions, can be an important part of the marketing and outreach program for any winery.

To do that, your winery will need to send media samples to these reviewers, influencers and competition holders. At first glance shipping Media Samples might seem exactly the same as any other wine shipment—but there are some complications. Even when sending samples, you will want to make sure you are in compliance and that your samples are not delayed because of shipping issues. Some things to consider include:

Wine Media Samples Are Not Licensee to Licensee

Contrary to popular belief, sample shipments are not typically licensee to licensee shipments. Most writers, bloggers, influencers, and reviewers are not licensed by any federal or state agencies as a grower, producer, manufacturer, warehouse, retailer, winery, or importer/exporter. This means there might be restrictions in shipping to them, as well as taxes that must be paid.

Treat Media Samples as Direct-To-Consumer

There are no current federal or state rulings in regard to sending sample shipments. Industry best practice is to treat media sample shipments as if it is a Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) shipment. Since wine may not be given away, taxes must still be paid and reported as a DTC shipment. Typically, the winery or its marketing department would be listed and reported as the purchaser for a media samples shipment being received by a writer, blogger, or similar reviewer.

Know Their Name and Notification Needs

Not all bloggers, reviewers, or influencers freely accept samples without prior authorization. Before you ship, identify the end recipient and verify whether he or she needs to be notified in advance. This keeps the package from being rejected once reaching its destination—plus, it’s an excuse to start a conversation and build rapport.

Even Media Samples Need the Right Paperwork

Some shipments may require specific forms to be sent with the packages. These may require additional information such as appellation, vineyard designation, alcohol content, winemaker, and so on. Organizations like Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits, for example, require these types of forms. Again, best practice is to contact the organization or people you want to send samples and ask what information they require.

Wine Media Samples are a great way to get your wine and your brand out into the wider world. Just keep in mind that they are wine shipments, and so all of the caution and common sense that goes into DTC orders applies to wine Media Samples as well.


Merilee Anderson
Vice President of Client Services


Copper Peak Logistics specializes in shipping wine, including Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) shipping. If you would like to find out more about what is involved in shipping Media Samples, contact us. We would be happy to help.

*** Please note that Copper Peak Logistics is neither a compliance expert nor a legal expert, nor are our employees lawyers. Therefore, the material in this post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please check with an appropriate legal or compliance expert if that is your need.