For the wine industry, like many other businesses, this is one of the biggest shipping weeks of the year, with countless gift bottles and cases of wine being sent around the country in time for Christmas and New Year's. But once again, the U.S. Postal Service, which shipped 3.5 billion packages last year, is cut off from the alcohol shipping business.
That's because it's illegal to send wine, beer or spirits through the mail in this country. It has been since 1909 when a temperance-era law banned the Postal Service from shipping "all spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented or other intoxicating liquors of any kind." Prohibition kicked in a decade later, and although the ban on selling alcohol was lifted in 1933 the mail restriction was not and remains in place to this day.
But now, there is a renewed effort by both the Postal Service and Congress to again permit the mailing of alcohol, at a time when such carriers as UPS and FedEx have swept up the business as many states have relaxed their laws governing the shipment of wine.