How does a winery become a member of and sell wine through the VWDC?
First, the winery must submit registration through the site. VWDC will contact the winery to complete the remaining steps and paperwork needed to obtain a VWDC license. The winery may begin selling once they have a VWDC license.
How do licensees get started with VWDC and purchase wine online?
All licensees must be registered and be approved through the VWDC website for orders to be processed. Once the account is created and approved, login to VWDC’s online ordering system to browse products and place wine orders directly. Wineries are notified of online orders via email and within the system when an order is placed.
Is there a cost to sign up?
There is low cost to sign up with VWDC. Wineries using the service will be charged $6 per transaction, which will be deducted from their monthly winery payment.
Can wineries have their own wholesale distributor and still utilize VWDC?
Every winery entering into an agreement for distribution with any wholesaler must notify ABC of which Virginia cities and/or counties are designated as that wholesaler’s sales territory (Virginia cities are NOT part of surrounding counties, but are independent, municipal corporations). Please note that a winery is granting a wholesaler a “primary area of responsibility,” not an “exclusive” area of responsibility. In making this designation, wineries should consider the need for other independent wholesalers in the future, in addition to or instead of “virtually” self- distributing through VWDC. A winery with no existing wholesaler may make a different decision about a sales territory for VWDC than a winery already using a wholesaler.
A winery with only one wholesaler (VWDC in this case) could grant that wholesaler the entire state. However, because the Wine Franchise Act makes it more difficult to pull back sales territory from a wholesaler than to grant it, in practice, most wineries have opted to designate only one or two remote localities with few ABC licensees per wholesaler. In this situation, the wholesaler is permitted to serve the designated territory as its “primary area of responsibility,” as well as other parts of the state. The law states that it “shall not be construed as restricting sales or sales efforts by a wine wholesaler exclusively to retailers located within the designated sales territory.” In short, the Franchise Act permits “poaching” into a wholesaler’s designated sales territory by another wholesaler, but it does not generally permit the winery to take steps to restrict either wholesaler’s sales/actions within that sales territory. The sales territory can be one designated by the winery with ABC or determined based on the prior course of conduct between the winery and the wholesaler.
Are wineries able to sell to any retail licensee?
Yes. Once a Virginia ABC retail licensee holder registers with VWDC, wineries may begin selling to them. All licensees must register through the VWDC site with a valid email address.
How many cases of wine can wineries ship/distribute per year through VWDC?
A total of 3,000 cases may be shipped per year. Once this amount is reached, licensees will no longer be able to place orders.
Can wineries make changes to licensees’ orders after they have been submitted?
Wineries may adjust/modify orders up until they have been marked “Delivered”. After this point, they cannot be changed.
Will wineries have the ability to change the price of wine for volume discounts, specials, etc.?
Wineries are able to increase or decrease pricing at any time, however only price decreases become available immediately. For price increases, wineries must notify ABC and the VWDC Winery Administrator 30 days prior to the effective date of such change. Per ABC code, the changes will take effect 30 days after the request is made.
Can anyone under the age of 21 deliver wine (in closed containers) for VWDC?
According to the ABC, the only age restrictions on those who can handle alcohol are limits on who may serve alcohol at retail establishments. Therefore, there are no limits in ABC law for those younger than 21 acting as an agent of the VWDC and delivering wine.
Can private vehicles be designated “agency vehicles” while delivering wine to licensees? Can more than one vehicle be used?
Yes. Private vehicles may be designated as “agency vehicles” for deliveries and more than one vehicle may be used.
Can the documents associated with two winery deliveries be mailed together? When must documentation be received?
Yes, however all documents (Purchase Orders and Invoices) must be electronically signed within the system upon delivery to ensure the transaction is considered complete or payment to the winery will be delayed.
With electronic signatures for invoices and purchases captured in the system send checks or money orders to the following address:
Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services VWDC
P.O. Box 1314
Richmond, VA 23218
Checks must have the associated invoice number to ensure proper processing of the payment.
VA ABC Code still requires VWDC agents to print out invoices for signature upon delivery.
Must the winery’s “VWDC Licensed Space” be bonded space?
No. The VWDC Licensed Space is considered by TTB to be a tax paid area. If the VWDC Licensed Space is within a bonded area, the winery’s TTB floor plan must be amended to accommodate such change in use.
Can the winery’s VWDC space be offsite of the licensed winery premises?
Yes. Some wineries rent bonded or tax paid warehouse space offsite via ABC permit and such space may be designated as the VWDC Licensed Space. Please note that ABC will inspect the VWDC Licensed Space regardless of its location.
How does the tax get paid?
VWDC will pay the $.40/liter state excise and submit the monthly form summarizing wine purchases and taxes paid for transfers of wine to VWDC from each winery. However, the winery must continue to remit the $.40/liter state excise tax and monthly reports for transfers of wine made to its own retail location for retail sales.
VWDC will provide each winery with purchase orders for each wholesale order placed by the winery, and VWDC will report those purchase orders monthly to ABC as wholesalers are required to do. The winery must keep copy of that purchase order on file as a record of sales to a wholesaler in the space leased to VWDC for inspection by ABC at any time.
The winery must also continue to remit the state sales taxes collected on retail sales at the winery. The winery will continue to pay TTB the federal excise tax on all wine that leaves the winery’s federally bonded area, regardless of whether that wine is transferred to VWDC or to the winery’s retail operation.
Wineries are encouraged to contact their ABC compliance agent or the ABC Division of Tax Management at 804-213-4556 with questions.