Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shipping Wine is Troublesome

No easy way.
On my way to the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa.
I thought I’d just outline what’s been happening over the past week as I’ve tried to ship 24 bottles of wine to the conference.
In case you don’t know, I live in Canada and I’m a Canadian citizen. The shipping of alcohol by private citizens into the U.S. is pretty well prohibitive. It’s the same going the other way as ‘authorities’ want to inspect everything and get a piece of the action. As an example, outside of the allowed 2 bottles (roughly) Canadian customs permits, the border folks collect the 117% (approx) the BC government monopoly demands. But I digress.
The conference is in the United States. I’m allowed to bring a couple bottles of alcohol across the border each time I make a crossing. So since May of 2009 I’ve been visiting my mother’s summer home in Washington State. Slowly, I’ve been stockpiling wine for the enjoyment of my fellow bloggers.
Like most Canadians, I live within a short distance of the international boundary so this has not been an onerous task.
On Monday, I visited the shipper in Oroville, WA to send the wine. I was aware that shipping of alcohol from this particular depot was illegal. I also know that people do it all the time and there existed a “don’t know, don’t tell” attitude. Put it in an approved shipping container with no outside markings and say its vinegar if asked. Everything went very smoothly.
Or so I thought.
I was in line to return to Canada a half hour after shipping when I got a call from the shipper to return to the depot a claim my wine. Evidently they took it upon themselves to open my boxes and decided to reject the shipment. Indeed, when I returned, the boxes were opened.
Now I was a bit desperate. I had to ship that wine. How?
I put out a call on Twitter and @ksyrah responded saying she would help if I could get the wine to Burlington, WA. After some consideration, that looked like a good plan. Scheduling and commitments prevented me from getting to Burlington until yesterday. I was flying out of nearby Bellingham which made the 4.5 hour drive manageable. So I overnighted it and, with any luck, it will be at the Flamingo in Santa Rosa before I will be.
I hope it arrives and we all get to enjoy it. Maybe some day this will all seem quaint but I don’t hold out much hope.

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