Wine distributors sell their best tasting wine to retailers around the country and around the world. The retailer buying the wine has to possess a liquor license prior to purchasing. Becoming a wine distributor can be hard work but selling your favorite pinot noir or sauvignon blanc is a rewarding experience. The government regulates the way wine distributors sell wine, so following the government’s rules and regulations is extremely important. There are ways to be successful, if you have always dreamed of becoming a wine distributor, all you need is determination, hard work, persistence and excellent tasting wine.

Things You'll Need

Becoming a Wine Distributor

Apply for an Employer Identification Number using Form SS-4 from the IRS before you apply for the basic permit for alcohol distributors. Contact the IRS for Form SS-4 or access the form online at

Submit the application for the basic permit, which can be found on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s website.

Fill out and submit the Power of Attorney form, if the basic permit application was signed by someone else other than the individual listed on Item 9. The prospective wine distributor’s information is placed on Item 9 on the basic permit form. Find the Power of Attorney form on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s website.

Fill out and submit the Personnel Questionnaire if you are a citizen of a foreign country, lived in a foreign country for more than two years, or have any association with a foreign country.

Understand the three-tier system for distributing alcohol. The three tiers are producers, distributors and retailers. The winemakers or “producers” produce the wine you will eventually sell to retailers. According to, the three-tier system may be the only practical alternative for some markets. It is possible to make your own wine and sell to retailers, but it is much easier to sell wine that is already made.

Join a trade association, such as the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. Joining an association will help you gain contacts within the alcohol industry and form relationships with wine producers and wine retailers. Becoming a member will give you the opportunity to attend network events and other gatherings that will assist you in your success.