Home Wine Making Laws For Each Of The 50 U.S. States

Can I legally make wine in my own home?

Simply put, YES you can!  Making wine in your own home is legal in 48 out of 50 states.  Federal law, which is outlined below, made it so in 1933.  However, the federal government allowed each state to individually ratify the amendment.  As a result some subtle differences may exist with regards to legal amounts to make, allowable ingredients, types of alcoholic beverages made, etc…

Select Your State from the table below:

Eastern States Midwestern States Southern States Western States
Connecticut Illinois Alabama Alaska
Maine Indiana Arkansas Arizona
Massachusetts Iowa Delaware California
New Hampshire Michigan Florida Colorado
New Jersey Minnesota Georgia Hawaii
New York Ohio Kentucky Idaho
Pennsylvania Wisconsin Louisiana Kansas
Rhode Island View All Maryland Montana
Vermont Mississippi Nebraska
Washington DC Missouri Nevada
View All North Carolina New Mexico
Oklahoma North Dakota
South Carolina Oregon
Tennessee South Dakota
Texas Utah
West Virginia Washington
Virginia Wyoming
View All View All

How much can I make legally?

To most accurately answer this question you should check local statutes as the amounts legal to make will vary.  Most states allow federal law to dictate their own law.  Other states amended the federal law but still permit between 100 and 200 gallons of wine at home.  The overall amount is usually determined by the number of persons in the household who are of drinking age.

Federal law stipulates: The aggregate amount of wine exempt from tax under this subsection with respect to any household shall not exceed – (1) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are 2 or more adults in such household, or (2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only 1 adult in such household.

In order to make your own alcoholic beverages you must be at least 18 years old.  If you plan on drinking your home made wine you must be of legal drinking age.

Can I sell my home-made wine?

In order to sell your wine you must be registered as a Bonded Wine Cellar (BWC). Alcohol is taxed by the federal government via excise taxes. So, while you cannot sell your own finely crafted home-made wine you are permitted to take it off your premises to organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions, such as home winemaker’s contests, tastings or judgings.   Remember that under no circumstances can your wine be sold or offered for sale at these or any other venue. If you do wish to sell your wine it is heavily suggested that you have your wine made by a BWC to help save on the cost of licenses, taxes and other fees.

States Laws

Believe it or not but there are still some states that refuse to legalize home wine making.  Alabama and Mississippi are the only remaining states where making your own wine and beer at home are still illegal as a hobby.  All other states allow some homemade wine and beer to be crafted.  Most states allow home wine makers to share their wine with their family and guests within certain legal parameters.

In Tennessee and Texas, as in most other states, they allowed the federal law to determine their state law with regards to legal amounts to make.  Idaho law states that beer made from “native materials” is legal.  What they mean by native materials can be found out by calling their local regulation agency.

The last two states to legalize the hobby of home wine making are Oklahoma and Utah.  Both states, within the past 10 years, legalized homemade wine and beer much to the delight of their residents.

Take note that the production of homemade distilled alcohols is illegal throughout the United States.  Production comes with an excise tax and other numerous requirements that must be met in order for you to produce distilled alcohols legally.  Owning or operating an apparatus for distillation purposes, without filing the proper paperwork and paying necessary taxes, carries stiff federal criminal penalties.

History: Federal Laws Regarding Alcohol and Home-made Wine and Beer

In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution.  This enacted what would be known as the Prohibition Era (1919-1933).  The 18th Amendment outlawed the manufacturing and consumption of alcoholic beverages “for beverage purposes.”  This resulted in breweries, vineyards and distilleries, across the country, being closed down or used to make malt for non-alcoholic purposes.

Based on an IRS ruling in 1920, the making of wine was looked upon more graciously.  That ruling changed the standards for allowable alcoholic content in wine and cider but not beer.  Beer was not allowed to have an alcoholic content higher than 0.5%.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt repealed Prohibition in 1933 when he signed into law the 21st Amendment.  However, not contained within that amendment was the legalization of home beer making (home wine and cider making were both legalized at that time).

Home brewing of beer was finally legalized in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter signed bill, H.R. 1337, which repealed Federal restrictions on home-made beer and excise taxes on small amounts of home-made wine and beer.  However, even with the passages of the 21st Amendment and H.R. 1337, states were charged with regulating alcohol within their own borders.  As a result some states have not legalized home wine making or home brewing of beer even to this day.


NOTE: The information presented here is not a substitute for legal advice.  For detailed information regarding the laws of your state please contact the state’s governing agency and/or a lawyer licensed to practice in your state.

About americanwinegrape

American Wine Grape Distributors Inc. AKA A. Silvestro Wine Grape, has been in business for over 5 decades. We are wine enthusiasts just like you and want to share in that enjoyment. This is why we are developing a new and exciting platform for growers, restaurants, sommeliers and home winemakers. Our goal is to bring the wine community together and is the driving force behind our new blog.