Amazon wine, the less ambitious sequel

While Amazon shoppers can click and add almost anything to their carts, one thing has eluded them: wine.

Amazon’s first foray into wine had the potential to change the way Americans buy wine, shaking up the archaic set of laws that limit wine choices and boost prices for consumers, particularly those in states that do not have a vibrant culture of wine retail and distribution.

But this sequel seems less than earth-shattering. While the details are still emerging, the Wall Street Journal builds on reporting from Wine Industry Insight to paint a picture of a glorified “marketplace” system. In it, Amazon will expose their enormous customer base to offers from wineries, which will fulfill the orders themselves with Amazon receiving a fee of 15%, according to the WSJ. There’s no mention of how much shipping will be, including whether the orders would qualify for Amazon’s “Prime” service that has free two-day shipping. If they do qualify, some wineries may turn to Amazon instead of flash sites to unload any surplus inventory.

Since wineries can ship to about three dozen states if they have the proper paperwork on file, this has the potential to affect a lot of consumers. But there are a lot of drawbacks too since consumers would apparently have to order from one winery at a time since there is no warehouse fulfilling the orders. Also, wines will likely be at a higher price to justify the shipping charges and there will be no imported wines available. (Retailers, by contrast, can only ship to about a dozen states legally.)

So while it is better than nothing, Amazon’s foray into wine this time seems less ambitious. That’s a pity since the retailer and logistics champion could have been the wine consumer’s greatest ally in the battle over interstate shipping. Perhaps one day…

What do you think–is this a big deal? Would you be more likely to order wine from California wineries via Amazon?

Related: “Amazon stops selling wine before it ever starts

Related Posts with Thumbnails

8 Responses to “Amazon wine, the less ambitious sequel”

  1. I wonder if they are using Woot’s experience for this project.
    Woot’s offers are usually quite good. Too bad I can buy from Panama 🙁

  2. Have you noticed how Amazon actually has retailer listings for specific wines already? But it just dumps you out to the retailer’s site and leaves it up to you to figure out shipping costs and whether they can ship to your state so it’s not very useful.

    If this new foray is similar to what they have now for retailers it’s a non-event. But if they can make it feel like buying most everything else on Amazon it could be interesting. They have a lot of work to do to get there though.

  3. amazon owns woot

    amazon can tap into wine warehouse network with over 1000 domestic and many imported brands …

  4. Elias and Laura – Yes, good to point out that Amazon owns Woot (including wine.woot). Wine.woot does seem to be mostly domestic wines. To date, the information on this new wine venture does not seem to eat in to the woot plan but we will have to see how it all plays out once they do open the channel.

    Hmm, no, hadn’t noticed that. But it is definitely a space to watch…

  5. most of the warehouses from So. Cal to the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast are powered by the same cloud-based logistics platform – FORT Systems

  6. 15% just to list it on their site and have them transmit the order to me? Pass.

  7. […] and SPIT: shipping fees The Press Democrat has a lengthy story on Amazon wine. In it, they report that the shipping fees will be $9.99 for six bottles and $19.96 for 12. Seems […]

  8. […] site appears very similar to what had been discovered previously (read how it works for wineries) and offers exclusively domestic wines with orders fulfilled by wineries. Shipping is […]


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.”

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: