Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Amazon to Free the Grapes!
The word on the street is Amazon is going back into wine sales. Their first foray was a 30 million dollar investment in Wine.com back in 2005 that basically failed, in large part, due to difficult and varied interstate wine shipping laws.
Another reason was, Wine.com actually would pose as a customer and have other wine sellers ship them wine illegally and then turn that seller in to the authorities. It didn't take long for many of Wine.com's customers to feel betrayed and NOT buy wine from Wine.com.
An organization called Free the Grapes! is trying to enact legistlation that will allow consumers to purchase directly from the wineries and retailers, i.e. no middleman/wholesaler. This will remove the many convoluted shipping laws that are keeping us from getting some great wines at great prices.
So Amazon, once again, is getting into the wine business. They will be using a company called New Vine Logistics that deals in wine fulfillment and can deliver to 45 states. Wine purchases on Amazon would even qualify for its discount shipping program, Amazon Prime, in which goods are shipped free for a yearly fee of $79. Amazon Prime is SO totally worth it for wine... SCORE!
There are many things going on behind the scenes here. Naturally the Wholesalers are lobbying for all the laws to stay the same. If they don't, they will lose a lot of business. My hope is that Amazon will use its signifacant pull to further the goals of direct-to-consumer laws.
Amazon's wine sales were supposed to be up last month some time, hopefully it will be up before the Christmas season. Keep a look out for it.