Wine lovers will want to pop a cork in celebration of this development, but it could signal the beginning of the end for your favorite corner liquor store. This holiday season, online retailer Amazon is selling more than just Kindles, Roku boxes andalbums. Amazon is now a seller in the wine cellar, with a new online wine and champagne market.
It's not just a holiday season thing, either. Amazon is now in the wine shipping business. You cannot buy wine from Amazon everywhere—it will only ship the delicious bottles of red and white to buyers in a dozen states in the US. Those lucky states where winos can have bottles delivered to their homes are California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.
The online wine market is open, and you can now buy wine and champagne on Amazon. Thousands of wines are available; most are priced between $10 and $100. The finest and costliest bottle is a mixed-vintage 2011 Virginie De Valandraud, priced at nearly $100,000 for a single bottle, and the cheapest and most affordable wine is a Barefoot Cellars Merlot for just $1.69 a bottle. Take that, Two Buck Chuck!
Amazon Wine is also selling champagne. That bottle of Dom Perignon you'll want to stash for a special occasion is available for a cool $8,282.
Amazon is not stocking or selling the wines themselves, they're acting more as a middleman for the wineries. The wines will be shipped directly from the individual winery. The shipping is not handled by Amazon. That means Amazon Prime customers get corkscrewed. That free two-day shipping offered to Amazon Prime subscribers does not apply to wine or champagne.
Amazon Wine has been up and running for only a few days, so not many of the available wines have customer reviews listed yet. Once the wine reviews start pouring in, customers will be able to make educated decisions about these wines. Most of the wineries represented are not well known outside their Northern California and Washington locations.
“What Amazon has done with their new wine store is take the experience of hundreds of tasting rooms and put them online,” Washington vintner Tom Hedges of Hedges Family Estate told the Los Angeles Times.
Buyers still have to deal with a complex series of state alcohol laws. Some states, for instance, will only allow buyers a certain number of cases per year. The Wine Institute has composed this massively handy chart of state-by-state wine shipping laws.
If your state is not one of the lucky twelve listed above, don't drown your sorrows just yet. Amazon insists they will be shipping wine and champagne to more states “soon.”