Amazon.com may be the next big go-to place to buy booze on the web, as the company is looking to get (back) into the online wine sales business.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon announced their plans at a workshop event in Napa Valley, California - one attended by around 100 different local wineries. This wouldn't be Amazon's first step into the online wine business. The company was pursuing a deal with now defunct New Vine Logistics back in 2009. That partnership dissolved when investors pulled out of the company.
But this time, it would be different. Here's how it will work:
Amazon will take 15% commission on the wine sales, and will also charge wineries a $40 monthly fee simply to be a part of the online marketplace. Unlike their last venture, Amazon would be passing on the packaging and shipping obligations to the wineries themselves. Amazon, in this new setup, would simply serve as an online marketplace for transactions.
Even if the wineries have to handle the backend, most would probably be thrilled to have their products listed on a site with the traffic of Amazon.com.
According to the WSJ, the online wine service will probably launch in time for the holidays.
Of course, alcohol sales and shipping is a tricky proposition on the internet. Every state has different laws regarding who can ship what, where. Some states are nearly split 50/50 with wet and dry counties. A state like Alabama, for instance, prohibits all direct shipments. Shipping to Oregon, on the other hand, is a breeze (considering permits are obtained and taxes paid).
Still, the online wine business could be a huge bost for Amazon, and smaller wineries across the country. Wine connoisseurs would love nothing more than to be able to have local wines from different regions all over the country ship directly to their doorsteps.
Wine isn't the only thing that Amazon has a hand in these days. Just yesterday, Vine.com launched as on online marketplace for "green" products. Vine.com falls under the Quidsi network, which Amazon acquired back in 2010.