Amazon Tries Wine Online...Again

Where are you going to get your wine for this year's holiday season? How about Amazon? That's right, next month the online retail giant will take another step to becoming your one-stop shopping experience when Amazon adds US-made wine to its catalog, according to reports.

But don't get too excited just yet. Amazon will only be selling wine to customers in 26 states due to the complexity and confusion about online wine sales. Even though the Supreme Court struck down restrictions against out-of-state wine sales in 2005, online retailers are still nervous about the difficulties that come with interstate alcohol sales. To that end, Amazon is teaming up with New Vine Logistics, experts in interstate wine sales who have the ability to ship to about 45 states.

Americans spent more than 30 billion dollars on wine last year, according to Barbar Insel of the Stonebridge Research Group, so it's no surprise that Amazon would want to tap that market. But Amazon has tried this before. In 1999-2000, the company had a stake in, which lasted less than a year before it went bust.

Then in 2005, shortly before the Supreme Court decision to free up interstate sales, Amazon partnered with, but that turned into a gift basket business with no wine in sight.

So will Amazon finally succeed where it has failed before? Possibly. Online retailing is more popular than ever, and online wine sales are taking off. There's no word yet on how Amazon will avoid selling to minors (I'm guessing that a transaction for a bottle of wine and a copy of Metal Gear Solid will set off some alarm bells) or which states will be included in the early-October launch.

The good news is that wine will qualify for Amazon's discount shipping program, Amazon Prime, according to Terry Hall, who has been setting up workshops for California vintners interested in selling their goods on Amazon. via PC World

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