retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Amazon.com plans to open an online wine store, re-engaging with an idea that it first considered several years ago.

According to the story, Amazon hosted a meeting in Napa, California, this week that was attended by representatives from about 100 wineries. At the event, the Journal writes, "Amazon said the marketplace would begin in the coming weeks and the online retailer will charge wineries a 15% commission of the sale price, as well as a monthly fee of about $40, according to people familiar with the workshop."

The story goes on:

"In 2009, Amazon pulled back from an effort to sell and ship wine after its partner, New Vine Logistics, suspended operations amid financial troubles. This latest effort would spare Amazon the cost and difficulty of shipping fragile and heavy wine bottles by passing that responsibility on to the vineyards themselves.

"Wine sales online are challenging due to a patchwork of state-by-state rules that limit which companies can sell alcoholic beverages. And shippers must ensure that recipients signing for packages are at least 21-years-old, the legal limit."
KC's View:
Less than one percent of the nation's wine sales take place online. At the moment.

I've always felt that Amazon would try to find a way through or around all the regulatory issues, because wine just seems like such a natural segment for it to try to disrupt. And make no mistake about it ... that is exactly what Amazon is going to try to do here.