With Amazon Wine Shut Down, Is Wine Woot Next?
The announcement yesterday that Amazon was shutting down its Amazon Wine marketplace on December 31 was no surprise. With its purchase of hundreds of retailer licenses via its Whole Foods purchase it would out of compliance with tied house laws of numerous states, including California. A retailer, according to CA alcohol beverage law, may not accept payment from producers for advertising and this is exactly what Amazon was doing with its Amazon Wine site.
The question is will Wine Woot be next. I think so.
Wine Woot operates very similarly to Amazon Wine. The service, purchased by Amazon in 2010, serves up offers from producers. The purchase is actually made through the producer, not Wine.Woot. Wine.Woot is a marketplace. The site has long been a source of great deals with winemakers engaging frequently with its users. The Wine Woot community has long maintained a very active and fun comment section.
However, Wine Woot now finds itself in the same conundrum that the Amazon Wine marketplace addressed when it purchased Whole Foods and its licenses. Amazon Wine had to shut down.
Most stories are noting that Amazon Wine still will allow purchase through it’s Amazon Fresh service. However, that’s the real story. Amazon will certainly be creating a new website that offers wines to a nationwide, online audience. However, as a licensed retailer, it can only legally ship directly to 13 states. So, the coming Amazon site will likely determine the state in which the buyer lives and if it is not one of the 13 shipping states, the buyer will only see inventory that Amazon has purchased from that state’s wholesalers. It is identical to how Wine Dot Com functions.
Any retailer that hopes to compete with Amazon and its coming online wine site should probably be working right now to help open up as many states as possible for direct shipment. Independent retailers are going to need access to many more than the 13 states they can currently ship to if they want to compete.