Amazon Nixes Wine.Woot — CaseMates Rises From Its Ashes

On October 23 of this year, I wrote that wine.woot, the remarkably vigorous winery-direct retail outlet, would be forced to shut down, seeing as it was purchased by Amazon. Wine.woot would suffer the same fate as the AmazonWine marketplace that was forced to close after Amazon purchased hundreds of retail wine licenses with its acquisition of Whole Foods. And state laws don’t allow retailers of wine to take anything of value from producers of wine, which is what both AmazonWine and wine.woot were doing.

Eighteen days after I wrote that post, it was announced that, like AmazonWine, wine.woot would shut down on December 31.

Wine.woot, founded in 2006, was essentially a flash sale site. However, it possessed something that most wine flash sale sites did not possess, a remarkably loyal, vibrant and active online community. Winemakers flocked to the site to talk with its members. Its members just talked…and talked and talked. Its forums have always been fantastic and its closing is a real loss.

How loyal and active were its users? The forum post at wine.woot announcing the closing has over 550 comments! Now that’s nothing for a popular news site. But or a wine site or a wine forum to see over 550 comments on a single post? That’s something you don’t want to shake a stick at. And throughout those 550 comments, one question nagged a the commenters: What would become of the community that had been built up over the course of a decade?

Well, now we know.

Woot Deals founder Matt Rutledge and David Studdert of Wine Country Connect, the logistics expert behind wine.woot, have started a Kickstarter campaign for CaseMates: A Wine Community Site With Vineyard Direct Deals. (Notice the tagline puts “Wine Community” first. Fitting.

Of the $50,000 they aim to raise, as of this writing they have $43,000 of it in the bad. It will likely be fully funded by tomorrow. (it’s increased by 4,000 in the short time I’ve been writing this post)

CaseMates is gonna sell thousands of cases!

But will Amazon?

In the first paragraph of wine.woot announcement that the service would be closing down December 31, 2017, we got this info: “Wine.Woot will close on December 31, 2017. Wine will continue to be offered through AmazonFresh, Prime Now, and Whole Foods Markets. Please see our FAQ for further details.”

Amazon isn’t likely to increase its bottom line too much with its wine sales via Prime Now, AmazonFresh and Whole Foods Market. The only way Amazon makes a dent in wine sales beyond what Whole Foods would have sold anyway via its stores is by using its online power to sell wine online in a dedicated wine store then deliver it via shipments. My guess is that the current retailer to consumer shipping market is worth somewhere between $1 and 1.5 billion. How much of that could Amazon capture with a dedicated “Amazon Whole Wine” online web store?



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