Wine Talk

Snooth User: Philip James

What does it mean now that Amazon is entering the wine market?

Posted by Philip James, Mar 7, 2008.

What do you think about this? I'm still not sure of the details, but Amazon did try wine in 1999 with wineshopper and again in 2005 with What i like about this one is that it seems to be Amazon selling wine themselves - ie. licenses, warehouses and shipping it themselves.

If thats the case I think its great news and shows how much potential there is in the online market for wine.

What do you think?


Reply by gr, Mar 7, 2008.

It's probably a good thing for the consumer (or, at least, those who can usefully order wine online; living in PA, that excludes me unless I REALLY mean it), since Amazon knows how to do distribution well...

... but I'd be worried that it wouldn't be good for fledgling social network-y sites (like Snooth, but also cork'd, Vinfolio, ... all the stuff Mashable has listed here:, since Amazon's kind of an eight hundred pound gorilla.

Along those lines, if everybody just backs off and uses their existing accounts to review and purchase wine, then only the wine Amazon sells will get visibility online. That'd definitely be a bad thing.

Beyond that Mashable article, has Amazon made any public statements about whether they'd be open to affiliation with sites like Snooth? I'd hope that they would (and be open to all comers), but since they DO try to do some of the same things themselves in house for other products, I'd worry that they'd try to build a wall...

Reply by Philip James, Mar 7, 2008.

Amazon's so big they attack a lot of fronts simultaneously - they in house some stuff, rely on their aggregated Z shops for others, their deal of 2005 with a simple referral model. They've invested in some startups, crushed others and acquired others (alexa) still.

Who knows what they'll do here.

The only definitive thing I can take away today is validation that the online wine market is worth pursuing.

Reply by wine mom, Mar 7, 2008.

Are you familier with The Traveling Vineyard?
Go to then click on '"cellar"- you will get a plethora of wines from all over the world that you can order as well as tasting notes, food pairings, etc.The wines are from boutique wineries so they are not available in stores. Let me know if you need more info.

Reply by Philip James, Mar 20, 2008.
A good article on Slate that discusses the Amazon 'potential' move into wine. It highlights the fact, that despite all the noise Amazon has yet to make any announcement over their intended plans. So far the only hard evidence we have is that Amazon has a job opening for a wine buyer.

Maybe they are just planning a few dinner parties and want to stock up?

Reply by SusieJ, Mar 20, 2008.

Amazon probably won't do a better job selling wine than they do selling CDs. I loved, mostly for its great interface for finding and buying albums. Then amazon bought them and shoe-horned albums into the book interface. Didn't work. I didn't buy music on line again until iTunes.

In general, their interface is cluttered and distracting; they've succeeded despite their design. They had first-mover advantage in books, and maintained it with free shipping, deep discounts, and abuses of the patent system.

I can't imagine my friends who consider themselves knowledgeable about wine taking a recommendation from Amazon reviewers. People might BUY from the big wineries from Amazon, but they'll still go to Snooth (or cork'd, etc) for recommendations and better search. Wine retailers with broader selection won't compete directly with Amazon.

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