Amazon Wine will shut down by December 31st
October 23, 2017
By Jeff Carroll, Vice President of Product and Marketing
Amazon sent out an email to sellers participating on Amazon Wine today, notifying them that the site will “close” on December 31st, 2017. Although the letter doesn’t state the reasons explicitly, one can speculate they anticipated challenges with tied-house laws that prevent retailers of alcohol from accepting anything of value (for example, advertising fees) from suppliers of alcohol (aka wineries).
When Amazon completed their acquisition of Whole Foods recently, they inherited retail alcohol licenses in multiple states. Prior to this acquisition, it was OK for Amazon to collect marketing fees from their marketplace of wines sold by wineries in states where they didn’t hold licenses. However, the new retail licenses complicate matters because of the prohibition around accepting things of value from suppliers.
This is a smart move to get ahead of any potential regulatory concerns. I’m sure Amazon won’t be abandoning their ambitions to sell wine (and other beverage alcohol products) online, so we’ll wait to see what they do next on alcohol delivery. The Whole Foods brick and mortar stores open up many new options for Amazon here.
Dear valued Seller,
As Amazon continues to offer Customers additional retail options for buying wine, we will no longer offer a marketplace for wine, and Amazon Wine will close on December 31st, 2017. Wine will continue to be offered through Amazon Fresh, Prime Now and Whole Foods Markets. Please see our FAQ for further details. We would like to thank you for being an innovator in how Customers search, discover, and buy wine online.
The Amazon Wine Team
If you’re an Amazon Seller and curious what this means for your winery, contact us for a free consultation.