You may be just a few clicks away from buying decent wine at an affordable price.
Amazon Wine simplifies wine buying. Enter the web page, click on your preferred grape variety, then (if you like) choose a region you want the wine to come from. Read your list of selections.
To test it, I first hunted for a 2010 Firestone Riesling from California’s Central Coast – Santa Ynez valley. Although the label was on the website, the wine was not available for sale. I then realized it was possible to uncheck the little box on the left titled ‘Include Out of Stock.’
I next chose a grape variety as well as a geographical location, clicking on Grenache and France, then fine-tuning by clicking Provence as a region – and found a sparkling rose made entirely from Grenache. It costs only $15. If you order, it will be shipped to you from Planet Wine, located in Oakland, California. The shipping cost is $9.99. But if you buy six bottles, the shipping cost remains $9.99.
Amazon is trying to simplify online wine purchasing, but this only works in 17 states within the United States, due to the Byzantine system of alcohol laws which vary state by state. Click this guide to find out which states ship wine (obtained from an article in the Chicagoist about Amazon’s wine program). If you live in the UK, you can also buy wine from Amazon. Actually, Amazon does not stock or ship wines in the U.S. or U.K., but acts as a mediary between wine sellers and buyers.
For the next try, I searched for a Riesling from Washington state in the U.S., with a professional rating of higher than 90 points (these include ratings from the Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and Robert Parker). Boom – 11 are listed, including a $17 Convergence Zone Dewpoint Riesling (this only showed a rating from Wine Enthusiast) – though this is only available for shipping to four states (California, Colorado, Florida, Washington), and the District of Columbia.
Okay, let’s say I want a Chardonnay (click) from Washington state (click) that is 12 to 14 percent in alcohol (click) and – should you want – is gluten-free (click). There’s one available from Mercer Canyons for only $14.99 a bottle.
Hmmmm….let’s try a few more clicks again on a specific country and grape type to find an Argentinian Cabernet Franc, for only $16.99 a bottle.
What does this mean? A few months ago I was at a ranch in a remote part of New Mexico in the United States, and a friend told how Amazon Fresh delivers some food and general groceries weekly. This is testimony to the growing reach of the company. The September issue of Fast Company magazine includes an article on how Amazon has gone far beyond books - and is selling a massive array of products throughout the world.
You get the idea. If you live where wines can be shipped, and dabble in internet shopping, you may never have to leave home again to experiment with vintages that fit your criteria (although – much of the fun of wine is getting out to share it with friends).
Beside the USA and the UK, where else does Amazon sell wine? Where will it deliver the same day as you order? Improbable though it may sound, where else but China? They are building over a dozen massive warehouses throughout the country to facilitate this business.
Odds, Ends, and Intriguing Alleyways to Explore -
Book, Wine Tours, Italy -
On a separate note, I’m following a new wine blog by an American who lives in Italy, and is also an author. He’s a very approachable and modest guy, and from what I’ve read of his book The Salome Effect, his writing is easy to read and entertaining. The book includes snippets of insight into Italian life, food, and wine. These help flavor the plot about an American who is in love with both a Torino stripper, as well as a Caravaggio painting, and who plans to have both. Suggest you check out the site of James Sajo. He’ll also hook you up with a wine tour around the Venice (Venezia), or Piedmont (Piemonte), or Turin (Torino) regions of Italy.
From The Salome Effect -
“He reduced the heat under the eggplant and tossed a generous handful of linguini into the boiling water. Time for a glass of wine…He opened a bottle he had found at a small winery near the village of Guarene near Alba…the owner had told Robert to open this bottle, a 2004 blend of Barbera d’Alba and Nebbiolo grapes called Ruit Hora, for a special occasion.” [copyright James Sajo, 2012]
Money to Buy Wine -
If you want to improve finances to improve your ability to buy and try different wines, you need to check out the financial wisdom of James Collins about Money, Business, and Life. Really. He also has some colorful advice about spending time in Ecuador.
A Wine to Try, a Book to Read -
Years ago Peter May took me on a tour of vineyards and wineries in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. Peter’s book Pinotage combines history and mystery to produce a true detective story about South Africa’s flagship grape. This is a good read about a wine that deserves more world recognition. You might also want to check out Peter’s website.
Writing Wine Notes -
Lettie Teague of the Wall Street Journal just posted this piece about writing wine notes. It’s informal, entertaining, and instructive.
Free Book -
For this month of October, anyone who signs up as a subscriber to this blog (you can sign up on the Home page), or to the Roundwood Press website/blog (which is the mother company of this web log) gets a free copy of the e-book Wine and Work in both Kindle and non-Kindle formats. (A positive review on Amazon would certainly be appreciated, but that’s up to you…) No, I won’t share your email or contact information with anyone else.