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Amazon.com: Earth's Biggest Wine Cellar? 118

Posted by timothy
from the herzliche-glueckwunsch dept.
theodp writes "Ever get carded by your FedEx guy? You will. Several writers at GeekWire had just unboxed, uncorked and polished off their first bottle of Amazon wine, only to have their buzz killed by the need to cover Steven Sinofsky's unexpected exit from Microsoft. With the caveat that per-order shipping charges will discourage those watching their pennies from ordering single bottles of inexpensive wine, GeekWire gave the overall Amazon wine buying experience a thumbs-up." Since Amazon-owned Woot's been selling wine for a while, it may be a stretch to call it new for Amazon, but their main site is known to many more people.
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Amazon.com: Earth's Biggest Wine Cellar?

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  • Seriously?!
    • by suso (153703) *

      "Ever get carded by your FedEx guy? You will."

      And the company that will do it for you is AT&T.

    • Seriously?!

      He is serious, and don't call him Shir- whoops. I might have jumped the gun on that one.

    • by Tarlus (1000874)

      Ya srsly.

    • Hey, consider this: Amazon may be setting itself up to be the legit Silk Road for recreational cannabis. Think about it! Home growers could have a retail channel that includes the entire US, dragging the industry into legitimacy. Talk about a grass-roots movement... With the new laws in Colorado and Washington, there will be a market starting in January.

      Now, no one at Amazon has even suggested such a thing (as far as I know), but I found it an interesting coincidence that this wine-selling program started

      • You put your weed in it.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Now, no one at Amazon has even suggested such a thing (as far as I know), but I found it an interesting coincidence that this wine-selling program started to make headlines in a big way immediately on the heels of the election. Even if it isn't intentional, this would be (or rather, WILL be) a massive revenue stream for the first company to offer such a service, and Amazon will have this wine business experience to work out the kinks in state-by-state deliveries.

        So you don't think that Amazons' s massive worldwide book delivery service will have given them quite a good idea about loistics and distribution already?

        There's nothing magical about shipping pot: if it's only legal in States A and B then you only ship it to states A and B.

  • Not in Alabama (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:54AM (#41990873)

    Alcohol is a state run for profit monopoly here. Buy it from the state or not at all. They even have special state run stores here. Shipping alcohol can get you jail time.

    • Re:Not in Alabama (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jythie (914043) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:00AM (#41990921)
      Pennsylvania is the same way. Every election cycle they talk about privatizing.. and every time it quietly gets shelves for, publicly, some moralistic reason.. but privately I suspect they just really do not want to give up the power, and the PA liqueur institution is pretty powerful (not to mention corrupt).
      • Power? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think it's more about revenue.

        There's nothing more appealing to a politician that a revenue stream to buy votes - either with entitlements, subsidies (business or otherwise) or tax cuts.

        • by jythie (914043)
          Eh, all the proposals that have been floated were pretty revenue neutral or would have even resulted in a greater net income for the state. Taxes and license fees are an easy way to get the same income stream, but with less overhead and risk for the state.
        • I think that's what he meant by corrupt.

          • by jythie (914043)
            On the personal level yeah.. though that is less 'revenue' and more 'perks and kickbacks'. There is a small group tasked with deciding which items get stocked in PA and which do not, so if you want into the massive market you have to convince these people your brand deserves it....
      • Re:Not in Alabama (Score:4, Interesting)

        by darjen (879890) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:49AM (#41991367)

        I am from Ohio and I visit friends in PA ocasionally. I used to buy a case of Yuengling and bring it back with me. Although we have our own dumb alcohol laws here, I think PA really does take the cake as far as ridiculous regulation goes.

        • by jythie (914043)
          We actually have cops that sit in NJ watching stores on the boarder for PA license plates, and follow you back across the bridges.. so at least on the eastern side they do not even let you patronize other state's stores if they can stop you.
        • Couldnt agree with you more.. try getting a bottle of Everclear here... (From Wikipedia) Consumers may legally purchase Everclear in Pennsylvania but must first obtain a permit for it and agree that it shall not be consumed as beverage alcohol and shall not be furnished for any reason to another person
          • by tehcyder (746570)

            Couldnt agree with you more.. try getting a bottle of Everclear here... (From Wikipedia) Consumers may legally purchase Everclear in Pennsylvania but must first obtain a permit for it and agree that it shall not be consumed as beverage alcohol and shall not be furnished for any reason to another person

            In Britain, people who are that fucking desperate just drink meths or white spirit.

      • Re:Not in Alabama (Score:5, Informative)

        by kiwimate (458274) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:25AM (#41992397) Journal

        Pennsylvania is insane. I moved here 12 years ago from New Zealand and even today it still amazes me that we have these silly and anachronistic laws.

        PA wines and spirits shops sell from the same catalog. It means it's all the same price. (Many years ago, before I knew better, I went into a shop and asked about a case discount. The shop clerk didn't understand what I meant.)

        That price, by the way, includes an 18% tax known as the Johnstown Flood Tax [cbslocal.com]. (Short version: a city of 30,000 was wiped out in 1936 by a flood. 76 years later, every time you buy a bottle of wine or scotch or gin in Pennsylvania, you're still paying for Johnstown to be rebuilt.)

        Recently, an amazingly innovative push in the Liquor Control Board has allowed some supermarkets to sell wine. (This is sarcasm.) They are still wine and spirits shops, so you go into a separate room and check out separately from the assistants who ring up your groceries. One wonders why they even bothered.

        A wine and liquor store cannot sell beer. A beer distributor sells beer by the case. You must buy a complete case. If you go to a specialized store (e.g. a deli that is licensed), you can buy by the six-pack - but only two. My wife and I once went to a local deli to buy three six-packs. The clerk rang us up and told my wife to walk out with one six-pack, then for me to follow her five seconds later with the other two. If we walked out together with all three six-packs, we'd be breaking the law.

        It's incredibly backwards. There was a case some time ago (2010? 2011?) which claimed that the law against shipping wine into PA (and for some other states) was discriminatory and the state had to treat PA wine makers & external wine makes with the same regulations. I forget what the outcome was - I think you now can order directly from the winery, but only if they've been approved by the state.

        • by JoeRobe (207552)

          I'm originally from PA, and I couldn't agree with you more. I'm proud of a lot of things about PA (like Yuengling), but it has some really antiquated laws. I went to college in Pittsburgh, and every time we had a party on Saturday night, at 11:45p we would run out to the beer distributor and get another half-barrel, because once the clock struck 12, they couldn't sell any more.

          I currently live in CT, and when I moved here I was completely floored by the fact that the supermarket had a whole aisle for beer

          • NJ has its own fair share of quirkiness. Chain stores are only allowed to have 2 locations in the state that can sell alcohol (I think this only applies to things like supermarkets, not dedicated liquor store chains). So places like C-Stores and Supermarkets are usually dry. There are at least two 7-Elevens and Trader Joes in the state that do sell alcohol though. There aren't any restrictions otherwise, a liquor store can sell anything including 190 proof Everclear. Municipalities control the number of liq
            • by JoeRobe (207552)

              Yeah I vaguely remember when I was a kid going to Ocean City in the summers and hearing my dad complain about OC being a dry town. He always had to run to the next town over to go pick up beer.

      • Pennsylvania is the same way. Every election cycle they talk about privatizing.. and every time it quietly gets shelves for, publicly, some moralistic reason.. but privately I suspect they just really do not want to give up the power, and the PA liqueur institution is pretty powerful (not to mention corrupt).

        Enjoy it while it lasts. Washington had state sales and they went private. The prices the private stores charge you is the same the state stores do on most liquors (bottom and mid shelf) and that is before the additional taxes. If you like the good stuff, you can expect the private stores to charge you two to three times what the state stores did before the additional 30% taxes (20% liquor + ~10% sales), but that's only if you can find them in the stores as most don't have any sort of selection.

    • Alcohol is a state run for profit monopoly here. Buy it from the state or not at all. They even have special state run stores here. Shipping alcohol can get you jail time.

      you're right and you're wrong.

      Alabama, like a lot of states, is a 3 tier alcohol state - producer, wholesaler, retailer. Direct shipping of alcoholic beverages is prohibited by law.

      *Liquor* is a state run monopoly. Fermented beverages are not part of this monopoly.

      • by darjen (879890)

        I think Alabama has an absurdly low abv limit for beer, if I remember correctly. something like 5 or 6 %.

        • I think Alabama has an absurdly low abv limit for beer, if I remember correctly. something like 5 or 6 %.

          nope. 13.9%.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            I think Alabama has an absurdly low abv limit for beer, if I remember correctly. something like 5 or 6 %.

            nope. 13.9%.

            There is no sensible beer that is 13.9% ABV. Even Carlsberg Special Brew is only 9%. Or do you have a different system for measuring in the US?

            • I think Alabama has an absurdly low abv limit for beer, if I remember correctly. something like 5 or 6 %.

              nope. 13.9%.

              There is no sensible beer that is 13.9% ABV. Even Carlsberg Special Brew is only 9%. Or do you have a different system for measuring in the US?

              there's plenty craft breweries producing double digit ABV beers. Heck, Samichlaus from Austria is 14%. Barleywines routinely hit nearly 11%, Imperial Stouts run from 8% to nearly 20%. Sam Adams Utopias is 27%. Brewdog hit 51% with their "End of History" Icebock.

              So, yes - there are plenty of "sensible" beers (i.e. not malt liquor, stuff which is actually worth drinking) in double digit ABV.

        • by pwizard2 (920421)
          It used to, before the Free the Hops [freethehops.org] people got involved.
    • by Gunnut1124 (961311) <(rowdy.vinson) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:37AM (#41991259)
      Last time we let you people transport alcohol you invented NASCAR and we are NOT going to let that happen again.
      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        Last time we let you people transport alcohol you invented NASCAR and we are NOT going to let that happen again.

        America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed. -Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936

        The Germans invented amphetamines in time for WWII, but I didn't know about Eleanor.

    • Re:Not in Alabama (Score:5, Informative)

      by T5 (308759) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:05AM (#41992153)

      Not in Tennessee either. We have a rich history of insane alcohol laws and political opposition. For example, a former Speaker of the House, Ned Ray McWherter, who owned a beer distributorship at the time, cleverly crafted the tax schedules for keg beer to exclude, for example, Guinness, which came in an odd-sized keg compared to the domestics which McWherter's distributorship sold. No tax schedule for that size meant that it was not legal to sell here. IIRC it was about a decade after his tenure before the tax schedules were amended to allow for other sizes of kegs.

      Even today a liquor license is required to sell beer > 6% ABV. This, of course, applies to wine as well. This means that we get nothing but the low gravity beers in our grocery stores and no wine at all. And the prices at the liquor stores for high gravity beer (what little you can find) and wine are much higher as a result than, for example, in Georgia. Grocery chains like Trader Joe's and Publix are just now making inroads into our great state, largely because of the lunacy of restricted alcohol sales.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Alcohol is a state run for profit monopoly here. Buy it from the state or not at all. They even have special state run stores here. Shipping alcohol can get you jail time.

      Funny enough, in BC the government WANTED to privatize alcohol distribution. They wanted to get out of the liquor distribution business and sell the warehouses and stores.

      Problem? The other province that did (Alberta) experienced HIGHER prices from the privatized distribution and lower selection.

      Naturally, everyone complained about that an

      • by Russ1642 (1087959)
        We have huge selection in Alberta, and our drinking age is only 18. We've got a few liquor stores in Edmonton and Sherwood Park that are absolutely huge (like a small WalMart). There's a great beer store in Edmonton, Sherbrooke Liquor, that's got the largest selection of beer you'll ever see. Costco, for example, has liquor stores attached to their normal stores. There are liquor stores on every street corner and they're open all the time so you don't have to worry about not being able to get drunk on a hol
    • Washington was like that. We voted, and after three times (not sure why it took three votes, but I'm happy it did finally pass) and got rid of it. Now I can buy Liquor at Wal*Mart and the corner pharmacy!

      Nothing like curing a headache with a fifth of Jack! I think it ultimately costs more due to new taxes and whatnot, but it's worth it for me to be able to buy it wherever (and state stores (around me) weren't open on Sunday! Now I can buy 7 days a week) and whenever.

    • by ppz003 (797487)
      Utah is probably the worst in the US

      ABV > 4.0+% sold in state-controlled stores only. State-controlled stores close on Sundays and cease operations no later than 10 p.m. the rest of the week. Restaurants must buy from the state-controlled store (no delivery) at retail prices. No alcohol may be served on Election Day until 8 p.m. No alcohol is served in restaurants without purchase of food. A ban on 4.0% or below beer available on tap was repealed in March 2009. Sales of kegs prohibited.

      http://en.wiki [wikipedia.org]
  • Ad? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:57AM (#41990893)

    ... is there a story here? Or is this just an ad for something?

    • Re:Ad? (Score:5, Funny)

      by tgd (2822) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:05AM (#41990961)

      ... is there a story here? Or is this just an ad for something?

      Everything on Slashdot is either an ad, an anti-something rantfest designed to whip up their base to view more ads, or (in a more meta sense) an ad designed to whip up their base to complain about ads (like this) all while seeing ads.

      That's Slashdot. The key is to tune out the noise to get the occasional interesting signal. Or to play the "lets go trolling and see if we can be subtle enough to get modded up for it!" game.

      • by ameoba (173803)

        I'm sort of surprised that the $10/bottle shipping cost didn't trigger a rantfest.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      It's certainly not news. I've had to show picture ID for years now, for my packages containing Swedish snus.
      They are not allowed to leave them with anyone under the age of 21.

      This seems like someone just stumbled onto existing laws from the wrong end of the bottle, so to speak, and vented their surprise. And, as usual, the editors (and I use the term loosely) here didn't bother to check.

    • Depends on if Amazon can ship to all 50 states.

      My parents would go to wineries, order a few cases, have them shipped to my house, then I would bring the cases to them next time I saw them, because no winery could ship to South Carolina.

      Maybe now, old Republicans can get drunk even quicker.

      • Yeah, I'd say the real story here is that Amazon decided to enter the alcohol sales business (starting with wine). This is big because of the byzantine laws around each state regarding alcohol, not to mention the three tier system in place (producer, distributors, retailers). Other big companies haven't touched this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-tier_(alcohol_distribution) [wikipedia.org]

        Amazon has tried three times now to do this, each time has met resistance from lobbyists, or have failed to get the shipping in
  • most of the time they just drop and run with out waiting for any one they are independent contractors payed per package.

    • I wouldn't expect that in this case. FedEx knows who delivers what. They could be liable for providing alcohol to minors, if that particular package gets in the wrong hands. Not to mention the possibility of lawsuits, etc.
    • There's a particular nasty level of service you can expect from major delivery companies... Signature From Adult Required
      • quoting from the FEDEX website
        "Shipment facts section:
        The Shipment Facts section will display important information about your shipment such as service type, signature services, pieces, weight, reference information, etc. For detailed FedEx Services information and delivery commitments, refer to the FedEx Service Guide at fedex.com. If the shipper requires a delivery signature, the signature type will display here, including:..
        Adult Signature Required: FedEx obtains a signature

  • by bhartman34 (886109) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:05AM (#41990957)
    You have to be 21 to buy alcohol. Why wouldn't you get carded?
    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      You have to be 21 to buy alcohol. Why wouldn't you get carded?

      A convenience store requires ID for alcohol, tobacco and lottery purchases with no exceptions. People come from miles around just to get carded.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And yet you can get married at 16. You people have your priorities so arse backwards it's amazing you survive.

      • And yet you can get married at 16. You people have your priorities so arse backwards it's amazing you survive.

        In most jurisdictions in the U.S., marriage under the age of 18 requires parental consent. The marrying age being lower than the drinking age has at least one benefit: You're less likely to show up drunk for your wedding. ;)

        I think it's much more of a scandal that the driving age is lower than the drinking age. I would rather kids get some experience with alcohol's effects (moreso than just sneaking alcohol from their parents' liquor cabinet) before they started driving. It seems like a bad idea to

        • And yet you can get married at 16. You people have your priorities so arse backwards it's amazing you survive.

          In most jurisdictions in the U.S., marriage under the age of 18 requires parental consent. The marrying age being lower than the drinking age has at least one benefit: You're less likely to show up drunk for your wedding. ;) I think it's much more of a scandal that the driving age is lower than the drinking age. I would rather kids get some experience with alcohol's effects (moreso than just sneaking alcohol from their parents' liquor cabinet) before they started driving. It seems like a bad idea to me to have kids driving around without experience of how alcohol can affect them if they decide to get behind the wheel.

          How old do you have to be to buy and carry a handgun in the US?

  • How will the wine taste after spending time in the searing heat of a truck in a Texas summer?
    • Shouldn't be an issue, because they don't ship to Texas. :)
    • Woot! has no problem doing it, I don't see why Amazon wouldn't be able to do the same.

      Woot! Summertime Shipping [woot.com]

    • While visiting scenic Austin, Texas, we left a corked bottle of bourbon (gift wrapped) on the back seat of a rental car in a parking lot on scenic Burnet Road. When we came out later, the cork had been blown off, the bottle was half empty, and the rental car smelled like, well, you know.

      We started driving with the air conditioner on, but had to open the windows, because we were getting buzzed. It would have been a hoot and a half, if we had gotten stopped by a cop: "Have you guys been drinking . . . ?"

  • by theodp (442580) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:24AM (#41991127)
    • Yep. Looks like they're covering all their bases. :)
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Do they really expect delivery drivers to check ID? Half the time you can't even get them to knock on your door.

      • Yes – they will check. My wife signed us up for a month of the wine club once – both of us work at locations that did not accept deliveries – so we had to trek out to the warehouse to pick up the wine. We did not sign up again.

        • by jittles (1613415)

          Yes – they will check. My wife signed us up for a month of the wine club once &ndash

          Sounds like you're still enjoying that wine of the month ;)

      • With alcohol, they will indeed wait at your door for you to show some ID, and they have billed the shipper accordingly. UPS at least will make three attempts, waiting each time, and absolutely ignoring any notes saying 'please leave with my neighbor' because that is a know vector for kids trying to get some booze.

        About the only thing that was controlled more strictly than wine were the thousands of envelopes known to contain tickets to a big college football bowl game.

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