Dec 062012
wine blogWinestyr and Amazon Wine Marketplace – A Comparative Review

So what is a “Wine Marketplace?” Think of the Marketplace like a Farmer’s Market for wine lovers and craft winemakers…with one simple checkout experience. This is the term being applied to a few websites where smaller boutique wineries can go to sell their craft wines directly to the public, bypassing the outdated and monopolistic three-tier distributor system. The Marketplace serves as a go-between by conveniently taking the orders, even for multiple wineries, in one easily navigated spot.

How does this differ from online wine sellers? The Wine Marketplace does not sell the wine. The wine actually comes to the buyer from the winery. The Wine Marketplace simply serves as a portal to bring wine lovers and winemakers together. Many of the wines found in the Marketplace are smaller production, unique and artistic craft wines you may not find in your local retailer.

To date, there are two main Wine Marketplaces Amazon Wine and Winestyr. They both have similar business models. The winery pays a subscription price to the site and a percentage of the online sales. In both cases the wines are priced very close to, if not exactly the same as they are at the winery website. The sites may offer promotions on certain wines when the opportunity arises. Both offer better shipping prices than you will often get from the winery itself. Wine shipping can get quite expensive. The few wines found on both Amazon Wine and Winestyr appear to have similar if not identical pricing.

Let’s look at some specifics

Amazon Wine offers over 100 wineries to choose from, including some of my personal favorite boutique wineries like Ceja Vineyards and Roadhouse Winery. There are offerings from larger wineries as well. The downside is that today, Amazon Wine only ships to 12 states plus D.C.. They charge $10 shipping per order/per winery for up to six bottles. If you order one bottle of Ceja’s Vino de Casa Red Blend the shipping cost is $10 and the same $10 for up to six bottles. Order from six bottles from two wineries or a case (12 bottles) from one winery and the shipping cost is $20. On a side note, I found some of the the wine descriptions lacking with little if any information on the winery or winemaker, others were more complete. Amazon does allow customer reviews and ratings.

Winestyr started out a few years ago as a boutique winery discounter, much in the same vein a Groupon. You would buy a $100 coupon that could be redeemed for $175 worth of wine on the winery website. As of December 4th, they moved to the Wine Marketplace model. The differences are these.

1. Winestyr has a smaller offering of 16 hand-picked wineries with more coming online. Two of my favorites from Winestyr are Wine Guerilla and Monticello Vineyards.

2. Most Winestyr wineries will ship to all states that allow direct winery shipments… put your zip code in the box and your offerings will be limited to those wineries that can ship directly to your locale.

3. The wine descriptions are more detailed and offer interesting background pieces on the winery. However, there are no ratings or reviews. Winestyr assures “excellent scores” and states “Rest assured, we’ve tasted everything we put on our site, and it’s all good.”

4. Shipping from Winestyr can be a better deal than Amazon Wines. Winestyr will ship from up to three wineries in one order, for $10. Order $200 or more and shipping is almost free, 1¢. They also offer a 1¢ shipping incentive to try a new winery (minimum $50 order).

Both Amazon Wine and Winestyr offer a unique opportunity to experience boutique craft wines you might not easily find and have them shipped to you, directly from the winery.

Isn’t wine exploration one of the best parts of the whole craft wine experience…Of course it is!

Try these Wine Marketplace sites soon, and bask in the passion that comes from small, family and artisan wineries.

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