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The Internet Wine Sales Saga Continues

  For sometime now, those loyal followers of our website have read the diatribes “dissing” the inane liquor laws that prohibit shipping wines across state lines.  For those of you not in the know, only 13 states currently allow interstate wine shipping (for a map of the good and BAD states, go to, a site recommended by us with links from us).  I happen to live in a state where two governors have been removed from office and served time due to bribes (actually, Ted Agnew made it to Vice President of the United States before his conviction).  Yes, Maryland is controlled by the money and the money from the wholesaler industry has been proactive in seeing that a law was passed making it a FELONY to ship wine to someone from outside the state.  Therefore, when you travel to Napa and say that you would like wine shipped to your home in Maryland, the proprietors whip out a cross, wave it, and ask that any of the saints related to Wino Bob protect them from such a scourge who would risk the winery’s fortune on such a shipment.  Free the Grapes is an organization devoted to changing some of those stupid laws and maybe one day we’ll get rid of the excuse used in passing Maryland’s law (kids will order wine through the internet and avoid being carded.  Excuse me, kids have credit cards and can afford cases of Screaming Eagle?)

Anyway, I picked up an article the other day about another news making event that was covered by winostuff last year. was formally sold to eVineyard. had spent over $200 million in investment capital building their brand, growing their business and failed.  eVineyard has received only $20 million in investment capital thus far.  However, eVineyard has a different strategy.  EVineyard holds liquor licenses in 27 states so far, a strategy different than’s.  Holding a liquor license allows it to ship wine to customers in those states.  EVineyard does not maintain inventory (which is why’s inventory was sold.  Instead, EVineyard has arrangements with wholesalers in those 27 states.  EVineyard has 50 employees versus the 245 employed by the late,

The only other online retailer of well-capitalized note is is a cooperative web site featuring the wines of 50 partner wineries.  Evidently, they know a little bit about retailing because their average online purchase is $300 versus $100 for EVineyard.  We have featured other online retailers and have links to many.  Most of them are financed out of a labor of love and not $20 to $200 million.  One of them will eventually succeed.  Who will it be?  If you have a favorite, email me and we’ll profile them in a future article.


January 3, 2002



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