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 www.freethegrapes.org,
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?)
picked up an article the other day about another news making event that was
covered by winostuff last year. Wine.com
was formally sold to eVineyard. Wine.com
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 wine.com’s. Holding
a liquor license allows it to ship wine to customers in those states.
EVineyard does not maintain inventory (which is why wine.com’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, wine.com.
The only other
online retailer of well-capitalized note is winetasting.com.
Winetasting.com 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