Navigating Amazon’s new wine-buying service

9 Nov

Big news yesterday, chicas y chicos. You can now order a bottle of Chardonnay with your next installment of 50 Shades of Sump’n Sump’n.

Amazon.com, purveyor of books, refrigerators, “edgy skirts,” tire chains, power tools, snorkeling gear and Meow Mix, is now selling vino. Which means you can one-stop-shop for a fridge to chill a bottle of wine while feeding your cat and reading “Hamlet” after driving in a blizzard wielding a chainsaw and rocking a diving mask and leather micro-mini.

But here’s the best news–you can shop for wine from the privacy of your own home without feeling the pressure to buy the super-expensive bottle or worse, being all alone in a grocery store aisle with hundreds of bottles and no idea what to get.

If you’re new to the wine world, Amazon’s selection tool makes choosing a wine as easy as uno-dos-tres. Using the left sidebar, you can select a wine by type (white, red, rosé, sparkling or dessert), grape variety, specialty (organic, kosher, and even vegan, among other categories), alcohol content, vintage (or year), brand, bottle size, professional rating, customer review, country and price.

Use the left sidebar for help when choosing a wine.

Because I love you all so much, I decided to take one for the team and assume the role of human guinea pig by  experiencing the wine ordering process on Amazon. I decided to start my search by country and clicked ‘Argentina.’ Twenty-four of 1,475 results popped up. Ay, ay, ay! Overwhelming.

From there, I narrowed it down by varietal grape and clicked on ‘Malbec,’ which yielded 569 results. The ‘brand’ category gave me an easy-to-navigate alphabetical list, where I found Bodega Norton, whose wines I’ve enjoyed in the past.

Clicking on the brand name was much like shopping for a book: You get a page with images of the different items–in this case, bottles of wine–and each item name links to a page with product information. I clicked on the 2008 Bodega Norton Malbec Reserva.

At a glance, I learned that this wine received 90 points from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Not too shabby! There were some very basic tasting notes, enough to give me a sense for what to expect: “Deep red color with hints of purple…notes of ripe black fruits, violets and tobacco.” Yes, please! Last but not least, a product spec chart listed alcohol content, country of origin, and other details that I already knew from previous descriptions, but it was useful to have all of that information in one place.

Here comes the annoying part…I went to add the wine to my cart, but saw that it was being sold on a different vendor’s website. So I clicked ‘visit this site’ and was whisked away to wine.com, where I discovered that the 2008 vintage was sold out, but I could buy the 2009 instead. DOH!

Ever the optimist, I went back to Amazon’s website and changed my search criteria to white, narrowed it down to the rare Gruner Veltliner grape, and selected the only  wine listed, a 2011 Dancing Coyote Gruner Veltliner from California. This one ships directly from the winery, but–Annoyance Alert!–you have to pay $9.99 in shipping for an $11.99 bottle of wine.

Because it was only day one, I decided to cut Amazon some slack. After all, the wine selection tool is very user- and novice-friendly. I will try another search in the coming weeks to see how things shake down. In the meantime, I’m considering ordering up a Veggie Tan Umbria Skirt to spice up the weekend. ¡Salud!

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10 Responses to “Navigating Amazon’s new wine-buying service”

  1. Ericka Sanchez (@NibblesNFeasts) November 9, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Now I love Amazon even more!! I didn’t know you could order wine on their site!

    • Pamela November 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Life just keeps getting better and better, Ericka! ¡Salud!

  2. Jai November 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    I love Amazon as it is but I definitely would be turned off by the shipping issue. I’m sure they will continue to work on the kinks though. I love my Reisling but I am not much of a wine connesiur (sp?) like you so it may be a bit overwhelming for me. :)

    • Pamela November 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Not at all, Jai! I think you’d find it pretty easy and definitely non-stressful to select wines on Amazon. Provided of course your selection is available. Thanks for reading!

  3. Dennis November 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Great blog. Thanks for the tip! After reading this I also saw the LA Times story on this too:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-amazon-wine-20121109,0,6285610.story

    • Pamela November 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Thanks, Dennis! I hadn’t seen the LAT story so I’ll check it out.

  4. Yvonne Condes November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Thank you for this! I didn’t know you could buy wine from Amazon now. I’ll have to check out and try to resist buying just by the cuteness of the bottle.

    • Pamela November 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      It’s totally okay to buy a wine with a cute label :-) What I loved about the Amazon service were the readily available tasting notes. That’s more than you get at a lot of wine shops or grocery stores.

  5. Presley's Pantry November 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    I love this new advantage…. shopping from home is dangerous enough, but now to be able to buy wine is awesome. What will Amazon think of next? I could use a nice glass of wine right about now. I guess I’ll let my fingers do the ordering and try not to get caught up in the skirt area, that micro leather mini sounds tempting. :)

  6. jameshansen November 10, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    Wow Senorita, I’ve gotta get my credit card out and get busy!! Thanks for the tip!!

    Senor Jim

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