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.
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!