Amazon quietly rolls out an own brand wine range

Ecommerce giant Amazon has quietly rolled out an own brand range of “affordable” wines, called Compass Road, which launched in Germany earlier this month.

The six wines comprise a Pinot Grigio, a Merlot, Chardonnay, Grenache Rosé, Dornfelder and Riesling, which are available to Amazon Prime members and retail for 19.99 euros for all six lines.

The company said the offer will be expanded over time, and follows the company’s first foray into own-label spirits, which launched last month with Tovess Gin.

Amazon has a somewhat checkered relationship with wine, having tried to establish wine retail three times since investing around $30 million in a failed wine venture with Wineshopper.com. It pulled the plug on a wine-selling site prior to launch in 2009, and later launched Amazon Wine as a marketplace for wineries in 2012.

However, in October 2017 it announced it would axe its dedicated wine marketing arm, Amazon Wine, in the US, only three months after launching its first exclusive range of wines, made by King Vintners. It said it would step up its wine retailing through other outlets instead, such as its Amazon Fresh and Prime Now  channels, as well as through Whole Foods Markets, which it acquired in June 2017

Earlier this year, the Californian liquor authority dropped an investigation into a potential breach of the online giant’s liquor licence for its “secret” wine shop in LA, following an expose by Wine-Searcher. The retailer has a number of licences for first bricks and mortar shops solely selling liquor, LA and in San Francisco, which enable it to offer booze delivery to local Amazon Prime Now customers.

Other ventures Amazon has undertaken include a sommelier service, giving customers expert wine advice over the phone.

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