Jeff Stai (El Jefe) of Twisted Oak met with Amazon representatives last Thursday, and here is his report (left as a comment on a previous Amazon-related post):
OK, so I am reporting back Sunday (just back from a very successful two-day tasting event with the TAPAS organization.)
Pretty much everything has been covered by other comments in the several posts on this. They are going for smaller wineries, and the wines will sell for a minimum of $12. The winery commits to selling the wine, Amazon comes and picks up the wine and deals with everything else - including compliance paperwork, shipping problems, etc.
Fans of the Amazon Prime program will be pleased to know that Prime will also apply to wine shipping - and only a two-bottle minumum order! [Yippee! - Editor]
It won't be 45 states but rather 27 states in the initial rollout. One possible barrier to entry for some wineries is that the winery must pay all regulatory fees for label registration in those 27 states (Amazon estimates that to be about $400 per label.) That is a startup cost and the yearly renewals will be less. Amazon does the paperwork. Note also that if a winery is already registered in a state, another registration must be done since it is a new 3-tier path. And, a winery must commit to all states that Amazon will ship to - you can't pick and choose states.
Thanks, Jeff. You're the best. One question: How do wineries who want to participate in this program get in touch with Amazon? Or is it "Don't call us, we'll call you?"