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Heads up, wine lovers!
Amazon's wine store, Amazon Wine will close down at the end of this year. The service, which launched in 2012, allows wineries and other retailers to sell through Amazon's online storefront to customers in about 30 states. Currently, users can sort and shop for wines by style, varietal, country of origin, average customer review and other categories.
According to TechCrunch, Amazon ran up against several regulatory challenges since "existing laws make it difficult for Amazon to sell alcohol as a retailer and operate a marketplace." Amazon's recent acquisition of Whole Foods, which sells wine in some locations, also complicates the issue. However, Amazon has already begun selling wine through its own Prime Now and Amazon Fresh delivery services.
Wine consultant Leslie Sbrocco, author of the "Simple & Savvy Wine Guide," told TODAY Food that she's not surprised Amazon Wine is closing. "It’s been a stop-and-start effort for Amazon Wine to launch and though there are some world class wines available, the selections, overall, are limited."
She says she believes the online giant will turn its focus to its own wine sales and delivery, rather than operate a marketplace for others. “With the acquisition of Whole Foods, who have built a world-class wine program in their stores, Amazon is poised to be a power player in wine," Sbrocco added. Delivery will be a key part of that power play, she said.
"Consumers now want top quality brands that can be purchased easily and served up quickly.”
The good news for winos is that the marketplace is still open now — and there are some great deals you can score before its scheduled closing on Dec. 31. Despite Amazon Wine's somewhat limited selection, Sbrocco says that with just a quick scan of the site, she was able to find several great deals on wines you might not find readily in a shop.
Here are four wines that grabbed Sbrocco's attention, including two for $15 or less, plus three more fun wines that caught our eye.
2016 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg, $15, Amazon
Sbrocco says this refreshing California white wine would be wonderful with a variety of chicken dishes— and it's affordable enough for weeknight dinners.
Cameron Hughes Lot 559 2015 Lodi Zinfandel, $14, Amazon
This peppery, jammy and well-priced red was released in a small batch, so you might want to act fast on this Sbrocco suggestion.
2012 Iron Horse Vineyards Estate Russian Cuvee Sparkling Wine 750 mL, $44, Amazon
Sbrocco says this American sparkling wine is great for Turkey Dy, Christmas and all your holiday celebrations.
2014 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, $45, Amazon
This standout wine — another Sbrocco pick — would make a great gift for the wine connoisseur in your life. According to the winemaker, it will continue to develop for up to 25 years or more if cellared properly.
Game Of Thrones 2015 Red Blend, Paso Robles, $20, Amazon
We're clearly not the only ones inspired to drink by HBO's "Game of Thrones," as this red from Paso Robles is the most wished for wine on Amazon Wine. Get ready to watch some reruns and toast the Stark sisters in style.
2013 Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux Red Wine, $15, Amazon
You can have a lot of fun sorting wine by various categories on Amazon Wine, and you're sure to turn up some gems — like this $15 Washington red with a rating of 90 ("outstanding") from Wine Spectator.
La Marca DOC Veneto Prosecco Sparkling Wine Mini Bottles, $120 for 24, Amazon
Planning a party? This 24-pack of mini sparkling wines lets everyone enjoy their very own bottle of bubbly.