on December 31, 2017, Amazon shut down its
Casemates will begin mid-to-late January
Writing in the Dallas News, Maria Kalkias reports that amazon.com's purchase of the more than three decades-old Texas-based Whole Foods Market has opened not one but two new opportunities.
The first opportunity is accorded to Amazon: its purchase of the Whole Foods Market came with a wine retailer’s license. The company can no longer sell directly from producer to consumer, which is why on December 31, 2017, Amazon shut down its Wine.Woot marketplace. Owning a retail license removes the headache of dealing with compliance issues online when selling direct from producer to consumer, and only a few states do not allow wine retail sales in grocery stores.
The second opportunity goes to Wine.Woot’s 2006 co-founders Matt and Dave Rutledge and David Studdert. Studdert is an expert in wine logistics and fulfillment; he co-founded Wine Country Connect (WCC) the same year. The Sonoma County-based WCC pioneered using modern software interfaces to assist domestic U.S. wineries in promoting and selling their wine Direct-to-Consumers (DtC) over the Internet and delivered throughout the country, especially to areas the wineries could not reach via the regular distribution network. As its wine consumer community grew online the site became a place for wine education and to share knowledge, as well as a place to trade wine.
WCC built a relationship with hundreds of wineries, which co-founders Rutledge and Studdert believe provides a perfect platform for their partnership to create a new venture out of Wine.Woot’s ashes, Casemates, to connect consumers directly with those wineries.
The Rutledge brothers operate an e-commerce experimental Website called Mediocre Laboratories (ML) through which Wine.Woot was devised (Matt Rutledge apparently infuses his sense of humor even in a company's name). To gauge whether the new Casemates site will have the juice to build a consumer base, ML turned to a Kickstarter campaign. As of January 3, 2018, the campaign attracted 1,627 investors and has more than doubled its $50,000 goal—about a week remains in the campaign.
According to Matt Rutledge, with only nine states opting out, as much as 92 percent of the U.S. population can legally receive DtC shipments. He expects Casemates will begin mid-to-late January with fresh wine deals offered to consumers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. For the best case discounts and shipping fees, another Casemates promise is that consumers will be able to share case orders online with others in proximity.
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