Update: Last night, I asked Amazon to clarify the relationship between itself and an Oregon winemaker after I saw a blog post on Forbes.com with the headline "Amazon's First Wine, Called NEXT, Makes Its Debut."
The Amazon spokesperson pointed me to a press release, which stated that the new wine brand was "the first wine ever developed from conception to release with Amazon Wine." But 11 hours after publication, Amazon now says that the winery's press release was incorrect (it has now been updated) and that Amazon had no hand in the development of the wine; Amazon.com is simply a retail sales channel for the new wine brand at launch.
Here's the original story:
Trader Joe's has Two Buck Chuck. Amazon? A new wine label called Next with bottles costing $20, $30 and $40 a pop.
The company recently announced that it helped develop this new wine brand produced by King Vintners, a subsidiary of Oregon's King Estate Winery, and had started selling it on Amazon.com. In a press release, the new wine brand is described as "the first wine ever developed from conception to release with Amazon Wine."
Recode has asked an Amazon rep for details on the relationship between Amazon and King Vintners and I will update this story if I get feedback. In the meantime, it sounds as though Amazon has contracted with King to develop the wine on its behalf.
The new line includes a Pinot Gris for $20, a Red Blend for $30 and a Pinot Noir for $40 — not extravagant prices, but higher than I would expect for Amazon, which always is thinking about mass appeal. Amazon launched its online wine marketplace, Amazon Wine, in 2012, but this appears to be the first time it has helped create its own wine.
Private-label brands can help boost profit margins, in part because they typically don't require big marketing budgets to get them exposure in front of a retailer's own customers. Amazon sells private-label brands in product categories as varied as button-down shirts and snacks and could use Whole Foods stores to push some of these items.
Amazon also offers alcohol delivery in some cities in as little as one hour, in partnership with local shops through its Prime Now service.
—By Jason Del Rey, Recode.net.
CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.