New Winery-Direct Website Aims to Fill an E-Commerce Void
The people behind Wine.Woot, which Amazon purchased in 2010, are trying to save this wine-selling model.
The old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” However, for modern startup types, a more fitting phrase might be, “If at first you do succeed, and sell to Amazon for millions, but then Amazon mucks it up, why not try, try again and see if you can strike gold twice?” That appears to be the plan of the team behind Woot, an early success story in the world of direct online wine sales that’s hoping to fill a void created in the aftermath of the closure of Amazon Wine, a service they were instrumental in building.
A bit of backstory: Woot’s wine selling offshoot, Wine.Woot, was launched in 2006, becoming a go-to site for consumers looking to buy wine directly from wineries, and vice versa, a popular platform for wineries looking to reach more wine lovers. In 2010, Amazon scooped up the whole company for a cool $110 million and integrated Wine.Woot into its own direct producer-to-consumer wine marketplace, Amazon Wine. However, as you might recall, this past October, Amazon announced that it would be shuttering Amazon Wine, a move seen as a necessary regulatory move in the wake of the online retailer’s Whole Foods buyout. “That one hurts a little,” wrote Woot founder Matt Rutledge. “Because it was our baby.”
But Rutledge and some of his original Wine.Woot team have come up with a solution: launch what could kind of be seen as Wine.Woot 2.0. Rutledge took to Kickstarter to announce Casemates – “a wine community site with direct vineyard deals.”
“We pioneered the winery-direct retail model for wine fans to buy online, from winemakers, with no middlemen…. So no one’s better positioned than we are to step in and rescue it from extinction,” Rutledge states in the Kickstarter campaign. “On Casemates, you’ll find fresh wine deals three times a week (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), and we’ll be building tools to let you share by-the-case orders with other users near you for better deals than ever.”
Proving that Wine.Woot still has its devotees, Casemates has already blown through its $50,000 Kickstarter goal, eclipsing $100,000 in pledges with eight days left to go. Remaining rewards include a ticket to the Casemates launch party or a “remote launch party pack” filled with food and beverages for three. But regardless of whether you’re interested in chipping in funds at this point, based on Woot’s previous success, Casemates would seem like a service to keep an eye on in 2018.