Amazon has expanded distribution of its new own-label range of wines, into the UK, following their launch in Germany last month – but it will cost UK consumers almost twice as much.
The six-strong wine range, which are now available in the UK, comprise a Pinot Grigio, a Merlot, Chardonnay, Grenache Rosé, Dornfelder and Riesling – however the wines in the UK retail for £35.99 for all six bottle, compared to 19.99 euros in the German market.
The price differential can primarily be attributed to the difference in UK taxation, with UK consumers charged £2.23 a bottle duty, plus VAT. According to industry expert Gavin Quinney, 61% of a £5 bottle of wine is tax (£2.23 duty plus 83p VAT = £3.06), with the average price of a bottle of wine in the UK reported to be £5.68, according to the latest data from the WSTA (source: Nielsen, as at late Sept 2018)
The UK is the fifth most expensive country to buy alcohol in EU, recent data found, around 29% above the EU average, or 40% more than Germany.
The company said the range will be expanded over time, with Amazon Prime members able to receive their wine order on a one-day delivery, although there is also an option to choose a ‘subscribe and save’ option for regular shipments for £34.19.
The move follows Amazon’s first foray into own-label spirits, which launched last month with Tovess Gin.
Amazon has tried to establish itself as a wine retailer three times, notably investing around $30 million in a failed wine venture with Wineshopper.com, pulling the plug on a wine-selling website prior to launch in 2009, before launching launched Amazon Wine as a marketplace for wineries in 2012. However, it axed its dedicated wine marketing arm, Amazon Wine, in the US in 2017, announcing it would focus on retailing wine through other outlets instead, such as its Amazon Fresh and Prime Now channels, as well as through Whole Foods Markets, which it acquired early that year.