Less than a month after buying organic grocery giant Whole Foods for $17.5 billion, Amazon announced Oregon’s King Estate Winery has established a new division, King Vintners, to make wines from the Pacific Northwest especially for the world’s largest Internet retailer.
The first of five brands to be launched by King Vintners is NEXT, which made its debut June 28 on amazonwine.com, the companies said. NEXT is the first wine to be developed from conception to release with Amazon Wine. The website is giving it prime real estate at the top of the opening home page.
“Amazon Wine provides a convenient destination for customers to shop a vast selection of high-quality and every-day wine brands,” Amazon Wine’s Nick Loeffler said. “We’re thrilled to connect wineries like King Estate with millions of customers and give them an innovative format to launch new brands.”
The Winemaker–Customer Connection
“As the Kings see it, the venture is a return to an earlier time when there was a direct connection between winemaker and customer. When people lived in the same village, the wines and cuisine developed together,” said Ed King III, who with his father, the late Ed King Jr. founded the 600-acre estate more than 25 years ago.
“Today that direct link is at risk of being lost. We’re launching NEXT on Amazon to re-establish the connection between winemaker and wine lover in today’s ‘digital village,’” King said.
NEXT is offering Pinot Gris ($20), Red Blend ($30) and Pinot Noir ($40), and is available on Amazon and eventually on kingvintners.com. Initial production is 1,500 cases of each varietal. King Vintners plans to add four more brands to its lineup, each representing a different wine-growing region from which KV sources its fruit.