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Amazon to start selling wine?

A report suggests that in a matter of weeks Amazon will launch a wine marketplace. How very civilized.

Some of my Napa and Sonoma favorites. Soon to be delivered through Amazon? Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's a well-known hidden secret that online shopping is made more fluid by a glass of evening pinot noir.

Somehow, inhibitions subside and emotional -- that would be material -- needs are given full rein.

How clever, then, of Amazon to assist you in your online shopping comfort by offering you wine shipments to go with the books, movies, and 55-gallon tubs of personal lubricant it currently offers.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Amazon will be launching a wine marketplace in the next few weeks, one that will surely lift the spirits.

It seems that company executives were in Napa only this week, meeting with 100 different wineries and explaining the launch.

The meeting created some intrigue. Amazon's terms are reportedly 15 percent of sales, plus a $40 fee to join the marketplace.

My religious reading of Wine Industry Insight tells me that all the wineries attending the meeting signed nondisclosure agreements -- after which a couple of them may have offered a murmuring here or there. Perhaps a little local Cabernet was available at the meeting.

Naturally, working with the might of Amazon might allow for lower shipping fees for the wineries -- which will reportedly be responsible for arranging all the boxing and delivery.

I have contacted Amazon to ask whether it's true that this marketplace is about to occur and might even be active in time for the holiday season. I'll update this post with any new information.

The company did begin a venture in 2009 to sell and ship wine, but its partner entered troubled financial waters before the operation bore fruit.

Clearly, there are regulatory issues, as different states tend to have their own quirks when it comes to sales and delivery of one of nature's great inspirational soothers.

Prohibition did leave its scars.

As it happens, I was up in Napa earlier this week, to watch the grape crushing and, well, to expand my experience.

Calistoga winemaker Vincent Arroyo, Lava Vine's Joe Cabral, and Honig winery's Michael Honig all told me this year's harvest was excellent.

Perhaps they will soon have to expand their production to cope with a new burst of business thanks to Amazon's legendary smooth seductiveness -- one that is not unlike Lava Wine's quite mesmerizing port.