, the nation’s largest online retailer, may soon be selling wine. The trade publication Wine Industry Insight reported on its Web site late last month that Amazon is recruiting wineries in California’s Napa and Sonoma counties for a new effort at online wine sales to launch before the Christmas shopping season. The wineries will handle the actual shipping, with Amazon leveraging its power to obtain favorable shipping rates from UPS, the report said.

If Amazon succeeds, it could be a big blow to the traditional “three-tier” system that filters wine from producers through distributors to retailers. Direct-to-consumer shipping has chipped away at the system, helping wine lovers gain access to wines that can be hard to find otherwise. But progress has been fitful. A patchwork of regulations, fees and registrations established by various states lacks a clear national standard and makes compliance difficult. Maryland, for example, began allowing wineries to ship directly to its residents only last year.

For more, see: Is Amazon closer to solving the wine-shipping puzzle?