Shopping for wine at Costco?

Should You Shop For Wine At Costco?

When the time comes to make a wine purchase, which options come to mind? Do you think of your local wine shop or your local liquor store, or maybe a large online retailer? Your options are varied and more extensive than you might think. Today I want to highlight one option you may have never considered or even knew existed. That place is Costco.

Costco is now the world’s largest wine vendor. Yes, the largest in the world. Costco sold just under 1.5 billion dollars (1.46 to be exact) worth of wine in 2013! But what makes it such a great place to buy wine?

caymus napa valley at costco veuve-clicquot at Costco Alamos Malbec at Costco Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc at Costco

Click here for our Comprehensive Guide to Costco Wine Prices!

While you might not initially think of Costco as a great place to shop for wine, I would advise you reconsider with this in mind: In my opinion Costco is more of a place to find daily drinkers, to stock up for parties and for gift wines that will have that instantly recognizable label.

I would not recommend Costco if you’re looking to find that hidden gem from a lesser known but equally, if not better, producer. If you’re living in a state like Florida or Virginia whose laws allow for beer and wine to be sold in grocery stores, then you will find a wine selection at your local Costco.

Big Brands, Costco Prices

If you’re looking to buy highly commercial wines with broad brand recognition like Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc, Alamos Malbec, or the popular Apothic Red Blend, Costco has it and they have hard to beat pricing. Surely their low frills low overhead approach to sales combined with their tremendous purchasing power has something to do with this.

They even carry a selection of high end splurge wines which seems to vary most from location to location. I have seen wines such as Merryvale’s Profile, Joseph Phelps’ Ingisnia, Dom Perignon and some venerable Bordeaux’s to name a few.

Costco WineAmong the more recent great finds I have enjoyed from Costco include:

Costco Wine

Kirkland Signature Program

A unique and somewhat surprising benefit that comes with shopping at Costco is the ability to purchase their own label of wine, called Kirkland Signature. Costco wine, you might ask? Have I lost you yet? Please, allow me to elaborate. Consider this situation: You are a well known winery with a solid wine-making reputation. You find yourself with either too much wine, or you have a somewhat inferior crop that doesn’t quite make the cut for your ‘grand vin’, or top bottling.

As I see it, your options are to bottle and discount your wine or to produce the wine under a second label. Many wineries want to avoid cheapening or diluting their brand, so some of them turn to Costco’s wine program and sell their wine to them. Costco bottles and markets the wine under their own label: Kirkland Signature.

I have tried several examples of Costco’s wine and I think they are usually well made and represent a great value, from the Kirkland Champagne to the Kirkland Rutherford Meritage. If you can get past the not so attractive label and focus on what’s inside, I think you might find yourself impressed with the quality of these wines.

The Perks of Costco Wine Shopping Continue

Another added benefit of shopping for wine at Costco is that if you need free wine crates or boxes they almost always have plenty and are happy for you to take some off of their hands. But one thing that they won’t do is give you a discount when you purchase a case, as they are already selling the wine at the best possible price.

Would I prefer to shop at my local wine shop where hidden treasures abound and I have the expertise of the wine-loving employees at my disposal? Yes. But will I pay more for this luxury? More than likely.

So if you were already going to be picking up a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne, why not get it at a great price? For that reason, I think that the Costco Wine Section has its place, just don’t forget about your local wine shop as they too can be an under appreciated resource and need our support to stay in business.

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24 thoughts on “Shopping for wine at Costco?

  1. Adam

    Shopping at Costco definitely doesn’t have the ambience of a local wine shop but I agree that they make up for that with some pretty amazing wine discounts.

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  20. Rick B

    My first Costco wine experience was in Tokyo of all places. It was 2004, we were on our monthly Costco run and I see for the first time Kirkland wine. I had to laugh, it was just too ridiculous. Then I noticed two things. Firstly it was an Aussie Shiraz from the Barossa Valley AND it was the semi-mystical 2002 vintage. I checked the price and it was just under $10.00 so I got two just in case.

    We got home and that night had our Costco feast which consisted of the things we were able to get there cheaply which were prohibitively expensive elsewhere. The wine of course was the Kirkland and dare I say it was one of the best bottles I’ve ever had.

    The 2002 vintage was one of the best vintages they ever had and the wine was just full of juicy, jammy, dusky dirty shiraz. The kind that whomps your palate with a velvet glove at the start and has a smooth and lingering finish.

    Needless to say over the next few months we cleaned that wine out. Every trip involved getting a case. We were practically giving this stuff away at parties and get togethers. And as soon as it came it was gone.

    Never again found a Barossa Shiraz there but did, like you, find other wines that were worth two or three times the price we paid for them.

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