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?
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.
- Alamos Malbec Mendoza
- Altano Douro Red Portugal
- Black Stallion Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
- Chateau Hanteillan Haut-Medoc Bordeaux
- Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley
- Dr. Wagner Riesling Kabinett
- Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon
- J Lohr Seven Oaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
- J Pinot Gris
- Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
- Kirkland Signature Alexander Valley Cabernet
- Kirkland Signature Costco Champagne
- Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva
- Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage
- La Marca Prosecco
- Lunetta Prosecco
- Northstar Merlot Columbia Valley
- Tarima Hill Old Vine Monastrell
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.