Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club can be a great place to purchase wine on a budget. Warehouse clubs typically pass along great deals on wine as they have very little markup, buy in large quantities (to get the best prices possible) and get favorable pricing from distributors. While you may not be able to consistently buy your favorite bottle of wine (or favorite winery) at discount clubs, they offer a variety of wine at a great price. Additionally, at some locations of the warehouse clubs, they stock expensive bottles of wine at prices that are far below the price charged at other shops.
Warehouse clubs also sell wines that are private labeled, for example Kirkland brands at Costco or the Cameron Hughes brand (we will have more on negociant brands in another post). Private labeled brands are wines that are purchased from reputable wineries and re-branded (so the consumer doesn’t know the original winery and thereby affecting the prices of the wine from that winery).
These wines can offer huge savings. While the quality varies from variety and year to year, these wines are so reasonably priced that it’s worth trying them because you can save huge if you find one that you like and buy in bulk (and if you don’t like it, use it for cooking or making punches, like Sangria). I will personally say that I like the Kirkland Champagne and it’s a steal (it’s usually $20 a bottle). I drink it straight and use it to make drinks (one of my newest addictions is elderflower liqueur cocktails with champagne).
To prove my theory, we set out on a wine buying expedition at Costco. My goal was to find as many wines as possible at $10 and under (to bring you selections for Wine Wednesday) and to get as many deals as possible. I must admit that I was fairly successful at getting some good deals but not so good at getting a number of wines at $10 and under. In this shopping venture, I bought a number of selections from Cameron Hughes, got some steals on wine prices (for example, I bought a wine that retailed for $24 for $12 and another wine where I had seen the lowest price a $13 for $7.99) and bought some interesting wines. As I need to tell the difference between big reds, I ended up buying Cabernet Sauvignons (from many parts of the world), Malbecs, Syrah and even a Carmenere (an obscure blending wine in Bordeaux that is making a name for itself in Chili. All in all, I ended up buying over two cases of wine and spent an average of slightly over $12 per bottle. Not bad!