Experts dish on what makes Costco wines such a good deal
- Wines at Costco have a reputation for being high-quality and high-value - and they've attracted a whole community of fans through the independently run Costco Wine Blog.
- Business Insider spoke to Costco Wine Blog founder Andrew Cullen and reviewer Erin Reyes about what makes the warehouse's wines so special.
- The pair singled out Costco's ability to wrangle tempting deals, as well as its attention to quality.
Lots of Costco members have a rosy - or should we say rosé? - view of their warehouse's wine selection.
That's especially true among followers of the Costco Wine Blog. This blog features detailed reviews of Costco's selection of reds, whites, rosés, and bubblies, as well as forums for members.Founder and editor Andrew Cullen told Business Insider that he's always been a fan of Costco wines. After one of his early blog posts about wine at Costco blew up, he realized that he'd stumbled into a community of like-minded members.
"Everyone's looking for the same thing, myself included," Cullen told Business Insider. "We want to find really good wine at really good prices. That's it. Costco's a really good place to do that."
Business Insider spoke to Cullen and contributing reviewer Erin Reyes about what sets Costco apart, in terms of its wine section.
Both reviewers stressed the fact that the blog is completely independent of the members-only warehouse club.
"I really felt it was important to retain the freedom to do and say whatever we want, however we want, whenever we wanted," Cullen said. "We're trying to help people find good stuff and avoid bad stuff."But according to Cullen and Reyes, most of the offerings out of Costco's wine section qualify as "good stuff."
Reyes said that the power Costco wields over suppliers is a key factor in its ability to provide members with an array of high-value wines.
"Costco has a unique purchasing power for wine because they're able to buy so much at one time," Reyes said. "And, for the most part, anyone would want their wine to be stocked in Costco. There's so many people who go through looking for the wine."
That purchasing power often shows up at the cash register.
"Just in my experience, their wine prices are from 0% to 40% better than other outlets," Cullen said.
Beyond the price tags, Reyes said that Costco also takes care to provide a "good variety" of wines, and continuously adds new bottles every week.
"There's always something to look forward to," she said. "Sometimes, there are unique wines that are hard to find that will just show up and then they're gone. And then they never come back again, so that's kind of intriguing."
That being said, there is a limit to Costco's wine selection. Cullen added that it's more like a "curated wine collection" than an all-encompassing, expansive stock. But for Cullen, a crucial part of that "curated wine collection" is the warehouse chain's in-store line of Kirkland Signature wines.Costco oftentimes partners up with major vineyards to create these Kirkland Signature offerings, so you might just be purchasing a particularly fancy or notable wine at a reduced price and under a different name.
"Having access to those is a huge, huge benefit for any Costco member and wine shopper," Cullen said. "You can only get them at Costco. There's been a few Kirkland duds, and we definitely call those out. But I think they're a really big benefit."