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Favorite wines at Costco? (Looking for recs for wedding)

cranberryskies Aug 9, 2011 04:59 PM

We'll be sourcing our own wine/liquor for our wedding, and wanted to get recommendations on your favorite / best value wine at Costco. We're looking to spend somewhere around $15-20 per bottle, but are *most* interested in the best value wines at Costco regardless of price. Red and white suggestions welcome.

1 last detail: I'm partial to sauvignon blancs from marlborough.

  1. o
    ORtastytravels Jan 25, 2012 10:04 PM

    I should also add that if you're considering the Safeway route, try stopping into Whole Foods (if it's not too far away). They maybe able to give you a good deal also. I know our WF in Oregon has an excellent selection of wines at decent prices. I recently found a French Viognier (white) that I liked and it was only $9.99 a bottle!!

    1. tim irvine Jan 25, 2012 05:07 PM

      When I cruise through the Costcos inAustin I just see a smallish selection of things I don't see in local wine stores, like Fess Parker Pinot noir. I don't find their prices just fantastic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tim irvine
        Bill Hunt Jan 25, 2012 09:04 PM

        Much will depend on the store. In PHX, we have many Costco stores, and each has a different level of wines. Our Scottsdale and Paradise Valley stores have a totally different wine line up, than most of the rest. It depends on the exact location.


      2. w
        wineglas1 Jan 15, 2012 03:29 PM

        As a wine educator a good Riesling will be liked my the masses and the Columbia Crest wines are very inexpensive and always crowd pleasers. These are some Minneapolis prices.

        Studert Prum Kabinett Riesling (Germany) $15.99
        Hall Sauvignon Blanc (US) $16.99

        Schlid Shiraz (Australia) $17.99
        Norton Privada (Argentina) $18.99
        Columbia Crest H3 Merlot (Washington State) $10.79
        Newton Claret (US) $15.99

        1. w
          wanker Aug 17, 2011 02:24 PM

          The heavy lifting has already been done for you. See the following: http://costcowineblog.com/

          You're welcome.

          2 Replies
          1. re: wanker
            wineglas1 Jan 15, 2012 03:31 PM

            Wanker I would not suggest most on that blog and anyone who recommends Ecco Domani does not have a palate.

            1. re: wineglas1
              wanker Jan 19, 2012 02:42 PM

              Like any wine reivewer, the Costco Wine Blog it is simply one point of view.

          2. invinotheresverde Aug 12, 2011 08:23 AM

            OP, email the wine department at the Costco you'll be purchasing from and have them send you their stock list. You can post the list here or edit it and list just the ones in your budget. That'll help us out tremendously.

            7 Replies
            1. re: invinotheresverde
              cranberryskies Aug 12, 2011 11:26 AM

              Wow, what a great suggestion. Let me see if they'll email me a list. Thanks!

              1. re: invinotheresverde
                cranberryskies Aug 16, 2011 07:49 PM

                Turns out Costco's fairly proprietary with their wine list, and so we may end up going the Safeway route instead. I spoke with the wine person at Safeway, and they had a number of suggestions for me. Can anyone weigh in on what they would love to see at a wedding?

                Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (as a lower cost option to my favorite, Cloudy Bay)
                La Crema Chardonnay
                A by Acacia Chardonnay (as a low cost option)
                Gascon Malbec
                The Prisoner (we're ok with going out of budget range for this one, as this is a favorite)
                Bogle Petit Syrah/Chardonnary (as a low cost option)

                He'll be putting together a larger list for me, but I won't be getting the full list for about a week. He was not enthused about Norton Malbec, though I've heard good things about it. He highly recommended the Gascon Malbec instead.

                Also, for a guest count of about 75, we expect 60 of them to drink, and 40 of them to be wine drinkers (so it's more of a wine crowd). What's the right breakdown for # of reds vs whites, for a group of 40 suspected to like reds a bit more? Cocktail/reception time is about 6 hours, and I'm hoping to have 2 whites and 2 reds.

                1. re: cranberryskies
                  Funwithfood Aug 16, 2011 11:44 PM

                  I recall really liking Kim Crawford and I also think we liked La Crema. I love Malbecs although that one doesn't 'ring a bell'. Give them a try and see what you think.

                  1. re: cranberryskies
                    SteveTimko Aug 17, 2011 07:33 AM

                    I haven't had Bogle Chardonnay. I'll throw in a vote for the petite sirah.
                    LaCrema is owned by Gallo.
                    As far as the right ratio, are they drinking the wine with food or just sipping?

                    1. re: SteveTimko
                      cranberryskies Aug 17, 2011 02:20 PM

                      Wine will be available both for cocktail hour and dinner, so the guests will be drinking wine with food. It'll be a full bar, so other liquors/beers will be available as well.

                    2. re: cranberryskies
                      bclevy Aug 17, 2011 02:10 PM

                      I was in Kauai last week and there was a big difference in quality and price between
                      the wines available at Costco in Lihue and Safeway in Kapaa. Although Costco
                      has a narrower selection, the quality and prices are much more favorable. As
                      another poster suggested, there seemeed to be quite a few Aussie and NZ wines.

                      1. re: cranberryskies
                        ORtastytravels Jan 25, 2012 10:01 PM

                        For a white, I would do a chard or riesling (usually a hit with non-wine drinkers). Looking at your list, the La Crema Chard is decent. For reds, a cab or pinot noir maybe a more neutral choice.

                        If going the Costco route though, I recommend buying a few bottles that catch your eye and in your price range, inviting friends over and have a blind tasting. See what was popular with the group and decide. Good luck! I also agree that Costco selections vary from store to store and state to state.

                    3. Eugene Park Aug 12, 2011 02:55 AM

                      I'm guessing b/c of proximity that Australian and New Zealand will be well represented. I seem to remember as much when I visited the Maui Costco several years ago.

                      Yalumba viognier is my go-to white for group situations. It should clock in slightly below $15/bottle.

                      1. r
                        rinkatink888 Aug 11, 2011 10:53 PM

                        We love the Malbec from Alamos (Wines of Catena). Had the opportunity to purchase a bottle against a Costco Coupon, liked to so much, went back to get a case. In Southern California, it was around $7.00.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rinkatink888
                          gdino Jan 14, 2012 06:40 PM

                          hi rinkatink888,

                          I read your post awhile back about your alotment of Scraming Eagle. What did you decide to do with it? I have been on the wait list for ever and would love to enjoy a bottle. Are you interested in selling one?

                        2. Funwithfood Aug 11, 2011 08:33 PM

                          There have to be better alternatives than Costco, I know there are in SoCal--don't like the selection or prices at my Costco.

                          1. SteveTimko Aug 10, 2011 12:46 PM

                            I think there's probably better value in the San Francisco area at K&L Wines or Oddlots in Albany, maybe the Spanish Table in Berkeley, than there will be at Costco.
                            And remember inventory can vary greatly by state and even city at Costco.
                            Regions like Spain, Portugal and some areas of Italy and areas in France like Alsace, the Rhone and Languedoc offer tremendous value. Costco may not be stocked heavily in these wines.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: SteveTimko
                              cranberryskies Aug 10, 2011 12:59 PM

                              Thanks so much for the response. I left out an important detail - I'll be shopping for the wine in Oahu, hence the Costco decision. There seems to be a couple of nice wine store in Honolulu, but unfortunately they don't take back unopened bottles if we end up buying too much. I would love to just drop by Trader Joes and pick a few out from their selection, but there's no Trader Joes in Hawaii.

                              1. re: cranberryskies
                                SteveTimko Aug 10, 2011 02:00 PM

                                Wine selection at Costcos in California bear little resemblance to those in Nevada. Where it is similar tends to be high end trophy wines. I'd be surprised if the Oahu Costco is anything like a California Costco.

                                1. re: SteveTimko
                                  Bruce in SLO Aug 11, 2011 06:39 AM

                                  In most states, wine can not be returned to a retailer. You might find a local wine shop that will work with you on the effort and not exceed your budget.

                                  1. re: Bruce in SLO
                                    invinotheresverde Aug 11, 2011 07:15 AM

                                    Interesting. I've only experienced the opposite.

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde
                                      westsidegal Aug 11, 2011 08:31 PM

                                      i believe that Bruce in SLO is talking about what can and can't be done legally.

                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                        invinotheresverde Aug 11, 2011 10:43 PM

                                        Perhaps it's simply regional, but it's not illegal in my state nor any near me that I'm aware of. I wonder if there's a list online someplace?

                                        1. re: invinotheresverde
                                          Midlife Jan 15, 2012 10:16 PM

                                          It's definitely illegal in California, unless the wine is bad. If you buy too much you're stuck with it. No idea what the idea behind it is, except that retailers can't legally buy current vintage wines from the public and returns could be considered "buying back". Odd alcoholic rules are the norm.

                                2. re: cranberryskies
                                  Bill Hunt Aug 11, 2011 09:03 PM

                                  For wines on O`ahu, at Costco, I recommend the Waipio location first for wine. Hawai`i Kai is number two, and Iwilei number three.

                                  Good luck, and do not expect the same interesting wines, as at some Mainland stores.


                                3. re: SteveTimko
                                  Bill Hunt Aug 11, 2011 08:58 PM


                                  The Costco line up differs greatly by store, at least in the PHX area. What I have at Paradise Valley, or Scottsdale, is totally different than many others. Now, when one gets way, way down the list, there is similarity, but nothing unique down there.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                    SteveTimko Aug 12, 2011 08:03 AM

                                    Even in the Reno area, there are some odd differences. The last time I looked, which was about six years ago, the Costco in Sparks had three Chateaunuef-du-pape wines and the Reno store had zero.
                                    There are some wines that seem to be chain wide. There's the one white with the odd name. I can think of it right now. And of course there will be Kirkland wines.
                                    Ferrari-Carano makes a SuperTuscan style called Siena that the Reno Costco used to sell for $16 a bottle. Quite food friendly. They had it by the boatload in Reno, it seemed. I once looked in three San Diego Costcos and couldn't find a bottle of it.

                                    1. re: SteveTimko
                                      Bill Hunt Aug 12, 2011 08:18 PM


                                      It is probably close here. Now, Phoenix is 500 Sq miles, and I have never made it to all of our Costco stores, but have noticed major differences. Scottsdale gets the "ultimate wine list," and our new "Paradise Valley" store is a close second. Others? Well they all seem to fall far behind.

                                      Going back many years, I talked with the wine directors at one local store, and she allowed as how she was trying to upgrade to the "upper tier" of stores, but kept falling behind. I tried to help her, but was only one person. She never made it, but was in a mid-level neighborhood, so I am not surprised.

                                      We do several Costco's in Hawai`i, and I have picked some stores, over others, on the same Island, just due to their wines. None of those stores have the upper "tier" wine selections, but I can understand completely.


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