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Aug 9, 2011 04:59 PM

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

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.

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  1. 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

      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

        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

          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

            Interesting. I've only experienced the opposite.

            1. re: invinotheresverde

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

              1. re: westsidegal

                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

                  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

          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


          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

            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


              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.


        4. 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. 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

              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. 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. 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

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

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                          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

                            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.