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Does your Costco have Screaming Eagle or other exclusive wine?

c
ceekskat Jan 26, 2012 04:03 PM

Saw a bottle of "Red Blend" for $1,699.99 today in Redwood City, CA (SF/Silicon Valley).

I am not at all familiar with high end/exclusive wines, just some names. They currently also have some French wine sets for approx. $8,000.

  1. njfoodies Jan 27, 2012 10:15 AM

    My Costco rarely has high end stuff like Screagle, but the only reason I go there for is the prime steaks for the most part. -mJ

    1. Bill Hunt Jan 27, 2012 06:35 PM

      Two of my Costcos (Phoenix-Paradise Valley & Scottsdale) does have high-end wines, but no Screaming Eagle. They often have several 1er Cru Bdx. wines, and usually in the US $ 800 - 900 range, depending on the vintage, and the Ch. Cannot recall anything over US $ 1000, but might have missed it. Other Phoenix-Metro stores usually top out at about US $ 200, and deal in much lower wines.

      If the Costco wine buyer gets, what they think is a good deal, it will most likely go to the store that moves the most, high-end wines, and other stores will likely never see it.

      At the Phoenix-Paradise Valley store, I can often pick up Jos. Phelps Insignia, cheaper than I can buy it from the Phelps Preferred pre-order. Also, they often have reasonable prices on Caymus SS, Shafer Hillside Select, and Penfolds Grange. However, if you do not buy it, the day that you see it, you may never see it again.

      Hunt

      8 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt
        c
        ceekskat Jan 28, 2012 02:25 PM

        "If the Costco wine buyer gets, what they think is a good deal, it will most likely go to the store that moves the most, high-end wines, and other stores will likely never see it."

        DH echoed the same sentiment. Someone else suggested they may be checking the waters to see how well luxury items are moving here currently (given looming Facebook IPO). There's also an $18K Chagall that's been around since Christmas but I think this may be available elsewhere.

        "Also, they often have reasonable prices on Caymus SS, Shafer Hillside Select, and Penfolds Grange. "

        Now I'm jealous...I've never seen the Hillside Select here.

        1. re: ceekskat
          Bill Hunt Jan 29, 2012 07:36 PM

          When available, I try to spend a few moments with the Costco wine department folk, to get a feeler on why they have X, but not Y. Most are very open.

          We, in PHX, are very blessed, as we have at least two stores, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, that do get a lot of the higher-end wines. OTOH, when one gets up near the very top, were they my stores, I would put the ultra-high-end stuff in Silicon Valley, or at the Capitol in DC, as few others could afford it. Gotta' have the clients, and when one crosses that last plateau, the sub-sub-sub-set gets tiny.

          I remember a time, not THAT far back, where certain folk would fly up from the San Jose airport, to dine at a certain Napa restaurant. The plane would sit, waiting, and the group would do 3 - 5 btls. of Screaming Eagle, at about US 10,000 per bottle, then fly back. That was at lunch, and I have no idea what dinner looked like.

          I recall an older TV program, that played on the Food Channel, before it became the Food Network. There was one host from NYC, who always talked about his lunches, and bragged about spending about US $ 10,000 on wine, just for those lunches. Gotta' love it, when TV personalities, on a then, backwater TV channel, could drop that much, just for lunch wines. According to that TV personality, his group never spent less than US $ 1,000/btl .on their wines at any lunch. Heck, now I cannot imagine Alton Brown, or Rachel Ray, spending that sort of change, just for a bottle of wine at lunch, but may be way out of touch with reality.

          At my Costco stores, I do not think that Foster Friess, John Dorrance or Bob Parsons shop there, but could be wrong. We do not seem to get the ultra-rare, or ultra-expensive.

          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt
            Fowler Jan 29, 2012 09:14 PM

            >>>I remember a time, not THAT far back, where certain folk would fly up from the San Jose airport, to dine at a certain Napa restaurant. The plane would sit, waiting, and the group would do 3 - 5 btls. of Screaming Eagle, at about US 10,000 per bottle, then fly back. That was at lunch, and I have no idea what dinner looked like.<<<

            I would love to see confirmation of this tale.

            1. re: Fowler
              Bill Hunt Jan 30, 2012 07:35 PM

              Well, while I was dining at French Laundry, a group of gentlemen from San Jose, did just that. They probably had 8 bottles of extreme Cult CalCabs, for a party of six. The limo waited, and they flew back, right after lunch. Did not rush to the airport, to catch the N number on the vertical stabilizer, but would guess - private. I dropped a few hints on who they were, but the staff was very tight-lipped. From the discussion, they were from San Jose, and I did not recognize any of the party.

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt
                Fowler Jan 30, 2012 08:00 PM

                Which day of the week were these people there?

                1. re: Fowler
                  Bill Hunt Jan 30, 2012 08:12 PM

                  Well, let's see, it was 1999, but I think that it was Friday. Do you know them?

                  Hunt

                  [Edit] Looked up the AMEX bills, and it was Friday, 12, 1999. Were you in that group? If so, I envy your wine choices, and the ability to pay such a bill.

                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                    Fowler Jan 30, 2012 09:15 PM

                    Odd questions. If I knew them or were in that group, why would I ask about the tale?

                    1. re: Fowler
                      Bill Hunt Jan 31, 2012 06:20 PM

                      I am not at all sure. Why are you asking about the story to begin with?

                      I assumed that you were in that group, and perhaps did not want people to have noticed, or maybe it was something else? I am at a total loss, but hope that you can articulate why you care so much?

                      Good luck, and hope that you enjoyed the lunch. As I did not know the other 5 gentlemen, any secret is safe with me.

                      Hunt

      2. georgempavlov Jan 27, 2012 10:11 PM

        Allow me to let you in on something gleaned from over ten years in the fine wine business--if Costco has it, it isn't "exclusive." It may be expensive, but it absolutely axiomatic that it is not "exclusive."

        1 Reply
        1. re: georgempavlov
          c
          ceekskat Jan 28, 2012 02:31 PM

          Ha, you are absolutely right. Considering how long I've been married to a marketing guy, I should have known better than to use that term!

        2. Fowler Jan 29, 2012 10:42 AM

          Nope, my Costco does not have Screaming Eagle or any other California cult cabs.

          How are these wines stored at your Costco? Temperature and humidity controlled, one would hope.

          I would be hesitant to purchase a very expensive bottle of wine from Costco. Perhaps an irrational fear of mine but I could envision it sitting on a loading dock in the middle of July for several hours.

          1. k
            kagemusha49 Jan 29, 2012 02:08 PM

            Redwood City is right next door to Atherton - probably the richest town in the USA

            1. Eugene Park Feb 4, 2012 06:33 PM

              I've been to most every Costco in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. There are four that stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of their wine selection (in no particular order):

              Redwood City
              Novato
              Danville
              San Francisco

              No surprise that all 4 are near the most expensive real estate in the area. Novato has the most varied selection IMO, but all 4 are good sources for upper range items like Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Dom Perignon Oenotheque, Salon, Amuse Bouche, Araujo, Gaja, etc.

              Another forum devoted to fermented grape juice has noted the North Scottsdale location getting in various vintages of Petrus in the past year.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Eugene Park
                Bill Hunt Feb 4, 2012 07:49 PM

                Interesting, as I live in the Phoenix-Metro Area, and frequent the Scottsdale Costco, though not that recently, since the Paradise Valley store opened, and had some major wines. Guess I need to get back over to Scottsdale, to see what I have been missing.

                One drawback, is my age. Recent vintages of 1er Cru Bdx, and similar, will likely never be at their high-point, during my lifetime. Same for great, recent Vintage Ports - I just will not live long enough to fully enjoy them, but I can live with that, well, sort of....

                In our area, the ZIP Code of the store is very, very important to what their wine selection will be. That can also change, depending on the sales.

                We had a new store (some years back) open in an area of the Metro Area, that was quickly expanding. There were several country-club estates, right up the street. This store was closest to me, at the time. I shopped there from almost "opening day," and came to know the wine department director. He had lofty goals, and through my purchases, I tried to support him and the store. At one time, he had pretty much the full Costco "list," with all but a very few wines missing, that California, or Scottsdale had. I tried to help, but in about a year, the selection fell back to the "general," and I had to go to Scottsdale.

                Some years later, the Paradise Valley store opened, it was even closer and had an almost Scottsdale level of wines. Because of proximity, I rather stopped going to Scottsdale, as it was about 12 miles from that store, and was usually more crowded. Also, the Scottsdale store has many patrons, who are "snow birds," and are not that easy-going, so due to the mileage, and the demographic of the patrons, I stop short, but obviously am still missing something. With Costco, ZIP Codes, and buying habits, DO matter.

                Hunt

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