There’s nothing quite like the “Costco Hunt” — the search for products that are abundantly in stock one day and completely gone the next. Once thse products disappear, they become almost legendary, discussed among shoppers with a mystique about having once existed. That’s part of the reason people stand in front of Costco stores waiting for them to open on a daily basis.
You may not have known it, but there is a huge cult of Costco fanatics who love scouring their local warehouse to find killer deals on wine, as well as anything else they can fit in their oversized Costco shopping cart.
Before I jump into some secrets about shopping for wine at Costco, let me first discuss why you should care.
Costco wine is typically priced anywhere from 10 to 20 percent less than wine at other wine stores, and sometimes even less. If you shop online, you can get prices close to that of Costco, but in terms of physical stores, Costco is hard to beat on price.
The wines that Costco sells are generally good values in that for each varietal and region, the bottles that Costco carries will be strong offerings at a great price. To this extent, it feels sometimes as though Costco pre-screens the bottles, to eliminate any duds (although I’ve found a few). There were rumors, too, that Costco would only carry wines rated 90 points or more by the major critics, although at the lower end of the price spectrum that doesn’t seem to be true.
To this extent, buying wine at Costco allows you to be adventurous and try new things. You don’t have to feel as though you might be overpaying for a bottle of gruner veltliner when you don’t know what to expect. You can bank on the fact that it’s probably a good representation of the varietal and region for the price.
One other thing to note — and I haven’t tried this but it seems widely known — is that Costco does not restrict the sale of alcohol to non-members. This means that you don’t have to have a paid Costco membership to purchase wine. You can tell the membership representative at the main door that you are coming in to buy wine specifically and they should let you through.
Everyone likes to save a buck and get a good deal, so here are eight tricks to help you when shopping for wine at Costco.