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Frequently Asked Questions About Costco Wine and This Website

Frequently Asked Questions About Costco Wine and This Website

We thought we’d mix it up with a little feature where we’d answer the most common questions we receive from our readers.

This site started more than ten years ago and has grown far beyond what we ever thought possible.  It’s created a great community of people all looking for really good wine bargains from Costco, and our goal is the same as when we started: to help you find them.

We’ve enjoyed speaking with so many of you over the years, and having the chance to answer many questions like you will find below.  Keep ’em coming, and let’s keep finding, enjoying and sharing info on great Costco wines.

Why can’t I find the wines you review at my local Costco?

This is far and away the number one question we get, and I wish we had a better answer for you, but Costco’s wine distribution strategy is anyone’s guess.  We’ve had readers find wines we purchased in the Atlanta area in Tokyo, Japan, but not in a neighboring state like Florida.

We are independent of Costco so only have access to the same consumer level information regarding distribution as our readers.

Many of the Kirkland wines will see wide distribution so look for those, and often times wines we review may pop later somewhere else in the country, so keep an eye out especially for our Recommended Wines, as you never know when they might appear near you, or reappear after they’ve been gone for a period of time.

This is also a reason why we started the Costco Wine Forums, which combined with comments on our social media posts, can often turn up local, on the ground info on where wines are directly from readers. So we encourage you to participate if you like.

How much is Costco paying you do to this site?

Nothing, we are 100% independent of Costco and are just a group of passionate Costco wine fans who enjoy doing this for fun.  The ads that appear on this site help keep it running.

What do you do when you buy a Costco wine that you don’t like?

We write about it too so that our readers know.  That’s the beauty of being independent, and we believe our independence and the freedom to be real that comes with it, is a reason why the site is attracting so many readers.  We want to help you avoid bad bottles, and find good ones.

free wooden wine boxes from Costco

Can I take the wooden wine boxes when they are empty?

Yes, you can.  More on that here.  But the idea is that if the wooden wine boxes (in the aisle stacks, or “cheap seats”) are empty or near empty, you can just put them in your cart and take them home.  Occasionally, in the huge cardboard box pile near the check out, you will find these wooden boxes too, so keep an eye out.

Do you receive free wine?

Occasionally, and the goal is to acquire wine that is sold at Costco stores that are not near us, so we might not be able to get the wines any other way.  We have strict guidelines to always publish a note when we receive the wine for sampling purposes.

We believe in complete transparency.  We don’t receive any compensation from any wine company.  Again, independence is the key.

I have a wedding coming up, can you recommend some wines from Costco for the event?

As much as we love this question, mainly because it would be fun to attend a wedding with Costco wine, it’s really hard to answer based on our first question above – distribution.  It’s so hard to know if you can find the same wines we can when you walk in to make the big purchase.  They simply might be gone.

Check out the Recommended Wines to see if anything jumps out at you, and feel free to send in wines you are considering and we can share an opinion if we’ve tasted them.

Can I use the photos of the labels elsewhere online?

Of course.

Can you include the Costco item number and abv for each wine?

We started including this about 5 years ago due to reader feedback.  Some older posts may not have this information included but almost all recent ones do at the end of each post.

California Cabernet
Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Napa Valley

What are your favorite Costco wines?

We keep a running list of wines that we recommend here.  Bookmark that link and bring it up on your smartphone next time you visit the Costco wine aisle. If I had to pick one to recommend it would be the Kirkland Champagne that’s hard to beat for $19.99. and should be widely available.

What’s Your Favorite Post on the Site?

This post, called “The Definitive Guide To Costco’s Kirkland Signature Wines,” is probably the most in depth and useful post we’ve made. We’ll do our best to keep it updated too, but it includes our history of tasting different vintages of Kirkland wines, along with scores, prices and expected arrival months in stores.

What other wine resources do you have?

Ok, so this isn’t from readers, but it’s a good question.  We have a book on Decoding French Wine, a book on Decoding Italian Wine and a book on Decoding Spanish Wine.  There’s also a work of (thriller/sci fi) fiction if you’re so inclined (if you are one of the handful of people who actually buy and read this one, definitely shoot me a note about what you think).

Who are you?

I’m Andrew, and I started this site on a whim about ten years ago.  I used to shop at Costco with my family, and since we were already spending $250 every trip it seemed on other stuff, buying wine at Costco was awesome because I could sneak a $40 Bordeaux in the cart and get away with it.

Then I started writing about it, and people starting reading it (much to my surprise) a lot more than all the other crappy online content I was creating (there were so many other failed blogs).  So I ran with this one and it’s been amazing to watch the community grow and to interact with so many like-minded Costco wine fans.

Where are you based?

In the Atlanta area.  We have access to five or so Costco stores within an hour drive, which is great.

Is there anything I can do to help the site?

Subscribe to our emails and tell your friends about our site.  We would very much appreciate it.

Will the site always be free?

Yes.

What does Costco think about you doing this site?

We have had very limited contact with corporate Costco over the years, and we believe the site works because it is 100% independent.  We would like to keep it that way, and I am guessing that they see the value in the community we’ve built. 

What are your wine credentials?

Nothing official, just a person who has been tasting and writing about Costco wine for a long time. And who has researched and written a few wine books but I’m really just an average person who enjoys wine like most of our readers. I figure we are all just looking for good wine buys and I hope I can help discover and share some that I find.

What’s the future hold?

More wine reviews.  A couple small surprises we’re working on. If there’s any feedback you’d like to share with us, please let us know.

—Thanks again for following us and we hope this answered a few questions you may have had.  Cheers.

Andrew, Editor

hugh sutherland

Saturday 21st of August 2021

Since most of the profit for Costcp comes from wine is there any thought of opening a wine store? I.too, would like some of your suggestive wines.

Mike Sorensen

Monday 16th of August 2021

Andrew, Just wanted to let you know we haven't disappeared. We met the the alcohol manager at our Costco, Our goal was to find wines that will still be in stock after our reviews. He was pleased with a Left coast contingent. His assistance will be for quantities only, once we had the 12 different wine choices today due to counts, we picked three. I will need some help once we undertake the tasting and rating on September 1. He also suggested getting in touch with the region director of alcohol to get a heads up on what is coming. I hope this is not in violation of the blog. Our goal is to review something that will be there vs. a review and no one can find it. Our liaison at Costco said that is a challenge with the current blog, Costco west does not carry a majority of the wines you review. If you would like to chat, let me know. We have selected for September 1: Los Positas 2016 Petite Sirah - Livermore Silverado Block Blend 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Havens 2014 Merlot - Napa

Regards Mike

Mike Sorensen

Sunday 5th of September 2021

@Editor,

Andrew, We have three write ups to go someplace. We also have an updated preamble. I need some help getting these to where they need to go. Might you have some time to walk me through the ones I have. Our format is different since we are new in game, hope the format works for you. Let me know.

Mike Sorensen

Editor

Tuesday 17th of August 2021

Hi Mike Thanks for the follow up and it sounds like a good plan. No issues with blog “violations”. We get to do what we want here. I have not seen any of the wines you listed in stores around here so I think the left coast coverage will help balance things out a bit. And hopefully more readers can find more of the wines featured here. Thanks and looking forward to it.

Mike Sorensen

Thursday 29th of July 2021

Andrew, Thank you for the response. Yes, we would concur - this is a hobby with benefits. Once it turns into work, we retired guys would find an easier way to enjoy our hobby. Our rating is some easier, because we don't want to think to hard. We use the day of the week: Monday wine - pour it out, no redeeming attributes Tuesday wine - not something I would drink, but I can cook with it Wednesday wine - when all else fails and this is all I have, yes it is drinkable Thursday wine - a wine I would share with friends Friday - a wine to serve with family and friends during a special occasion Saturday - if we worked, this wine would be served to the CEO of the company and his significant other We also collect the Vivino rating when there is one.....

To not think too hard about this concept, in Forums might there a be a subheading "Left Coast Wines" where we could drop in a couple a quarter. Not sure how to log in to add, but this might be fun for a bit to see if it takes flight....

Regards Mike Sorensen

Editor

Friday 30th of July 2021

Excellent idea Mike. I created the forum for you guys: https://costcowineblog.com/forums/forum/left-coast-wines/ You'll need to just go in an register as a user. I will then make you a moderator on the forum and you can be off and running. If you want me just to set it all up for you and email you the details I am happy to do that too. Should be fun. Thanks again for the awesome suggestion.

Mike Sorensen

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

A and E, I am fortunate enough to live in Northern California, having access to 5 Costco stores within 45 minutes, plus 100s of wineries. I do enjoy reading your material, albeit the wines you talk about are not in my Costco....but the same wine is typically in most of the local Costco. Couple of thoughts: 1) Vivino has a wonderful application for rating wines. Might there be a collaboration between you two that has a Costco only version of Vivino? Alternatively, you build something similar? 2) Having a consortium in each state who can submit reviews may be a good alternative. Our wine group, some 15 members who show up all the time, the other 30 now and again. We undertake wine tasting every week via Zoom visiting the four corners of the world (how a globe has 4 corners is beyond me). We focus on a specific blend, or varietal, or region, or country. I would say 1 to 3 wines come from Costco, 8 to 10 from Total Wine, BevMo, Trader Joe's, or supermarkets, the remaining from cellars. If you would like to run a pilot that will pick 3 to 5 wines a quarter, we build a consensus among the group, we write up the material and send it to you, then we have a chat to refine any questions....then you publish. We have sophisticated members, then those that drink a lot of wine, and beginners. By the way, this group is made up of retired guys, average age 70. We have learned a lot about wines over the past year....especially reds. The importance of air and gas. How someone buys a bottle of wine in a restaurant is beyond me unless the decant the wine for you. Another topic for another day

If you would like figure out how this might work....send me an email Regards Mike Sorensen msorensen.us@gmail.com

Editor

Thursday 29th of July 2021

Mike Thanks for the insightful email and you make some excellent suggestions. It would be fun to try to grow the site in some of the ways that you mention. Right now, this is much more of a fun hobby than a business. It’s hard for me to find the time to keep it going as is right now. Maybe that will change. Who knows. And it sounds like you have a great group of highly experienced wine lovers. Let me think about things and the future of where this is going. And I’ll be I touch if there’s a way to work with you guys. Thanks again Andrew

Joe R Roberts

Saturday 21st of April 2018

Yes you are right about Washington state. Costco took on the distributors through the initiative process---lost in the first election, won in the second. Spent over 20 million in the process, so is perhaps the reason they haven't tried to repeat in other states. My understanding is that the language of the first initiative allowed retailers to serve as their own distributors--- the language of the initiative seemed to exclude the new entities from paying the alcohol tax to the state, so a big revenue hit to the state and something the current distributors were only to happy to point out. After the loss, Costco came back with a new initiative that clearly provided that the newly created hybrid retail/distributors would have to remit state taxes and the initiative passed. This of course is a very abridged account of what happened and I am by no means an authority---just based on my understanding for what its worth.