I’ve been wanting to publish this story for quite a while now, but I finally got around to spending some time inside Total Wine to track down their prices on the same bottles being offered by Costco (which in my case is directly across the street).
Each place has their pros and cons but I think when it comes to a straight up price comparison, head to head, it’s pretty clear that Costco usually comes out on top.
Now granted, Costco doesn’t always have someone there to talk you though the wines or make suggestions (there’s a website for that), and Costco’s selection is smaller and ever changing, but let’s get into the price differences between the two and we can see where everything lands.
Let’s start with one of my favorite wines, the 2004 La Rioja Alta 904 Grand Reserva which Costco sells for $39.99. Price at Total Wine: $52.99 (+33%). Big difference here on an excellent wine that I can’t recommend enough.
Another important fact is that when Costco did carry the famous ’01 vintage of this wine, the price was the same, $39.99. Total Wine will adjust price based on vintage, but Costco stacks all the different vintages together in the same bin for the same price which can yield some great buys if you dig around enough.
Next up is another favorite of mine, the 2011 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-pape, which Costco sells for $69.99 (again along with other vintages including the 2013 at my Costco store right now). Price at Total Wine on the Beaucastel is $99.99 (+43%).
It’s starting to be pretty clear that wines at Costco are typically 10-20% less than
they are at Total Wine. Let’s take a look at a few more recently reviewed Costco wines.
2013 Ferrari-Carano Merlot is $19.49 at Total Wine. At Costco regular price is $18.99 but it is currently offered with $6 off so without the discount, this one is a wash
2014 Stags Leap Wine Cellars Karia Napa Chardonnay is normally $25.99 at Costco but is currently $5 off. Total Wine price is $33.99.
The Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc was $8.47 at Total Wine and $7.99 at Costco, so again, another wash.
The 2013 Stags Leap Winery Merlot is one to note. Total Wine is selling it for $30.49 while Costco is coming in almost half at $16.
The 2012 Condado De Haza Ribera was another wine that saw a huge difference. Costco is selling it for $17.99 while Total Wine is coming in at $31.99 (+82%).
In all fairness, I have to put this in because I did find one wine priced higher at Costco and that was the 2014 Seghesio Zinfandel, which Total Wine sells for $18.97 and Costco is priced at $19.59.
On average the prices at Costco seem pretty rock solid compared to Total Wine, especially when Costco offers special discounts on the wines. You do give up that personal touch, an almost guarantee that the wine you drink one day will be there the next, and the unbelievable selection that Total Wine offers. But Costco’s prices, even compared online to Wine.com or others, seems to be among the best in the marketplace.
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve found any big price differences between wines at Costco and your other local stores. And if you’re interested in some Costco shopping tips (including learning about special pricing indicators and what that asterisk means in the corner of Costco price tags), here’s a story I wrote on it for The Daily Meal.
– Andrew, Editor
Sunday 18th of December 2016
In NJ we have a "mix 6" discount, so I would need to reduce the total wine prices by 10% (except for prices that end in 7). And I get coupons from them for better discounts all the time. You can't mix discounts, but the register will figure out what discount works best for each bottle.
Tuesday 13th of December 2016
Great post. I recently started shopping at Total Wines in Virginia where I travel a lot for business and visiting family. They have great prices and a really wide selection. But I tend to agree with your conclusions, overall Costco has better values and it's convenient for other items. So both are great places to shop but for different experiences and finds.
Monday 28th of November 2016
Segeshio Sonoma Red Zin is $18.49 at the Wayne NJ Costco, so I guess prices vary store to store.
Friday 25th of November 2016
It's not advertised but to get an alcohol resale license in CA the state required Costco to allow in non-members to make alcohol only purchases. In CA there's bevmo, safeway & trader joe's To buy a single bottle Costco can't be beat and the more expensive the bottle often the more substantial the savings. I recently picked up a 2010 Damilano Barolo Cannubi for $56. I also like the selection focus at Costco not too small not too big just right and in both California wines or my preference Spanish, Italian and South American wines. Bevmo can be a win if a wine you like participates in their buy 1, 2nd for 5 cents sale which they have often. Safeway wine if your label is there is good if you buy 6 bottles at a time. TJ's that's more of a treasure hunt than Costco but I do glance and last week found Vina Eguia Reserva 2009 for $6.99, a bottle I'm stoked to get at $11.
Friday 25th of November 2016
The Costco at Cumberland almost always has a "wine guy" on the floor, and they are very knowledgeable and helpful. One benefit of shopping at Costco is that their wine buyers do an excellent job, to the point that there are almost no bad wines to be found there. Total Wine is a great store, but shopping there can be overwhelming (over choice).