Select the best bottles for holiday entertaining with a few helpful tip.
Southerners love to entertain—especially during the holidays. The season is a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family from near and far. Just because you’re throwing a party for a crowd, that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. This year, put on a festive gathering for guests while sticking to your on a budget. Holiday hosts know that one of the most expensive parts of entertaining is providing alcohol, which can add up quickly. Skip the trip to the liquor or grocery store, and head to Costco instead. This emporium of groceries, household goods, electronics, and more also has amazing wine deals with affordable prices.
There’s a way to buy the good stuff without breaking the bank. We asked Andrew Cullen, editor and founder of CostcoWineBlog.com, to share some of his top tips for selecting the best bottles at affordable prices. He and his team of experts have almost a decade’s worth of experience reviewing Costco’s wine selection, and they’re always sharing recommendations with readers.
One of the first things to remember about shopping at Costco is that the goods you’re looking for may be in the warehouse one day but gone the next—and the same applies to wines. Cullen says, “If your goal is to stock up, buy it when you see it. Don’t count on it hanging around long, especially if it’s a popular wine because it can disappear fast.”
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Cullen notes that Costco offers discounts on wine that few other retailers can match, including online sellers. “Wines at Costco are typically 10-20% less than I see them selling for at other stores, so by shopping at Costco, you are most likely paying a fair price for the bottle you choose,” he says.
During your shopping trip, keep an eye out for a few discount clues printed on price tags. “Look for an asterisk on the top right corner of the wine pricing tag (white spec sheet). This indicates the wine is a clearance item and won’t be restocked, which also usually means it’s high on the value side,” explains Cullen.
Be sure to check out the price of the wine itself. “If the price ends in $.97, it’s a markdown from the original price (which would have ended in $.99),” he says. “Sometimes, you’ll see a price ending in $.49, $.79, or any other unusual string of numbers. This typically means Costco negotiated a special price with the producer, so you’re probably getting a great deal on these items as well.”
Here are a few of recommended picks from Cullen and his team at CostcoWineBlog.com. Buy a case (or two) for your next holiday party without breaking your budget.
(*Note: Some of the wines listed below may not be available at your local Costco for long, so we recommend stocking up soon.)
Kirkland Signature Champagne Brut
Cullen likes this $20 bottle for its price and dry, bubbly flavor. “When it comes to the Kirkland label, in our 100+ reviews of Kirkland wines over the years, we generally find them to be outstanding values,” he notes.
Paul Dolan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
It’ll be hard to find a better California cabernet for under $15. CostcoWineBlog.com gave the wine’s flavorful, medium-plus body 90 points.
2011 Kirkland Signature Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva
“Gran Reserva” is a classification in the world of Spanish wines that means the bottles must be aged for a certain amount of time and in a certain way by the winery before it’s available to the public. Noted by Cullen as one of the best Kirkland wines he’s ever had, this $12.99 Spanish wine earned 90 points in the blog’s review and is a must-buy if found it in stores
2016 Kirkland Signature Côtes du Rhône Villages
Another Kirkland brand favorite, this low-priced wine ($6.99 per bottle) delivers incredible flavor. Its smooth, spicy taste pairs well with food. You’ll want to stock up on this one.
Complicated Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
For the white wine lovers, opt for this $15.99 food-friendly Chardonnay. Guests will love its balanced oaky, floral flavors.