Costco’s wine cellar
A toast to Kirkland Signature wines
Consumer reporter Pat
Volchok gives a behind-the-scenes look at Costco
products and services.
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MANY A CONNOISSEUR scoffed when Costco
began offering private-label Kirkland Signature™
wines in 2003. But then the unexpected happened.
The first offering, a Kirkland Signature Shiraz from
Australia—selling for $9.99, but tasting like a $40
wine—flew out of the warehouse.
Eight years later, Kirkland Signature wine is one
of the most successful house-brand labels in the
country, available in 34 states (plus Canada, Mexico,
the UK, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Australia). It’s
estimated that Costco will sell more than 4. 5 million
bottles of Kirkland Signature wine in 2011.
The biggest growth in sales this past year was for
such wines as Napa Cabernet Sauvignons and
Chardonnay, red blends and Rhône wines, including Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône
PHO TOGRAPH Y: FRANCE FREEMAN
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“We’ve made huge inroads in the wine market,”
remarks Annette Alvarez-Peters, Costco assistant
general merchandise manager for corporate wine,
spirits and beer.
A brand apart
The reason for the success of Kirkland Signature
wine is deceptively simple. Costco’s private-label wine
strategy differs sharply from that of other retailers.
Most private-label wines compete at the low end,
where the average price is less than $5 a bottle.
Annette notes, “We are one of the very few private-label brands that focuses on quality wine at the premium, super- and ultra-premium wine level—at
Costco prices.” (See “Good wine made well” on the
Even the approach to wine selection is more
sophisticated. All Kirkland Signature wines are
highly crafted treasures that are as good as or better
than wines of similar stature while offering at least
20 percent savings.
Consideration is given to Old World European
wine-growing regions and the United States, Australia,
New Zealand and Argentina—all New World wine
The Costco Connection
Costco.com carries a premium selection of wineglasses, corkscrews and aerators, plus a full selection of Vinotemp wine cellars. Warehouses offer
wineglasses in all locations, plus wine refrigerators
and Vinturi wine aerators in select warehouses.