Costco Says Its Wines Are No More Special Than Any Other 'Beverage'

costco wineWine, schmine. It's all the same, isn't it? I mean, it's just a beverage ... right?

Well, it probably is if you're buying it at Costco. CNBC just did a profile of the retail giant and interviewed the wine buyer, Annette Alvarez-Peters. And as far as she cares, wine isn't any more special than toilet paper. That holy glow around wine, the notion that you need some sort of expertise to understand it? Meh.


Alvarez-Peters: "Is it more special than clothing, is it more special than televisions? I don't think so."
CNBC's Carl Quintanilla: "Certainly it's different than toilet paper? Or different that tin foil?"
Alvarez-Peters: "Why?"
Quintanilla: "Because it's personal."
Alvarez-Peters: "People can look at it that way. But at the end of the day, it's a beverage."

Keep in mind, not only does Costco sell a billion dollars worth of wine a year, it also influences prices for smaller wine shops all over the country. And before Alvarez-Peters was buying wine, she was a buyer for the automotive department.

So okay. It's true. Wine is ultimately just a beverage. But I still want to buy it from somone who knows what they're doing. Because when I buy a bottle of wine, I'm not just buying something to wash down the pork roast. I could do that with a glass of water. We buy wine on the weekends only, and it's kind of special. Or anyway, we want it to be.

You don't have to be fancy to educate yourself about wine. And not all "good" wines are super expensive. But it does take some patience and focus. If you're really paying attention, you'll pick up on the wonderful ways different wines are unique. That's why we like buying wine from our neighborhood shop -- because the owner cares enough.

But whatever. If you're into volume and think stuff like Yellowtail Shiraz is just dandy, then Costco is perfect. I'm sure Alvarez-Peters is looking at the top sellers and filling the store with that. And as a retailer, I guess there's nothing wrong with that. But it's kind of sad that this probably means your chances of finding a low-priced gem, something special or unique, at Costco are probably nil. And my goodness, I definitely hope Alvarez-Peters is more excited about wine than she appears to be here. Because that would be a thrilling job for a real wine lover.


Where do you buy your wine? Do you think it matters where you get it?


Image via CNBC

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