What I really like about Costco opening in town is the additional options their inventory will provide. I like to try new brands and varietals which may not be carried by other retailers in the area. Costco definitely has great prices and their selection seems to change every visit. Since I like options, I will continue to visit my usual haunts, A & L Wine Castle, and Morgan & York in addition to Costco. When it comes to wine, if you like a particular varietal or blend, it's worth trying a similar varietal or blend from another region to compare. Similarly, if you care for a particular region, it's worth trying other varietals from the same region. Above all, have fun with it.
Here's a fun way to get together with friends and try out many different wines to see what you like. Call up a group of friends and ask them to bring two of the same bottle of a particular varietal under a specified price. Don't worry if multiple people bring the same wine. When they arrive, set aside one of the two bottles and place the second bottle in a paper bag or otherwise hide the label. Label the bottles with a number and keep a master list of friend's name, wine name, and bottle number.
Now, give everyone a scorecard and let them taste and rate all the wines. Tally up the scores and rank all the wines. Remember the first bottle that we set aside? Typically, the person that brought the highest rated wine gets to take home the wines ranked in the top 50%, including their own bottle. The person that brought the second highest rated wine gets to take home all but one of the wines ranked in the bottom 50%. Here's the twist, the person that brought the worst rated wine gets their bottle back.
At one of these parties, two people brought the exact same bottle of wine. It was selected as the winner and again in the top 50%. No big deal. There are so many variable when it comes to wine that for our group of friends it was interesting more than anything.
Here's a link to a clip from CNBC's The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant. This particular part of the show follows Annette Alvarez-Peters, Costco's lead wine buyer, as she goes about speaking to vendors, sampling products and even testing out wine that will carry the Kirkland brand.