I was watching a CNBC special on Costco and the wine buyer for them, Annette Alvarez-Peters, had the best sound bite I may have ever heard. She was talking about her position as the wine buyer and was asked if wine, which constitutes over a billion dollars of Costco’s sales, is more special than televisions or toilet paper. After she said she did not think so, her interviewer remarked it is because it is special. To which she replied, “People can look at it that way. But at the end of the day, it’s a beverage.”
I think far too often we lose sight of wine, beer or liquor as simply being a beverage, albeit a fun and tasty one most of the time. You can spend thousands of dollars on a wine and end up with corked vinegar or find something palatable in a sub ten-dollar price point. There is some thrill to opening a vintage expensive bottle, but if it doesn’t blow your socks off it’s much more satisfying to have an inexpensive bottle to accompany the meal. Often with work we spend above average amounts on wine with dinner, but when you come home that philosophy is out the door and the bargain is what we are after. I remember once being at Ruth’s Chris and having the house Cabernet. It was very tasty so we decided to have another round. 4 glasses at $9 per glass or 36 beans. Before we left we asked what it was and it was 14 Hands Cabernet. The next night we were at another restaurant and asked if they had 14 Hands Cabernet, they did so we got a bottle for $24. After dinner we went to the wine store next door and picked up a bottle for $10. Later I got it by the case and it was most likely less than $9. So an entire bottle for what RC charged for a glass and most would think since it is RC it is high-end wine as opposed to a sub ten-dollar price point.
So to all the wine snobs out there, you can spend your paycheck on expensive wine to impress your friends, but know when you come to my house you get our house Cabernet…14 Hands.
Video of Costco buyer is located here: