A Coveted $40k Wine Was Unexpectedly Spotted At A Costco

boxes of wine at Costco
boxes of wine at Costco - Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock

When shopping for alcohol at Costco, most people's eyes are usually peeled for deals on things like single malt scotch or Japanese whisky. So, when you unexpectedly spot a coveted wine with a $40k price tag, you're going to have some questions — the first being how it might pair with your food court hot dog or $5 rotisserie chicken. That's exactly what happened when shoppers came across a six pack of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2009 Collection at a Costco location in San Francisco listed for $39,999.99 in 2022, and again in 2024 for a pack of four bottles of the 2014 vintage.

Hailing from Burgundy, the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2014 Collection has the distinguished classification of Burgundy Grand Cru. These are known for being the most expensive wines sold at auctions, with an average price tag of $20k per bottle — which makes Costco's listing quite the steal. Popular for its intricate flavors, the Romanée-Conti label dates back to 1232. Located in the center of Burgundy, the vineyard's soil is packed with limestone and clay, which give all of its wines a distinctive terroir that only grows more and more elegant with time. While perhaps better served with a sirloin or an epoisses cheese than anything you'll find at the Costco food court, the better question here is not what to eat this wine with but how do wines of this caliber end up at Costco in the first place?

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Costco Is A Wine Power House

Bottles of Romanee-Conti
Bottles of Romanee-Conti - James Suckling / X

With roughly $2 billion in wine sales annually, Costco is one of the largest wine retailers on the globe, so it's no surprise that its team of wine buyers is composed of those considered to be some of the most influential on the globe, too. In turn, the wholesaler's chief wine buyer — be it the current Annette Alvarez-Peters or her predecessor, David Andrew — are, by industry accounts, the most powerful in the business. But Costco's overall approach to selling wine differs to that of other wine retailers in the US.

Rather than stocking up on thousands of different varieties, Costco's wine team only stocks about 100 to 120 wines at a time. That selection rolls in and out, with a wide variety of origins and prices — but only because it has the connections to be able to do so. In addition to wines sourced from prestigious regions, Costco's private label Kirkland brand has an outstanding reputation for selling great wines from noteworthy wine makers at unbeatable prices.

While the selection at Costco might be smaller than at a supermarket, every wine is chosen to deliver the consistent quality and value that customers expect. Most of what you find is based on locality and regional preference, but you never known when you'll find something unexpected like the Romanée-Conti. The catch is, though, that things are always coming and going. So if you see something you like, you better get it while you can.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.