Costco Is Selling One Of The World's Rarest Wines, But It Comes With A Hefty Price Tag

Here at Tasting Table, we're all about grocery store wine. Costco might have only come in fourth place on our ranking of the 21 Best Grocery Stores for Wine, but now it looks like the tides could be shifting for the wholesale retailer. On the subreddit r/Costco_alcohol, one user posted a photo that was apparently taken in Newark, California, with the caption "Had to make sure I was seeing correctly." 

The photo that has fans shocked shows a single bottle of Screaming Eagle Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with a whopping price tag of $3,699.99. From the photo, the year of production is not visibly depicted on the bottle or the price tag printed by Costco. A trip to Costco might secure you a bottle of the rare vino, but a visit to the Screaming Eagle winery website will not. Fans searching for an e-commerce platform will instead find a waiting list with an average wait time of 12 years. 

And, if your name does finally get drawn, the California-based winery only ships to a limited number of states. Since the release of its vintage collection in 2010, Screaming Eagle has even embedded its highly-coveted wine bottles with a bubble-coded security system between the foil and the bottle so that their authenticity can be verified and counterfeits can be weeded out. So, yeah, it's kind of a big deal — and it's an even bigger deal that, of all places, the retailer to finally carry a bottle is the same place that sells $1.50 hotdog combos.

Believe it or not, Costco is staying true to its below-market prices

In the wine collector community, Screaming Eagle is characterized by its low production, high quality, and cult-like following. For a relatively young winery (Screaming Eagle was founded in 1986), the institution illustrates the — at times extreme — exclusivity of Napa Valley winemaking, cranking out just 500 cases per year and harvesting from a modest 57-acre vineyard. 

A single bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon regularly fetched $3,647 in 2019, making it one of the most expensive bottles of wine in America — but also making the $3,699.99 Costco price tag pretty spot-on. In 2000, a 6-liter bottle of 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon by the winery sold for half a million dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that's the equivalent of over $891,000 in 2023. Back in 2000, that 1992 bottle would have been just eight years old — a baby in vintage wine market years.

As sommelier-leaning Reddit users commented on the photo, "That is actually a great price," and, "Screaming deal." Another Redditor even chimed in with: "I don't see a limit. Clean them out." Also visible in the Reddit photo is a three-bottle set of Screaming Eagle Chateau Pichon Baron Pauillac wine aged 2015, 2017, and 2018, priced at $559.99. Costco's co-founder and former CEO has said that he'd sooner kill the current CEO than allow the price to increase on the $1.50 hotdog-soda combo. It looks like fans can put all that saved dog money toward their rare wine fund.