Monday, September 1, 2014

hawking wine at Costco

A short while ago I was perusing the wine section at the Costco in Westlake Village.  We were returning from a short and much appreciated vacation and I wanted to check out the wine selection since it was right off the freeway. 

A wine rep approached me as I was looking at the various bottles and told me about how wonderful the Goyette 2011 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon was.  A magnificent wine, she raved.  I asked if it was drinking well now.  "Oh yes, definitely," she replied.  She went on to tell me how this wine was being released prior to some wine publication giving it a really high score after which time the price would shoot up accordingly.  

At that time the sticker said $14.69.  I thought what the heck, I'll give it a try, so I bought a bottle. 

There's no doubt that a high score from an influential critic is a sure recipe for moving bottles and moving them at a higher price.  On the other hand, what this woman told me really made no sense because if a very favorable review was indeed soon to be published then why not wait to release it at that time and jack up the price?  

It's like how nearly every piece of audio gear is a "bargain" because it is comparable to (i.e., worth as much) as gear selling for 3x, maybe even 5x its price.  Is that really the case?  If so, is there anything that is truly priced appropriately? 

Getting back to the wine, I recently popped the cork on the Goyette and gave it my usual four day tasting. 

The rep was right, it was ready to drink.  Was it anything extraordinary?  Not really.  It was soft and smooth on the palate, with some tea, red berries and spice on the palate. The nose did have an interesting component, something sort of like mustard greens or bok choy. That sounds weird but it was very subtle and to me was a plus and not a minus.  Would I buy this again?  Nope, because nothing really stood out.  It was decent, no flaws, but that's about it.

At the Costco where I usually go, every so often there is a rep from Cameron Hughes.  I always think it is unfortunate that he can't offer a sample, same as how the Goyette rep couldn't offer any either.  I also wonder how effective they are and if the cost of paying them for the day is a worthwhile investment in relation to the sales they generate that otherwise wouldn't have been made.  Do they work on commission?  

I do think the "personal" touch of conversing with a rep does help to drum up business but at the end of the day I wonder just how much business that amounts to. 

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