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If you're getting ready to stock up on wines for summer, there's a new player in the grocery-store and wholesale-club wine wars.
Sam's Club is stepping up its new private-label wine production, soon adding two additional varieties to its six-month-old line of its Member's Mark wines.
While the warehouse store has sold wine for years, this is the first time it has offered wine under its own private-label brand, a spokesperson told TODAY Food.
Right now, Sam's Club has four private wines on shelves — Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and a red blend — and will be coming out with a Prosecco and a bottled sangria soon. The best part: they're all super inexpensive and sell in the $8 to $10 range so far.
"Our members are smart and know they don’t have to pay a pretty penny for a great bottle of wine. All of our wines are created by award winning wineries — from California to Italy, Germany to Spain, our wine buyer has high standards and you can count on Member’s Mark wine to impress," the spokesperson said.
Clearly, there's competition out there: Costco sells about $1 billion in wine a year, making it one of the largest wine retailers in the world, and Trader Joe's has a famous following for those seeking out its bargain-find wine gems.
Like Costco, you do have to buy a membership to shop at a Sam's Club store (the basic one is $45 a year), and due to local regulations, the wines are available in 40 states.
Wondering which to try? Here's the inside scoop on the new and upcoming bottles — and tips on what to pair them with:
The first wine out of the gates, the Member's Mark Central Coast Chardonnay from California, scored a 92-point rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute. ($7.98 for 750 ml) Pair it with: Chicken and veggie dishes, seafood, Gruyere and mild cheddar
If a crisp, sweeter white is your thing, there's the Member's Mark Mosel Riesling from Germany. It's only out right before Thanksgiving and Easter time, as Riesling famously pairs well with turkey and ham. It also comes in a larger bottle, too, than most Rieslings. ($10.48 for 1.5 liters) Pair it with: Seafood, spicy dishes, and desserts, in addition to turkey and ham
The fruity Member's Mark Black Point California Red Blend has strong berry, cherry and toasted sweet oak flavors, the company noted, and it's meant to be very versatile. ($9.98 for 1.5 liters) Pair it with: Steaks, poultry, veggies, spicy dishes and desserts
OK, this one is intense: The full-bodied Member's Mark Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon has "concentrated flavors and firm tannins," the company said, with notes of currant, plum and black cherry. Pair it with: Burgers, steak, lamb, cheese and chocolate desserts
Sangria and Prosecco
They're not out yet, but next on Sam's Club list is a Prosecco from Italy and a bottled sangria from Spain—just add fruit.