The Wine Storage Hack That Starts With A Trip To Costco

Part of the excitement of shopping at Costco is not knowing what you'll find. You may go with the intention of picking up things you need each trip, in addition to discovering something you suddenly want, like its $5 rotisserie chicken. Aside from the bulk paper goods and laundry detergent that all Costco locations sell, your local warehouse may also be an excellent destination for purchasing and storing wine.

Like the helpful cardboard boxes members can use to package groceries, the empty wooden crates in which the wine is delivered can also be taken home. For free! These are usually clean boxes stamped with a winery logo, making them even more attractive to display in your home.

Before you dismantle the display, we're not talking about the materials used to merchandise the wine, but rather the empty wooden wine crates that line the aisles and are piled at checkout. They are available for you to take home and can be used to store wine or for another project around the house. 

Wine crate uses around the house

A wooden wine crate is an inexpensive and attractive way to store and organize your wine selection. Like a game of Tetris, the boxes can be neatly stacked to accommodate your collection. Oenophiles can allot different bins for organizing based on the wine's place of origin, grape variety, style, and whether it's vintage or an occasion wine.

Wine is delicate and susceptible to the elements, so it should be stored on its side in a dark, temperature-controlled area. You'll want to stack wooden crates on their side with the opening facing out to keep bottles horizontal. This will ensure the cork doesn't dry out and prevents oxygen from entering the bottle, which causes spoilage.

If you have a dedicated pantry in your kitchen, the crates can be used to organize ingredients, too. Oils, vinegars, and pastas can be stored in separate bins to make meal prep a little easier. This storage solution is particularly helpful if you have deep shelves where ingredients get forgotten. It lets you pull out the crates to keep tabs on them.

The crates are also a great place to store your vinyl collection, keeping with a retro vibe. (Just look for crates at least 12 inches wide to accommodate your selection of albums.) Small caster wheels can also easily be attached to make the boxes roll and more accessible — they can be purchased for a few bucks a piece at hardware stores. 

What you should know about Costco's wine selection

Just like its range of discounted products, Costco's massive international buying makes the warehouse able to shave 10-20% off the retail prices seen at other liquor stores, giving yet another reason to shop there frequently. In addition, look for price tags ending in $.49, $.79, or $.97, which indicates the wine is a special deal and likely even cheaper than normally everyday prices at the store.

Although the selection will vary by location, Costco doesn't just offer inexpensive table wines, either. The company sells collector's items in-store and online, like a presale case of Chateau Haut Brion for about $49,000, which is available to California residents. Along with familiar labels at every price point, Costco offers its signature Kirkland brand in different blends at competitive prices as well. In many cases, you can decant a bottle of the cheaper stuff without dinner guests raising an eyebrow. 

Unfortunately, state and local laws prevent some Costco locations from selling alcohol. But other regions don't require you to be a Costco member to take advantage of the deals, so check with your local Costco before heading out.