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Costco? Fuhgeddaboutit. In an update at, Jeff Siegel reported yesterday that while Costco’s apparent practice of requiring any new wine placements <$15 retail to have already scored 90 points was never official, it was verbalized enough in the marketplace to have been communicated by four independent sources. So it may not have been policy, but it’s pretty safe bet it was shmolicy. Costco corporate brass must have had their reasons—heck, one might even argue that they were saving a lot of potential shelf-suitors time/effort. Whatevuh. My overarching argument remains undiminished: scores are prone to abuse once they leave the wine media; and any sales model that hinges on ratings is inherently flawed and a sign of retail ignorance.

It was gratifying to see the depth and range of comments left on the post, stretching from the 100-point scale itself to the way stores buy and how people shop. I was also stupefied to see the vitriolic reaction my “sausage factory” line prompted over at How he took the metaphor as a personal attack I still don’t know. Anyway, I sure didn’t mind the additional traffic to the site, and I was already working on a Sausage Factory sequel of sorts (funnier and more real-world), so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of keeping our bloggin’ eyes on the prize, I’m posting today about the anti-Costco—a brand new retail shop in my general ’hood, Wine Geeks of Armonk {}. Spawned in a renovated vintage gas station, Wine Geeks is a compact one-room joint that could have hardly been imagined 20 years ago. Devoted entirely to artisanal wine, with a special emphasis on organic and bio-dynamic wines, it is essentially a niche within the boutique genre. Read the rest of this entry »