U.S. wines score best performance ever in International Salute to Excellence awards

Costco's wines and those of other retailers are gaining a reputation for quality and value.

With a strong performance in the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s (PLMA) 2019 International Salute to Excellence awards for private label, U.S. wines continue to shed a once-lousy image for being poorly made and rarely worth drinking.

In the competition, held recently in Amsterdam, U.S. wines won seven top honors in the category — the best performance ever recorded for wines sold exclusively by U.S. supermarkets and more than doubling the number of 2018 winners.

The award-winning wines were:

• Costco Wholesale: Kirkland Signature Bordeaux Supérieur 2016 (Bordeaux, $10), best quality; Kirkland Signature Asolo Prosecco NV (Italy, $10), best value.

• Trader Joe's: Trader Joe's Organic Grower's Reserve Merlot 2017 (California, $5), best quality; Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 (Russian River Valley, $15), best quality.

• From ALDI U.S.: Evanta Malbec 2017 (Argentina, $4), best value; Scarlet Path Zinfandel 2017 (Lodi, $8), best quality; Outlander Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Paso Robles, $9), best quality.

The showing demonstrates that U.S. private label wines continue to get closer to their European counterparts in terms of value and quality — especially among wines costing less than $15, according to the PLMA.

“This matters because wines that are sold exclusively by European supermarkets have long been considered among the best wine in the world at combining those two things,” PLMA stated.

"Don’t overlook private label store wines," said Washington Post wine columnist Dave McIntrye, one of 18 international judges who participated in the 2019 wine awards program. "These were good value, high-quality bottlings. Some stores are doing a great job sourcing really good juice.”

Wines were judged in 25 categories by varietal, style and appellation, and each category was judged for best quality and best value. The 18 men and women who judged the competition came from around the world, and included masters of wines, sommeliers, winemakers, wine writers, wine educators, and retailers. They judged 350 wines from 40 retailers in 11 countries. To see all results for the 2019 judging, visit

The International Salute to Excellence Wine Awards are a competition sponsored by the PLMA, with offices in New York and Amsterdam. The organization was founded in 1979 to promote retailers’ store brands in foods and beverages, as well as home and health products. PLMA sponsors two trade shows annually in Chicago and Amsterdam.