The most powerful wine buyer in the world, Costco's lead wine buyer Annette Alvarez-Peters doesn't understand why wine is any different than toilet paper. Last night CNBC ran a special called "The Costco Craze: Inside The Warehouse Giant," which featured Alvarez-Peters in what might as well have been a six-minute segment on wine ignorance. Here's a preview:
Alvarez-Peters: "Is it more special than clothing, is it more special than televisions? I don't think so."
CNBC's Carl Quintanilla: "Certainly it's different than toilet paper? Or different that tin foil?"
Quintanilla: "Because it's personal."
Alvarez-Peters: "People can look at it that way. But at the end of the day, it's a beverage."
That's who is charge of over one billion dollars in wine sales per year, selling "more wine than almost any retailer in the world." She is also in charge of setting prices on wines that affect most of the country's small wine retailers, as well as heading a team of seventeen international and domestic buyers. But what's the big deal? Wine is, like, the same as selling a bunch of TVs.
The saddest part about all of this is that Costco's former buyer, David Andrew, was a real wine lover. He left in 2003. In an America with more wine professionals than ever before, Costco didn't see a reason to replace him with a wine buyer and wine educator that actually knew anything about wine. In fact, before Alvarez-Peters landed the job, she worked as a buyer in Costco's auto parts division. But what's the difference, right? To the video:
Video: The Costco Craze: Wine