This $20 Sam’s Club Holiday Staple Is a Total Dupe for a Fancy Name-Brand Favorite
If your holiday soundtrack involves the sounds of bottles popping and glasses clinking, you’ve come to the right post. Sparkling wine is practically the official drink of New Year’s Eve (if not the entire month of December) — and yes that includes low– and non-alcoholic varieties as well. Those Wednesday morning meetings aren’t going to run themselves … yet.
While many of us would love nothing more than to toast the season with fancy bubbly from now through the ball drop, that’s not exactly the most economical (or realistic!) way to spend our hard-earned dollars. Enter: Sam’s Club.
On a recent trip to The Club — via a Real-Housewives-esque party bus — I learned a lot about its Member’s Mark Champagne Didier Dumond Brut (aka the warehouse’s store-brand bottle of bubbly). The team, according to the Sam’s Club IG, “partnered with a family of winemakers with over 100 years of experience, and did multiple tastings” before landing on the bubbly in this bottle, which launched in October 2021.
If you’re thinking hey, that bottle looks familiar, then you’d be correct. The Champagne bottle is strikingly similar to a name-brand favorite, from the gold-foiled wrapping down to the yellow-orange label.
There is one very big distinction: the price tag. At the time I visited, the Member’s Mark Champagne was $19.98, compared to $59.48 for the name-brand bottle. That’s roughly a third of the price.
Of course, that discount means nothing if the Champagne itself is anything less than stellar. So I did what almost any grocery editor with a store credit courtesy of Sam’s Club would do; I grabbed a bottle of each and headed for checkout. The following week I brought both to our office Friendsgiving and asked coworkers to take part in a blind tasting comparing the two. What happened next was pleasantly surprising.
After chilling both bottles in the same fridge for the same amount of time, I popped them open and poured the Champagne into a mix of unmarked flutes and coupes. Several people leapt at the chance to drink free Champagne — the best kind. (Where were many of you when canned pumpkin came around?!)
Tasters took one glass from each group and sampled them one after the other. In addition to asking tasters to describe each of the Champagnes, and what they liked (or didn’t) about them, they had to guess which was the Sam’s Club brand and which was the $$$ bottle. It wasn’t long before the glasses were empty and the results were in.
Nearly half of the tasters thought the Member’s Mark Champagne Didier Dumond Brut was actually the more expensive bottle. “I was convinced I could tell the difference between the two Champagne options,” says Cullen, our Home Associate Editor, “but I was SO wrong.” She thinks “both Champagnes have an elevated taste,” and even ended up mixing the two together. (She wasn’t the only one either.)
Rebecca, our Vice President of Audience Growth, likes that it “has more of a bite,” “pear flavor,” and
“more/bigger bubbles!” (Its tart flavor reminds Camey, our Director of Brand Partnerships, of green apple, which she is very into.) Several tasters also note it’s slightly sweeter than the name-brand counterpart.
Even the tasters who correctly matched the Champagnes to their bottles were impressed with the budget-friendly alt: “I really do like them both!,” says Camey. “I’d definitely bring the less expensive one to an event if I know people aren’t wine snobs.”
While Tom, a former bartender and our current Studio Producer/margarita-ologist, feels the pricier pick is “a bit more complex” with “a familiar taste of toast that can come with high-end Champagnes,” he also likes that Sam’s is “simple and light.” Adding, “I would happily buy either.”
Buy: Sam’s Club Member’s Mark Champagne Didier Dumond Brut, $19.98 for 750 mL
Have you tried Sam’s Club’s store-brand Champagne? Tell us about it in the comments below.