Kirkland Champagne – Who makes it and how good is it?

Note: I posted this article in a few years back. I just wanted to give an update on the Kirkland Champagne. It is the real deal and tastes as good as ever. A friend served the Champagne to us over the weekend, and we love the way it tastes today. When we visited the Champagne region of France in 2010, we met the winemaker who is commissioned to make this wine for the Kirkland Signature label. The article that follows is my original post and I think is an exciting read.

Kirkland Champagne – $19.99

Our last article on GoodCheapVino listed our top bargain sparkling wine selections for New Years. It included only one Champagne, and with this post, we reveal the inside information on that wine. What a total surprise when we read the back label of the Kirkland Champagne we recently purchased for $19.99. How good could it be and who the heck makes this Champagne for Costco? Well, the back label revealed that the producer of this wine is Manuel Janisson. This past September we visited the wine country of France and spent one week in the Champagne region. We rented a beautiful old country home with two other couples in the village of Le Breuil. For one week we toured the Champagne region in our rental car. One of the highlights and a most memorable experience was a two-hour tour and tasting with Manuel Janisson; yes, the guy who is presently making the Kirkland Champagne that is available this holiday season in Costco stores.

Frame this photo of the Alexander Valley

Frame this photo of the Alexander Valley for a wine lover gift

The Janisson Champagnes are beautiful wines. This Champagne House is located in the Village of Verzenay, a designated Grand Cru village. Grand Cru signifies the finest and best vineyards in the Champagne region. That is why the Janisson Champagnes have such complexity, minerality, and beautiful finish. How would the Costco Champagne made by Janisson compare? Although it may not be as good as the Grand Cru Champagnes of Janisson & Sons, this Champagne is delicious and with great character. We love the slight orange citrus aroma and delicate structure. This Champagne is a bargain at this price and indeed compares very well with the likes of Veuve Clicquot that sells for $39.

I contacted Manuel Janisson and asked him about the Costco Champagne. Here is what he had to say about it. Very few of his Grand Cru and Premier Cru grapes went into the blend of this wine. He sourced most of the grapes from other quality vineyards, and it is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The wine spends “20 months aging on the yeast.” He thinks he has developed a very balanced Champagne and with the price of $19.99, he says it is an amazing value, especially when compared to many of the second labels of the big champagne houses. He also stated that the markup on this wine is “almost nothing.” Interestingly, he says his small number of U.S. importers are not too happy that he has made these deals with Costco.

Manuel Janisson pours us a sample from the stainless steel aging tank

Bottom line, if you want real Champagne without breaking the bank, give the Costco Kirkland-labeled Champagne a try. You will not be disappointed; it is the real deal. Don’t worry about offending your guests with the Kirkland label; just don’t let them see it. The appropriate way to serve Champagne is to drape a small towel around the bottle while you serve and pour. You tell your guests that you have some beautiful Champagne from France to pour for them. They will heartily agree.

If you would like to read about our visit to Janisson and Sons, please visit the WineTraveler.

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Buy a print of this Champagne vineyard in France

Buy a print of this Champagne vineyard in France


  1. Wow, this is great news! Thank you so much for finding out about this sparkling wine which is the “real deal!” I’ll definitely be purchasing this for my New Year’s event!

  2. David Vergari says:

    Is this wine “Methode Champenoise” or Charmat?

  3. I sampled a bottle of Kirkland Champagne on New Year’s Eve eve, and it was surprisingly good. And better than some of the more expensive bottles poured that night.

    • We did a side-by-side comparison with a year-old $40 bottle of Champagne. The Kirkland was the choice of most.

  4. when you were in Le Breiul, did you stay at la Ravenne?
    we stayed there before (and we will again in April).

    did you try the wine their neighbors made?

    this isn’t a name-dropping sales pitch…. I’d welcome a response- even if “off forum”

  5. I agree, the Kirkland Champagne is fantastic!

  6. I have been drinking it for awhile. A very nice champage. Interesting to hear its’ history.

  7. I have purchased several bottles of this champagne and have been very pleased.
    Even though Veuve Clicqout is commparable, I like the Kirkland better. It’s like a party in your mouth.. CHEERS !!

  8. This Champagne is amazing. Nothing can compare to it…Its the best I’ve ever had….and for the price its a great value…

  9. The Kirkland Champagne is back! I have not seen it stocked in Costco since January. They have loads at the Redwood City store. $19.99 made by Manuel Janisson. It is the real deal!

  10. I don’t see the need to seek out actual Champagne anymore when so many outstanding sparkling wines are being made in the world. You are paying a premium just because the name Champagne is on the bottle. In California the excellent Mumm Napa wines are under $20 and the outstanding Roederer USA can be found on sale for $20. There are also amazing CAVA wines from Spain (not the under $10 industrial stuff) selling at $12 to $15. When you buy these wines you are buying top efforts from these producers. When you buy $20 Champagne you get the lowest quality of wine produced in the Appellation. To me a deal is getting the best wine for my money, not getting the wine from the most famous Appellation. I certainly don’t mean to criticize this producer, who I am sure is excellent, but the concept of buying the cheapest wines made from famous regions (including my own Napa Valley) is not the best way to find a great deal.

    I also think retailers like Costco are loaded with imitation bargains when it comes to wine. Small retailers and importers offering passionately made wines from lesser known regions are where the real deals are to be found.

  11. I also forgot to add the excellent Argyle Sparkling wines from Oregon. Great deals

  12. Merle Wexler says:

    Did Manuel Janisson also make the one now in costco stores (11/12/11)?

  13. Arthur Horowitz says:

    Although there are many fine sparkling wines fashioned after champagne, and there are even some generic champagnes sold in the US which are ugly, I don’t understand Mr. Camp’s attack on the champagne appellation. For the most part, the French big name producer’s sparklers made in California, Argentina and elsewhere, are not nearly as good, (perhaps with the exception of Roderer which comes close, but not quite) as the real thing. I find the Kirkland champagne, to be a superb wine comparable to most non-vintage “brand name” champagnes at 2/3 to 1/2 the price. Might I suggest one of my favorite California sparkling wines is Schramsberg Mirabelle and Mirabelle Rose. These are their entry level wines, but they are nearly the same price as the Kirkland product. The Rose of course is a horse of a different color, and a bargain compared to other Rose sparkling wines. The normal Mirabelle, although lovely, does not quite measure up to the Kirkland product. As far as great Cava, I have had them, but can never find the same one a second time. And if they are really great, they cost more than the Kirkland product.

  14. John Ferreira says:

    I bought the Kirkland Rose Champagne today at 24.99. This is an absolute steal. Quality of this Rose is right up there with the Cliquot Rose for about 60% less price and the Kirkland (Janisson) is better. To those who love Rose Champagne, buy what you can fast because it will run out.

    • Fantastic! Thanks for commenting on the Rose. We were there at the Champagne House and enjoy all the wines made by Manuel Janisson. Cheers, Joe

  15. nancy trimble says:

    how many calories i kirkland champagne brut 12.% ETOH in 750 ml?

    • So sorry but I do not know the answer to your question. On average, a glass of wine has about 90 calories. At least that is what I have been told.


  16. Darryl Burrows says:

    I have spent considerable time in both Reims and Eppernay in Champagne France, and I have been to many Champagne houses including Krug and Ruinart. The the we need to know in North America is that Veuve Cliquot is crap Champagne. 90% of it is sold in the USA – the French do not drink it. They drink Canard-Duchene and Nicholas Fuelatte for their everyday Champagne. Veuve Cliquot is only left to age in the bottle for 18 – 24 months, the bare minimum the laws require in France. The bulk of the other houses age their Champagne for 36 months. I have had Kirkland Champagne many times, I buy it by the case. It is a fair Champagne at a fair price. Lets put it this way, its worth more than $19.00, but the fact that most of you think that it compares to Veuve Cliquot should tell you that Veuve Cliquot is overpriced for what it is. Want to try a 90 plus rated Champagne for a great price – try Piper-Heidsieck – if you look around you should be able to find it for $ 29.99 a bottle – a steal for a great Champagne of this quality. I drink the Kirkland after we have had a couple of bottles of good quality Champagne and we are all feeling good and taste becomes less of an issue.
    If you want to buy a great sparkling wine at great prices look for sparkling wines from Burgundy – Cremant de Bourgones. They are usually less than $20.00 a bottle, for the most part use the same grapes as they do in Champagne, and being that it is right next store to the Bar Sur Aube, the most southern designated official Champagne growing region, the wines can be very similar. I hope this helps you out. Remember – put the Veuve Cloquot back on the shelf and buy something else similar in price thst is of better quality, not mass produced for unsuspecting Americans.

    • I respect your comments. Veuve Cliquot to me is the absolute best of the non vintage produced Champagnes over a span (my tasting time) from 1975 to present. If you will bring yourself up on the history of this great House of Champagne you will notice some astonishing events created by this product.
      I would gladly, blindly, put it up against all of the competition in its class and above and wager that it would win. Cheers and drink well.

  17. Overly yeasty… Would Not buy again.

  18. Emerson Snee says:

    Joe, I just ran across this great article. I am hoping you can help me. Please email me so we can talk. Thanks in advance and have a great day!

  19. The nay sayers should be proud of the Kirkland label, it is a US company successfully negotiating a deal with a true Champagne producer to provide a quality product to the US market. There are no negatives. Be proud of the label and what is stands for. I am a seasoned and professional food and wine individual. With the advent of many Cremant Bourgogne products, which I do like, the real deal is still in Champagne region, for a reason. Drink and enjoy, find the positives in life. FGW

  20. Ronald E. Mercurio says:

    Thanks for the info, I have a bottle but we haven’t tried it yet, looking forward to it. I have zero problems showing friends and neighbors the Kirkland brand, I think it’s great that they would go to the trouble of seeking out and contracting with a real vinyard in the Champagne region to bring a quality bubbly to the general public at a reasonable price, certainly better than settling for Cava and I live in Spain!


  1. […] up.  You can find it for $10.99 a bottle. As for the Champagne I mentioned earlier, here is a wonderful review of it that details where it’s from and how it’s made. You can find this beauty at Costco for […]

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