We tried 7 different wines from Sam’s Club, and the Champagne ended up defying our expectations

The Sam's Club wine proved polarizing, especially the Champagne.

The Sam’s Club wine proved polarizing, especially the Champagne.
Irene Jiang/Business Insider

The Member’s Mark Champagne from Sam’s Club has a real pop to it. When we opened it for a recent office taste test, the cork practically exploded off the bottle. A spray of champs followed, dousing the conference room carpet and sparking a desperate search for paper towels.

Six Business Insider journalists participated in the tasting, sampling and reviewing seven bottles of wine from Walmart’s members-only warehouse chain’s private-label brand. The Champagne was the second wine we tried, following the Member’s Mark Prosecco.

After that exciting introduction to the Champagne, reviewers reported that they held conflicting opinions when it came to its taste, as they did with all of the Sam’s Club wines. But tasters in both the negative and positive camps agreed that this Member’s Mark selection was, for better or worse, unexpected.

One taster who thoroughly enjoyed the bubbly said it tasted like it might come from a small “grower” vineyard. They added that, unlike the larger Champagne houses that strive to adhere to a specific and unvarying taste, these outfits tend to produce “cool” and quirky vintages that differ year to year.

“Extremely interesting,” the taster wrote. “Nice golden color, bubbles disappear quick, but the aroma is sort of yeasty, and the flavors are nutty, zingy – slightly unripe – stone fruit, and some actual funk. The wine has character.”

Not everyone agreed. A different taste tester said they were surprised by how much they hated the champs, saying it “tastes like I opened this bottle several months ago and forgot about it in the back of my fridge.”

“I would only bring this to a party if I hated everyone there,” the reviewer added.

Another taster said they’d bring it to a party, but would “be looking to upgrade to something more expensive” to serve to friends at a dinner.

Sipping on the Champagne, tasters came up with all sorts of conflicting adjectives. They described the flavor as “pungent,” “sweet,” or overly mild, with salty notes of Parmesan and fruit.

One wrote that the Champagne wasn’t “as crisp” as the Member’s Mark Prosecco, tasting “softer and fruitier” than its bubbly cousin.

While cost-effectiveness had been a near-constant source of praise for the other Sam’s Club wines, reviewers were more split than usual on the $19.98 Champagne. With a price tag close to $20, the bubbly cost more than double many of the other wines on the list. Many of the reviewers expressed surprise at the cost, although Champagne often sells for double the price of other sparkling wines.

One reviewer, who reported disliking the wine, opined that it was “a gigantic rip-off.” Another said that the price seemed “about right.”

Yet another reviewer took the middle of the road, saying they’d like to see the Champagne closer to $10.

“But, at the same time, I’m not mad at the price,” they wrote.