I heart red wine. This will come as no shock to anyone that knows me. But even more than I love red wine itself, I love CHEAP red wine. This also, will not drop jaws. When I was in highschool, I fondly remember toting around jugs of Carlo Rossi as my intoxicator of choice. While everyone else slugged back Coors Light and wine coolers, I chose to sneak in past curfew with purple teeth. I’m the baddest bitch.
Maybe one day when I make more money than an immigrant grape-plucker, I’ll invest in and appreciate whatever wine is REALLY supposed to taste like. Until then, I choose Chuck: “Three-Buck Chuck”, rather – From the God-send that is Trader Joe’s. But WHERE did it come from and WHY is it so cheap? And am I going to develop some sort of unsightly growth because of the answers to these questions? Thankfully, no. “Three-Buck Chuck” (“Two-Buck” in it’s home state of CA and other regions due to varying state liquor taxes and transportation costs) is legit, and here’s how:
Pimp Daddy investment banker and wine enthusiast Charles Shaw (which is actually the given name of the brand itself AND the brand’s original winery) took his happy ass to California’s Napa Valley in the 1980′s with a dream and
a cardigan some bottles of Beaujolais-based booze. He hoped to bring his name brand wine to the masses; but, it was kind of an epic fail and Chuck was forced to sell his winery in 1991. Sadface. The Charles Shaw brand was then purchased by none other than industry tycoon Fred Franzia, CEO of Bronco Wine. Yes, as in SLAP-THE-SACK Franzia (if you’re not familiar with the game associated with the aforementioned boxed wine, you’re missing out on WAY more than a hangover).
Franzia’s cash monies breathed life into Shaw’s brand and, since it’s debut in 2001, can only be found in the privately-owned Trader Joe’s stores. It’s gained success sans marketing or advertising, which can be directly attributed to the price ($1.99-$2.99), the bottling (which gives more of an impression of class than a sack within a box) and the taste (dry, smooth & sugar-less). The dirt-cheap price has maintained itself since the Silicon Valley dot com boom in the 90′s, which produced enough economic abundance in the region to allow vineyards to plant vines to their heart’s content. More grapes meant more wine, with Wine Spectator noting that:
“What made Two-Buck Chuck click is the huge wine glut in California. There was so much unsold bulk wine … that producers were almost giving it away.”
So basically, consumers and their palettes should not shy away from the cheap Chuck in fear of poor quality, a la Franzia (although Sunset Blush is kind of delicious). Because it IS a decent wine – We just lucked out on the price due to an abundant supply of grapes and a lack of demand. Basic economics! Now, based on the Beaujolais-inspired vino that Shaw initially envisioned, Three-Buck Chuck is available in Cabernet Sauvignon, White Zinfandel, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, and Pinot Grigio. Which keeps both my bank account and my mild form of alcoholism pretty on-point.
Oh, AND I can rest assured that, much unlike my frequent occasional McDonald’s consumption, this will not give my future children 7 toes and 4 nipples. Thank you, Charles Shaw. And you’re welcome, friends.