TJ’s Two Buck Chuck-10 Years and 600 Million Bottles Later…

I was in a Trader Joe’s (“TJ’s”) today, and happened to notice the headline “Happy Anniversary Charles Shaw” on the Fearless Flyer.  The article noted “Two Buck Chuck” has been sold at TJ’s for  10 years, and a bit to my surprise, they’ve sold about 600 million  of Two Buck Chuck  (“TBC”) (along with the requisite marketing plug that it still sells for $1.99 ten years on – it is marketing after all…)  They also went on to proclaim…

Charles Shaw wine displayed in a Trader Joe's ...

Image via Wikipedia

…they’ve proven that a wine doesn’t need to be expensive to be good, drinkable wine.  These are not expensive; they are good, and they’re very drinkable.

I recall when it first came out,  I used to buy it pretty regularly.  At the time I’d just started to drink wine on a somewhat regular basis (maybe a bottle or two/week compared to five or six now), and I thought it was good.  I probably drank it, off and on, for about a year before I stopped drinking it.  Two Buck Chuck went on to spawn plenty of imitators, and a $2-$3/bottle wine can be found pretty much every where today.

Nowadays, I only consider Two Buck Chuck for Sangria.  From time to time I’ve heard tales of TBC winning blind tastings, and scoring well at this or that wine competition (don’t get me started on wine competitions).  So from time to time, I’ve wondered  if maybe I should be buying it as an everyday wine.  Then I snap out of it, as I say to myself “Life is too short to drink bad wine” (although, it would certainly make me appreciate the other wines).  Of course, what’s considered “good”, and “bad” wine is in the palate of the drinker.

The situation reminds me a bit of high-speed internet vs dial-up.  Once you’ve experienced high-speed internet, you can’t ge back to dial-up (at least I can’t!)  Of course it helps I’ve got the disposable income for high-speed internet.  I suppose if I my disposable income didn’t allow it, and I wanted internet service badly enough I could settle for dial-up.  But until then… It’s the same thing with wine for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no objection to a what I think is good $5 bottle of wine.  In fact, I picked up a couple of bottles of Chariot Gypsy  while I was at TJ’s.  Is there that much difference between a $2 bottle of wine, and a  $5 bottle of wine?  Will I enjoy a $5 bottle of wine two and a half times as much as the $2 bottle?  Probably not.  Then again, we as consumers aren’t completely rational.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad…it just IS.  When was the last time you bought a bottle of TBC?