- Publish Date: Jul 30, 2010
A 50 Cent Toast Celebrating the man who brought us Two Buck Chuck. July 28th, 2010, was a sad day for Trader Joe’s, the grocery chain known for its “Tommy Bahama” style, über-friendly employees, and prices that kick Whole Foods’ tail. Theo Albrecht, the German billionaire who acquired “TJ’s” in 1979, passed away at the age of 88.
As many wine drinkers know, TJ’s is the exclusive retailer of Charles Shaw wines, also known as “Two Buck Chuck.” The impact of this $1.99 wine (hence the epithet “Two Buck Chuck,” albeit $2.99 outside CA) is nothing short of extraordinary. TJ’s sells over 20 million cases of it every year. Many people actually credit 2BC with serving as the tipping point that pushed wine consumption per capital over beer consumption for the first time in U.S. history.
But how does one make a $2-$3 wine? Back in 2002 when Bronco Wine bought the label from the “real” Charles Shaw, Napa was experiencing a grape glut. Cheap, surplus grapes from top-dog wineries were readily available, so they went into bottles of 2BC, along with grapes from Bronco’s 35,000 acre vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley.
So, let’s raise a 50 cent glass to Mr. Albrecht for inviting Charles Shaw to his stores. Like it or leave it, Two Buck Chuck has forever changed the U.S. wine landscape.
Have a memory of drinking Two Buck Chuck? Share it below.