'Two Buck Chuck' Wine

Charles Shaw Wine: Cheap Crap or Tasty Extreme Value?

Two Buck, Three Buck, or Four Buck Chuck

Depending on where you live, you can buy a bottle of Charles Shaw wine for as low as $1.99. Sold exclusively through Trader Joe's, Charles Shaw wines are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, and Beaujolais nouveau.

Unlike other low-cost, economy wines, Charles Shaw wine is bottled in glass bottles with real corks--no boxes, screw caps, or giant jugs involved. In fact, other than the price tag, Charles Shaw wine looks like any other respectable wine out there.

Charles Shaw wine even boasts various awards. In fact, Shaw's California Chardonnay took first place for Best Chardonnay from California in June 2007.

Common Charles Shaw Wines

A Wine Display at Trader Joe's

Charles Shaw Wine Myths

One of the most interesting things about this wine, other than the low price of course, is that it is surrounded by urban legends. I've heard many different stories, but here are the most popular:

  1. Airlines can no longer use corkscrews, so they dumped their stocks of wine on the market.
  2. United Airlines, in an attempt to raise some quick cash to avoid bankruptcy, sold their supply of Charles Shaw wine.
  3. Charles Shaw is engaged in a bitter divorce battle with his wife, thus reduce the value of his winery by selling the wine at the lowest possible market price.
  4. Charles Shaw's widow was so upset by the squabbling of her children over his estate, that she decided to reduce the value of their inheritances by lowering the price of the wine.
  5. Owner, Fred Franzia, is a convicted felon. He bought the label on the cheap from the ex-wife of the real Charles Shaw. He's trying to pass the wine off as a Napa wine, although the grapes come from all over.

Watch Out for the Wine Hangover--Cheap or Not

Whether you buy economy or expensive wines, remember the best choice is to drink any alcohol in moderation.  One 3.5 ounce glass of wine contains around 74 calories.
Whether you buy economy or expensive wines, remember the best choice is to drink any alcohol in moderation. One 3.5 ounce glass of wine contains around 74 calories.

The Facts About Charles Shaw Wine

The Charles Shaw label is owned by the Bronco Wine Company, which produces a variety of low-cost wines.

Why is it so cheap?

Supply and demand: There are a lot of wines available in the world, but not the demand to meet it.

As well, Charles Shaw wine, according to snopes.com, is "almost certainly made with cheaper grapes from California's Central Valley." Bronco Wine Company owns a vinery and bottling facility in Napa, thus the label.

Is Charles Shaw a real person?

You bet! He bought a Napa winery in the 1970's, but sold it after his divorce in 1991.

Is Charles Shaw wine only temporarily available at this price?

There is no reason to rush out and stock up on Charles Shaw wine: it won't suddenly vanish from the market. Although, the price of a case is fairly low, so feel free to buy plenty if you wish.

Is it good wine, or crap?

You know that saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"? Well, wine is in the taste of the beholder. Some people love it, others think it is "okay", while others don't like it at all. The best way to decide is to shell out a couple bucks and taste it for yourself.

Remember to drink in moderation and stay safe.

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Comments 39 comments

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks, I will test it out, I just drink beer occasionally. I heard wine is good for health, maybe I will try this a little. Thanks.


Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle Author

A glass of red wine can be beneficial for your health. The important thing to remember is that moderation is key. Too much of anything can be harmful--even when it comes to consuming something as simple as water.


burn-calories 8 years ago

Finally - who likes to go broke drinking wine!


catalonia spain 8 years ago

I think Stacie hit the nail on the head - moderation is definitely the key.


Guru-C profile image

Guru-C 8 years ago

Sounds like it would be perfect for a big party, and for a coq au vin as well!


Nanc 8 years ago

2 buck chuck is the best! Cheap and good!


robertostray profile image

robertostray 8 years ago from Glendale, CA

Charles Shaw is perfect for cooking! Sometimes you get a bottle that really tastes good too!

THANKS FOR THE HUB


terry440 8 years ago

LOL - the "two buck chuck" title really drew me in! I don't think I have ever found a $2 bottle of wine!


sated00 8 years ago

LOL~forget moderation...third glass in 30 minutes...


Rosa 8 years ago

Chucky Shaw now has White Zinfandel!


Rhianni32 profile image

Rhianni32 7 years ago from Colorado, US

Good hub. I really wish we would get a Trader Joe's out here in Colorado. I hear good things about 2 buck chuck.


jdobb 7 years ago

I love Charles Shaw (two buck chuck, which is now 2.99) wine. I buy it by the case when I get to a Traders Joe. I have not had a bad bottle yet!


Barbara 7 years ago

Where in New Jersey can you buy Charles Shaw wine? We have a Trader Joe's but they do not sell alcohol?


Jim 7 years ago

Is there a store where I may purchase Charles Shaw in Denver, Colorado?

Thanks, Jim


Lindsay 7 years ago

I love Charles Shaw wine! They have a great Merlot and a wonderful Shiraz. Yes, you can taste the difference from the very expensive bottles, but just barely. This is a great everyday wine...good to enjoy or glass or two after a long day at work! Perfect for parties too...you can supply great wine for next to nothing!


Emme West profile image

Emme West 6 years ago

For the money, Two(or Three) Buck Chuck is the best!


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

I have never tried this wine,but i will. I buy what ever is on sale. lol I also make my own. That taste great too. The longer you let it set the better the flavor.


Betty Reid profile image

Betty Reid 6 years ago from Texas

My boyfriend makes fun of his dad for buying this wine. I think it tastes good, certainly comparable to other good, cheap wines.


Essertier 6 years ago from Arcadia, California

Interesting article. Years ago I worked at Young's Market Company, the distributor of the original Charles Shaw wines. Charles Shaw and I worked the market together attempting to develop his love of love's...Beaujolais. That was his focus. Unfortunately, the American market didn't embrace Beaujolais the way the french do. Like you said, he did get divorced and sold his name "Charles Shaw" to Fred Franzia and his winery to another producer. Franzia sources most of his fruit from the Central Valley and actually produces a palatable portfolio of products. Having been in the wine business over 37 years, I am not the demographic Trader Joe's is after. I will simply say Trader Joe's has probably converted a lot of non wine drinking people into drinking wine people because of the price.

Cheers,

Bill Essertier


Chase 5 years ago

I bought a case, the Cab is great! I have spent $80 bucks a bottle of wine, and I like this the same.


Rod 5 years ago

Great wine for a great price with no MSG hangovers.


bb 5 years ago

Tried the $1.99 Charles Shaw Nouveaou from the Trader Joe's today.

I liked it a lot. I am glad non of the above commenters indulged in the "wine talk" (for example hint of mushroom, chocolate, and berries).

All I can say is that it was pleasant, fruity, sweet. Not much different from the fairly expensive ones that I have tried.


DavidLivingston 5 years ago

That is an interesting read. You caught my eye.


ClarenceRoberts19 5 years ago

very good stuff there


Weever Morgan 5 years ago

I love Charles Shaw wine! Every year l look forward to November I cant wait for the nouveau to come out . I buy it by the case It's simply delicious I have had several other wines and the taste is not much different from the more expensive ones I've tried wish nouveau could stay on the market all year!!!!


marcolino 5 years ago

As someone who has worked on wineries in California during most of my summers, this wine is a real bargain.

This wine is easily on par with many of the $8.00-$9.00 bottle wines. I've just returned from a trip to the SF Bay Area. Popping around seeing friends and relatives, this is the wine that people go with. I think people are more impressed and surprised with this $2 wine, than trying to impress people with the $35.00 per bottle stuff. I noticed that this is a wine that you don't have to intellectualize before drinking and that's great! People don't sniff it, swirl it or become snobs with it. They do what people are suppose to do with wine and that'd drink it. 'nuf said!


Claus Ottesen 5 years ago

I like fruity taste, whit the sweet aroma, when you pour a glass, great stuff, shame it is only for a months, you can get it.


MarkAse profile image

MarkAse 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

Dirty secret in the wine industry is that no matter where the winery is, the grapes hardly come from the same site (unless we get into the $40+ price point).

Shaw's grapes are from massive farms in the Central Valley, hardly anything which would remind you of Napa.


Elena 5 years ago

Is there a store where I may purchase Charles Shaw in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

Thanks, Elena


Debbie 5 years ago

We buy 15 cases of "Two Buck Chuck" every year!

Everyone enjoys it! We serve it at all of our family gatherings and give it away for prizes at our events! So far.....no negative comments from everyone. $2.99 a bottle for wine that tastes good....what's to complain about?!


cyn2much 5 years ago

I catered a very sophisticated wine tasting party..... They were all walking around and acting like they were so much better than the staff...They had $300.00, $200.00,

$100.00 bottles of wine and two buck chuck.. to choose from... guess which one

one.... you guess it.,.. two buck chuck..... i laughed he rest of the night!!! I love two buck chuck chardonnay!!


jokeriswild 5 years ago

2 buck chuck is indeed a good glass of wine


wine junkie 5 years ago

I first heard of Charles Shaw wines during a 60 Minutes segment years ago. It was noted in the interview that NYC chefs, sommeliers and wine connoisseurs rated his product as good or better, than a vey expensive wine in a blind tasting. At that time, my husband was bringing home a $40.00-60.00 bottle of wine every evening. When I tried the Charles Shaw Cabernet, I was not disappointed. I might add, that I have a good palate. I was the only participant in a recent wine class, that was able to identify a 100 year old $300.00 French wine!


Roger L. Castonguay 4 years ago

Is it good wine? I can only answer that question this way: Taste is to the palate of the beholder. Besides, I defy any so-called wine connoisseur to discern the difference in a blind test between a $2 wine and a $20 wine. I'd be willing to bet that most can't.


suzy 4 years ago

Live in Tx so wine has to come in w/friend; really enjoy the reds; the whites are also good. Wish I could buy here as don't know when friend's gonna make another trip!


jerrcar 4 years ago

We've tried Charles Shaw wines of every variety, and we've found the Beaujolais nouveau and the white zinfadel our favorites. We've enjoyed many of them, such as Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet, and others, but these two are our favorites...plus cheap at that. Unfortunately, the nouveau is a holiday wine and not always in supply.


Vino4Me 4 years ago

Can I order 2buckchuck online?


jerrcar 4 years ago

We enjoy all the Charles Shaw wines, but our favorites are: White Zinfadel, Beaujolais Nouveau, and Shiraz. Trader Joes in Charlotte, N.C. gets our constant business.


Doreen 4 years ago

Good for the price,yes. No matter if you have a glass or a bottle this wine results in a horrible hangover and really effects the digestive tract starting in the body of the stomach, all the way through the sigmoid colon and everyting in between !

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