Two Dollar Wine Tasting
I enjoy having a glass of red wine at the end of a long workday. It's a nice way to relax and unwind. I am not a wine connoisseur, who needs an expensive bottle and my wine tasting lessons have come from Wine Country at Disneyland's California Adventures. I drink what I like and am glad that I can still enjoy an inexpensive glass. When discussing Trader Joe's two buck chuck with a friend, they mentioned Whole Foods also had their own two dollar wine called Three Wishes. I then discovered Bay Bridge for a $1.99 at my local grocery store. It occurred to my wife and I that it would be fun to have a two dollar wine tasting contest the next time we had a group of friends over. Our tasting came at an appropriate time, since Trader Joe's is currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of Charles Shaw.
My wife, who does not like the taste of wine, served eight of us. Each serving was brought out individually and we had no idea which wine we were drinking. This way there were no preconceived ideas of what the wine "should" taste like. The Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and grocery store stigmas were taken off the table. To class it up a bit, the wine was brought out in Dixie cups.
*Below are the results*
It would be unfair to say that Three Wishes was the clear winner of our two dollar wine contest. Over half of the people picked it as their number one choice and only two people put it down as their least favorite. Some of the more positive comments were fruity, mellow and dry. Even though it won our little contest it is still a $2 wine and other descriptive words used were bitter and blah. If you are OK with lower grade wines then 3 Wishes will probably be the best choice for your pallet. More sophisticated wine drinkers will still want to avoid this brand.
We may not have had a clear winner in our contest but Charles Shaw was the definite loser. All but three people put it down as their least favorite. Nobody had anything positive to write. The only three comments left were offensive, horrible and nasty. One person actually ran to the bathroom to wash their mouth out and somebody shouted out a comment about cough syrup. When telling this story at work, a more experienced wine drinker mentioned how they won’t even cook with Trader Joe’s wine. I now believe Two Buck Chuck is a reference to people chucking it out rather than a nickname for Charles. This is the Natural Light and Milwaukee’s Best of the wine world.
*Personally, I like Charles Shaw but that might be from drinking it for so long that I have acquired a taste for it.
Only one person voted for Bay Bridge as their number one choice. Everybody else put it at second place. Although not the favorite in our contest, nobody thought it was the worse. The comments were mostly positive with fruity and sweet coming up more than once. There was a long discussion during the tasting about how similar the flavor was to Three Wishes. While Bay Bridge was sweeter, people seemed to have favored the mellowness of the other. If you are looking for a cheap wine, this one will probably be your safest choice.
Are They The Same?
If you look closely at the Three Wishes and Bay Bridge bottles there are many similarities. They both have the exact same wrap at the neck of the bottle. It has two leaves with Eco-glass.org written on the top. The corks are made of the same synthetic material and have the same design as well. The back labels of the bottles have the respective winery (Three Wishes and Bay Bridge) but everything else is the same. It reads "Vinted & Bottled by (insert brand) Vineyards Livermore & Ripon, CA." I believe they are made by the same company and just have different labels slapped on the front. What I am not as confident about is the wine itself. Does the company make the same batch and just ship it to whoever orders at the time? Is each brand tailor made according to the companies specifications?