No more Charles Shaw wine for Bob

We’ve been buying the $2 Charles Shaw wine ever since Trader Joe’s set up shop just a ten-minute walk away from our apartment. It’s nothing to write home about, but it’s drinkable and hey, you can buy a case for $24.

No more. We unfortunately saw the TV special about the product. It turns out the man making it, Fred Franzia, is quite an unsavory character. He’s a convicted felon—and the crime had to do with wine and mislabeled grapes, and cost him $3 million in fines. He looks really unpleasant. He bought the label on the cheap from the ex-wife of the real Charles Shaw. He tries to pass his wine off as a Napa wine although the grapes come from all over.

Every time we drank the wine after that it tasted worse and worse. Now we’ve given Charles Shaw the boot and moved up to the premium $2.99 bottles.

42 Responses to “No more Charles Shaw wine for Bob”

  1. not Robert Mondavi Says:

    What a phony, self-serving crock of s—- you just spewed. Who is this? Robert Mondavi? Or some other bitter winery owner who is pissed that a quality wine can be bought in the US for just $2?

  2. jk Says:

    here here!!!

  3. dave patel Says:

    what dist carry is it in n.j.

  4. Fish VR4 Says:

    Quality wine???? This stuff is a joke. What a scam. You get a glut of grapes, bottle it and sell it to one retail outlet, pay some media personalities to promote it and BAM! excellent wine…gimme a break

  5. larryj Says:

    to dave—exclusively through Trader Joe\’s stores, don\’t know if they\’re in NJ. to \”not Robt Mondavi\”\”—quality wine is in the \”mouth\” of the beholder. If you like it, then Salut! But it\’s possible to trade up to $5 to $8/btl (i.e., HRM Rex Goliath)and get something with more balance, fruit, character & heart in light of the current oversupply of grapes—which BTW shows signs of leveling out. This will leave the so-called \”super-value wines\” with some challenges in maintaining their current price/performance ratio. For me, Bob\’s citation above of Fred Franzia\’s dishonest practices is reason enough for any consumer to stop buying it. Fast Freddy has always played with the edges of legality and taken advantage of every loophole there is. He\’s a smart, wealthy bizman, but he represents a phase in the current wine industry. We\’ll see what happens. Look at Gallo—they have begun moving steadily towards a more sophisticated wine market with their Gallo of Sonoma brand. A bit tof trivia—in the 70s, 50% of the juice in Gallo Hearty Burgundy came from Napa vineyards. Now, there was a bargain!

  6. Danielsan Says:

    There will always be people (and winemakers) that strive for the top, and those that \”settle\” for the bottom. Welcome to \”Two-buck Chuck\”. At $2.00 a bottle, I don\’t think anyone should be terribly surprised that the grapes come \”from all over\”. I think we should be far more surprised that it comes in glass bottles. The origin of the grapes is a fraction of the process.

    Ownership of the winery surprises me. If it\’s the same notorious Franzia, then he is in part responsible for the negative connotations of \”White Zinfandel\”, but perhaps is owed credit for generating a demand for a uniquely American/Californian grape.

    I don\’t want to come off as a wine snob, but if you\’re drinking $2.00 wine (in this country anyway), the politics of the producer is among the least of your issues.



  7. ketha Says:

    who cares what the price is, if you like it go for it! i have a few cases of charles shaw and a couple cases of caymus conondrum, theres always a wine for everyday.go with the flow!

  8. wendy Says:

    What a snob. Who cares about the related factors. The bottom of the line is taste, & CS most definitelys is in line with any 8. wine.

  9. Sandra Says:

    Stop wasting time by WHINING and enjoy the WINE – sounds to me like ALL of you need a glass (or two) of anything – who gives a F*** if it\’s two buck chuck – the taste is on the palate of the tastee – cheap or not – get a life!!

  10. Donna Says:

    Just had my first glass of CS the other night. It was much better then the other cheap stuff they were serving at the party. I drink a lot of merlot and Cabe around the $12 to $15 range and I found this to be on the same par. Can\’t wait to buy a few cases myself. I found a Trader Joe\’s a couple hours north of me and I\’m on my way.

  11. Peter Says:

    The wine is clearly labeled a \”California Wine.\” Do some research into the labeling laws of wine and liquor, these are the vague boundaries of labeling that all the companies attempt to get around. And it cannot be that bad of a product after having won awards, i.e. the shiraz.

  12. Licle ma balz Says:

    You guy are disgusting and are losers. Only heathens drink cheap wine. Get a life and grow up.

  13. John Gall Says:

    I visit California twice a year and always drink Two Buck Chuck because it tastes good. Sure I could buy more expensive wine but since I can\’t get this in Minnesota its a kick and tastes good to me. Not saying its the best but its always fun when you get something that you enjoy more then what you paid for it.


  14. Guil Says:

    When at first I tested 2BC I was aprehensive. Once invited to my brother\’s home he had a whole box of 2BC waiting for me. I felt ackward at my brother\’s welcoming gesture. He knows I love wine with my supper meal so he was prepared that I leave alone his more \”expensive\” and \”better\” wines. Slowly but surely though, after trying 2BC varietals finally I settled for the flavor of the Merlot. I love it. And in this page, I found out about the Winery owner\’s feisty and marginal past. I remember back in the mid-sixties, Franzia wines and their big bottles as if bottled to be carried away on a wheel barrow, they tasted awful. It was the kind of wine one only bought once and dumped the contents as it tasted bad. However, UC Davis wine technology made a big difference in the industry and today\’s 2BC is a great tasting red fluid.

  15. chloe Says:

    i\’m actually really suspicious of this stuff as well. i think there has been a glut in the grapes in california. and i\’ve heard that half of it is due to global warming which is making the climate for particular varietals migrate, in this case north. so, anyway, i totally agree wine should be more affordable… but i think the italians learned that long ago… to just make a table wine is decent….and it\’s stable and cheap.
    yet, both the cab and the shiraz i have had horrified me with their bouquet…. i cannot say so much about its ouvre on the palette, but just that…after the bouquet, one is suspicious of that as well… my shiraz, i have tried just now has made me suspicious enough because it seemed to have a cloying (almost like urine) bouquet… of too much sweetness, and then no legs, and i suspected how it was i tasted no sweetness in the wine, but smelled it in the bouquet.

    anyway… it\’s a scary wine, amid our times of biotech, industrial agriculture… which is not hte same as viticulture and mass wine making anyway…

    i guess you just cannot ensure that your whole production is good, it\’s a risk…but it\’s a risk the wine drinker swallows even if it is only for a measly two dollars…

    i am personally a bit offended. that\’s all… it\’s like this company assumes americans do not have better taste. and will sell us the bad with the good…
    indiscriminate – that\’s what it\’s called.

  16. tom Says:

    Just went through my first couple of bottles of 2buck…..I found the Merlot and Shiraz not bad at all…..but is it me or has anyone else found the \’buzz\’ missing? I think I could drink a couple of bottles and still pass a sobriety test…LOL!

  17. Lauren Says:

    I want to shake the winemaker\’s hand.I\’m enjoying the new (at least, to me) gamay beaujolais and it is splendid.I like the other varietals as well. I hope the price doesn\’t go way up after the glut, since he knows what he\’s doing. I\’ve read some of the other comments and I\’m thinking that the pissy ones are from Napa Valley vintners who would rather let the grapes go to mold rather than sell them for less.I\’ve been to art receptions and other gatherings where they wouldn\’t pour anything ghastly and it\’s Chucky Shaw all the way.Lighten up your mind and taste with your tongue.
    A Sonoma County Wine Lover,

  18. James Says:

    I think two buck Chuck wine is a great wine for the price. Considering many wines that are highly overpriced don\’t offer much more in taste as Charles Shaw wine does. I\’ve tasted better wines, this is true, but CS wine is a good deal to anyone and i\’ll continue to buy them by the case. Another inexpensive wine is Ecco Domani, it runs around 6-9 dollars. If I can\’t find that one i\’ll always have two buck Chuck on standby.

    James 11-25-2004

  19. James Says:

    I think two buck Chuck wine is a great wine for the price. Considering many wines that are highly overpriced don\’t offer much more in taste as Charles Shaw wine does. I\’ve tasted better wines, this is true, but CS wine is a good deal to anyone and i\’ll continue to buy them by the case. Another inexpensive wine is Ecco Domani, it runs around 6-9 dollars. If I can\’t find that one i\’ll always have two buck Chuck on standby.

  20. Lauren Chappie Says:

    i just tried the merlot and was amazed to find out that it was only $2. i have yet to try any of the other varieties, but for $2 a bottle, i’m not going to complain. beats some of the $15+ bottles of merlot that i have bought in the past. put snobbery aside for once and just enjoy the wine for it’s taste.

  21. claudia handley Says:

    Two Buck Chuck is $2.99 here in Michigan. It is a “nice american table wine”. I have been lucky enough to enjoy some very fine and wonderful wines over the last thiry some years that I have been drinking wine. I am not embarassed to serve Charles Shaw. I never have had a guest be disapointed. The bottle is always empty at the end of a meal. If a real wine snob is coming for dinner I break out with the better stuff.
    Thank You Freddy. You make being fiscally resonsilbe easy
    cludy 1-26-2005

  22. just another wine steward Says:

    Wow…so much controvery over a lousy bottle of wine. Trust me, as I have to deal with cheap consumers all day…if they drink 2BC (and like it), regardless of what other higher quality wines they might also drink and/or have had in the past (or say they have had, as a means of defending their current choice to consume 2BC…”Oh yeah, while I also drink the 2001 Whitehall Lane Cab-Sav”), they have unsophisticated palates. Hey, why not upgrade to Yellow Tail or Walnut Crest, then you can have even more to brag about to your also palate-challenged friends. So, if you ever happen to find yourself in my shop, or in any store with a fellow sommelier, please leave us alone, for our knowledge, expertise and time will surely be wasted on you. Ciao…

  23. Johnny Says:

    Where can I buy the wine from the winery directly? What is the contact number?


  24. Rachel Says:

    I’ve heard that the best way to enjoy Charles Shaw is to go to your local Trader Joe’s when they’ve gotten their lastest shipment in, then try one bottle of the wine and if it’s good, go ahead and buy a case—each shipment seems to vary in quaility…. but for a broke student like myself, one really isn’t especially picky when it comes to 2 dollar wine

  25. Diane Says:

    Such a deal! Pour into a nice wine glass and it’s “Simply the best”! A wine snob couldn’t tell the difference.

  26. guido Says:

    But a wine retailer can! When you get over your cold, try tasting that up against a ‘99 St. Supery Dollarhide Cabernet, or even the McManis wines. The Merlot, Cab, and Syrah are only $9.99 and well worth the price. Face it that for quality wine, you may have to fork over a couple extra bucks. And when you come in to my store to buy it, quit trying to convince me that it is good- I taste I don’t even know how many wines on a daily basis and know that it isn’t!

  27. Larry Says:

    Hey BOB – thats cool – just leaves more for me to drink


    PS None of your “Urban Ledgends” are true – it is just good cheap wine form California

  28. Davo Says:

    Charles Shaw (aka “2 Buck Chuck”) is only available at Trader Joes stores. It is produced by Bronco Wines, which is owned by the Franzia family (yes, the same Franzia that sells box wines).

    The reason we have this wine right now is that there is a glut of unsold wine on the market—some from very well known producers.

    When you own a winery, you make a certain amount of wine each year. In good years, it all sells. In bad years, it doesn’t, and you have lots and lots of leftover stock just sitting there—bringing you no revenue.

    So Bronco buys the wine used in “2 Buck Chuck” (2BC) from a variety of wineries who need to get rid of their wines for cashflow reasons—and therein lies the problem:

    You can get a great bottle of 2BC, and a lousy bottle of 2BC—it all depends on who Bronco bought the wine from.

    Once the wine market picks back up, the better wineries will go back to selling most of their stock. At that point they’re not going to *need* to sell it cheap to Bronco—which means the quality of 2BC is going to go down, once the overall market picks up.

    In other words, as soon as the market improves and more folks buy wines for $14 a bottle, the producers will no longer sell off their $14/bottle wine to Trader Joe’s $2 a bottle. You’ll be getting the same wine costing a lot more with the “designer label”.

    In the meantime, if you find a really tasty batch of 2BC, don’t be afraid to stock up. Just realize that the next shipment that comes in probably won’t taste the same.

  29. Jordan Says:

    To Dave Patel, try Westfield, NJ. Check out this web site “Buzz about Charles Shaw” or something like that.
    Good Luck!!! Jordan

  30. dsb Says:

    Hey, if you like it….go for it. So many snobs. I am so glad you have a more sophisticated palet than the norm. It is really quit impressive. I think it comes from sexual repression.

  31. phil Says:

    living in the san francisco bay area…only a couple hours from napa…my fiance and i have easy access to some of the best wines in the world and we are members of several wine clubs…recently i mention 2bc to a friend of mine and she gave me this look of disgust as if i were some sort of heathen or something…i explained to her that i have a mini cellar full of much more expensive wines…but when push comes to shove…cs is exactly what it says it is “a table wine”…it has no pretenses of glory whatsoever…i agree with the folks who have discussed the inconsistencies because there certainly are good batches and bad batches but bottom line…if you feel like a couple of glasses at wine while your sitting around at home…it definitely does the trick…

  32. The Hawk Says:

    As so many posts have stated, “If you like the taste, go for it”. Why pay $8 a bottle when $2 a bottle tastes just as good? Or am I overlooking the snob factor, that you “get what you pay for”

  33. K Dogg Says:

    Just drink the damn wine and if you don’t friggen like it then don’t buy it. More for me and the rest of the 2BC fans…

  34. Chugz Alot Says:

    Couldn’t agree more with many of you posters and especially posts #28 & #31 and many more.. 2BC is damn good for $1.99 a bottle. I love to drink, and so do my friends..making two dollars a pop a winner. A case handy (I mix up the 6 varieties) seems to please everyone along with the various brews and mixed cocktails on hand. I totally agree, why pay the $9+ for a bottle of table wine? If one loves such brands so much so be it (Enjoy!), heck I do about my vodka and beer..I’m Very picky on occasion. Right now I’m enjoying a bottle of Shiraz…

    Couple things, YES it is TRUE that vats vary. When you find a particuar bottle from a lot at the local TJ’s especially good, get a few cases. Just look at the case box it came in, the date and lot #’s can be clearly seen.

    Two: My great cousin is a famous wine connoisseur and author of many wine guides (also an MD). Some in series, some alone. His wine cellar contains bottles I could live on if sold. I don’t see his family often but my parents told me they played a joke on him & brought over a few bottles of 2BC…knowing he would break out the good stuff. Well his opinion was something to the sort of 2BC isn’t at all bad and would take it over more known, costly wines as an all around table wine.

    I like 2BC…especially when I’m tired..kickingback watching a movie or tv and a brew or a couple mixed drinks doesn’t sound good.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    OK READ THIS! I had never heard of Charles Shaw until I attended a wine tasting party. All the tastings were blind. There were 20 bottles of “good” wine with a couple bottles of 2 buck chuck thrown in there. Well, the numbers of all 20 guests were compiled and guess what was rated number 1 at the end of the night…that’s right, Charles Shaw Cab. I was shocked too until I tried another bottle a couple weeks after and still found it to be good. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a good expensive bottle of wine now and then. But if you compare this to other wines in the $20-30 range it’s a great value.

  36. Steph Says:

    Please hear this..BOB….apparently you have not done much research. This wine you speak of as being “felloned” is simply a mistake. Mr. Fred Franzia may not be the pope,when it comes to honesty, but he happens to own these vinyards as well: Forest Glen, Estrella, Montpellier, Grand Cru, Silver Ridge, Rutherford Vinyards, Hacienda, Fox Hollow and Napa Ridge… so, when you go to the store are you having to sift through these wonderful wines as well. I wouldn’t pass judgement on this wine. For it price, it the best I’ve tryed. (including the other vinyards, listed above) which are compriable competitors! ENJOY!. what a value!

  37. bock Says:

    you know you guys can defend and implicate all you want… here it is in a nutshell…i have had napa (other) i have had sonoma i have had bernardo and i have had a wine distributor as a client and have had some damn good wine from france spain germany and romania. while it isn’t the best wine ever it’s damn good wine … so you can argue corporate politics all you want doesn’t change the taste of the wine. and when was the last time you refused to buy a mac because you didn’t like steve jobs or wouldn’t use windows because even bill gates admits he stole the technology. WELCOME TO REAL LIFE. Good Wine Homie! imma drivef from pittsburgh to columbus next week for another case!


  38. bock Says:

    oh btw the cab is QUITE tasty i am on my 3rd glass after having a glass of french sparkling with dinner


  39. mrkuuaku Says:

    I just took a trip to Hawaii and took two bottles of Charles Shaw Cab and two bottles of Chas Shaw Chard. I took a bottle of Shafer Cab and one Rombauer Chard.

    I had a wine tasting. My Hawaiian friends preferred the Shaw over the Shafer. The Shafer was young and strong. The Shaw is blended to drink right now! The Shaw Chard is to me “instant Headache Charodanny”. That s no dig however, because so is Edna Valley and Gloria Ferrara (sp).

    There was a lenghtly feature story on Mr. Franzia in the Wine Spectator this month and after feading it, and being a businessman, I can say I admire the man. Over 300 18 wheelers hauling grapes, (and they are his trucks) is impressive.


    sh, plus a bottle Shafer Cab and Rombauer Chard.

  40. Vaag Says:

    TwoBuckChuck===A good wino wino—like the old 50 cent muscatels of the 50”s and early 60’s. BUT—nothing more!

  41. Karen Says:

    Any wine that doesn’t give me a headache or heartburn is great for me. CS wine, least the reds, haven’t tried the whites fill the bill for me. Pretty decent for el cheapo wine. Oddly, I’ve found white wine gives me a headache so I tend to avoid them.

    Now, cheap beer? That’s a different story. Life is too short to drink cheap beer. But Trader Joe’s also has some great tasting beer. I especially like the Winterfest.

  42. Cindy Says:

    Hey, this ia America. If you don’t choose to buy it, who cares!

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