Trader Joe's Hikes Price of 'Two Buck Chuck'

Back-to-back years of bad crops raised production costs for the Trader Joe's standby, named for a former Napa Valley vintner who left the wine business years ago.

After an 11-year run as perhaps the most drinkable cheap wine around, "Two Buck Chuck" fell victim to inflation this month.

The iconic Trader Joe's shiraz and cabernet sauvignon wines are retailing for $2.49 in California stores, up 50 cents from the $1.99 price tag that made the wines famous. In Georgia stores, including Peachtree Corners, the price is $2.79. (Prices vary by state due to taxes and shipment fees.)

Jokes abound, renaming the Charles Shaw line as "Inflation Chuck" and "Upchuck" (referencing the price, not the quality of the wine).

The winemaker, Bronco Wine Co., said poor grape crops affected costs. The company owns about 45,000 acres of vineyards, which had stablized grape production to some extent, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

The cheap wine had already increased in price in other states. California was the last to see prices rise.

Last year Trader Joe's sold about 5 million cases of Charles Shaw, named for a former St. Helena vintner who sold his wine label to Bronco owner Fred Franzia in 1991, reportedly for less than $20,000.

Two-Buck Chuck fans, should the well-known wine be renamed? If so, what's your suggestion?

This article first appeared in the Napa Valley Patch. 

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