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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

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.

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.

Trader Joe's has locations in the Sacramento area including Roseville, Fair Oaks, Elk Grove and Davis.

Two-Buck Chuck fans, do you plan to stick with the brand and shell out a little more for your vino? Tell us in the comment section below.

Art North January 25, 2013 at 09:11 PM
I have been meaning to try Hole Foods' 3 buck chuck, but they haven't set up a sample booth yet.
Louise B. January 25, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Never liked two-buck chuck. You can get Meridian chard at some stores for about $5 - $5.99 bottle. Live a little.
Lotsaluck January 25, 2013 at 09:45 PM
While I admit Two Buck Upchuck may not be the best of wines, it is well worth the money. I can't recall drinking a really bad bottle and occasionally I find a really good one. If prices is a concern then $2.49 is still a bargain. Buying another wine for a dollar or two more to make a statement about the price increase negates any price concerns.
Madelyn January 25, 2013 at 10:10 PM
May be a stupid question, but Shiraz and Cabernet Sav. are specifically referred to. Does this include Chardonnay?
Roberto January 26, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Not to worry Madelyn. A unnamed, but well placed source within the company assured me that Chardonnay will continue to be sold under the new pricing structure. You may continue to buy it by the case.

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