2012 year marks the 10th anniversary of Charles Shaw, better known as 2-Buck Chuck, which made its debut in a Trader Joe’s store 2002.
According to Fred Franzia (NB: he’s the multi-millionaire, standing in a vineyard, wearing the unironed trousers in the photo on the left), the $2 bottling has made your “average wine snob” think twice.
“We have won the battle with snobs and other elites who didn’t believe we could provide excellent wines at an inexpensive price. This changed the wine culture in the U.S. … we are also on the radar in many wine-drinking cultures and we get calls from all over the world asking if we can provide Charles Shaw-quality wines.”
When questioned if there is any solid evidence of 2-Buck Chuck’s impact, Franzia said:
“Well, the number of cases sold make the point. (To date, 600 million cases.) But surveys have shown that we increased the total wine market by 5% and we certainly also increased the visibility of quality, extra-value wine.”
It’s probably worth pointing out that the “5%” Freddy Franzia speaks of must have been based on internally-commissioned reports by Bronco Wine Company, as that figure doesn’t appear in any online sources.
It can’t be argued that ol’ Fred has made a substantial contribution to the wine industry, but even though I know money is tight for a lot of people, I’d hate for wine drinkers to get too hung up on wines under $10 a bottle.
I’ve always said that it’s pretty-near impossible to give the idea of a true “sense of place”, or achieve anything more than generic tasting plonk for that kind of price. Are you looking for either of those two things after you get home from a long day at work and just want to throw back a couple of glasses of red? Probably not. I’ve tasted 2-Buck Chuck before, and for the money……HELL…..how can you beat it!?!?! Can you pick out individual fruit aromas and flavors? Nope. It just tastes like “wine”.
At the very least, if you start with drinking 2-Buck Chuck in your earlier wine days, you’ll at least have a suitable benchmark so that you know “the good stuff” when you taste it.