10 Years of Two Buck Chuck, and Fred Franzia’s Opinion on Wine Snobs.

"I realize you're against wine snobs, Fred, but would it kill you to iron your pants!?!?"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.

Click here for the full article.

My Thoughts….

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.


  • February 24, 2012


    Well, I can agree that Mr F has made a good business in inexpensive wines and also has provided wines for people who might otherwise not be inclined to include wines in their daily life.  However, I cannot agree with  the part of his statement in which he uses the word Excellent. 

    And, yes, I have tried them at least once.

  • February 24, 2012

    Kris Chislett

    I stand by what I said though, to start your wine drinking life with the expensive stuff….well….where do you go from there?

  • February 26, 2012


    You can start by drinking wine in the 5.00 to 10.00 range, and keep an eye out for bargains at Trader Joe’s and outlet stores. ANd yes, I’ve tried Bronco wines in various labels–and written about them. But when you can find Pacific Rim Dry Riesling and Chenin Blanc for 2.99, why look farther?

  • March 5, 2012

    Kris Chislett

    I actually did a blind tasting using the Charles Shaw Pinot Grigio yesterday up against 2 other wines that were between $20-$30 retail. Surprisingly the Charles Shaw won. Who am I to judge…?

  • April 24, 2012


    In 2007 Gary Vaynerchuk, the man with the golden palate, tasted the entire line of 2005 Charles Shaw wines.  Note that at that point CS did not produce a pinot grigio.  Most of the wines his did not like, but two of them scored respectably:  and 83 for the sauvignon blanc and an 84 for the Shiraz.

    Here’s a link the the episode on winelibrary.tv:


Leave a Reply