Two Dollar Wine Phenomena Grows

Mar 18, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Bronco Wine Company, vintners of Charles Shaw wine, is the “Winery of the Year” according to the Unified Grape and Wine Industry Symposium in Sacramento, Cal.

Charles Shaw wine, sold exclusively in Trader Joe’s, is the fastest growing brand in the history of the industry. Trader Joe’s sold over two million cases of Charles Shaw in its first nine months. Nicknamed Two Buck Chuck (retails for $1.99 on the west coast and $2.99 on the east), the Charles Shaw phenomena has been widely covered in the consumer and business media.

Other retailers such as Albertsons, Safeway and Kroger have taken notice of Trader Joe’s success and are hoping to catch some lightning in a bottle for themselves.

Safeway is introducing a proprietary label, Pacific Peak, as part of a deal with Golden State Vintners. The wine sold exclusively in Safeway will come in four varietals.

Safeway’s Bridget Flanagan told The Oregonian, “A lot of people are conscious of the Trader Joe’s phenomenon. It’s a very competitive industry. Golden State brought this value to us. We saw the opportunity and seized it.”

Moderator’s Comment: Are other retailers likely to
achieve the type of success enjoyed by Trader Joe’s/Charles Shaw with their
own proprietary label wines?

Domestic wines offer retailers a tremendous upside considering
the current consumer mood toward French wines. The success enjoyed by Trader
Joe’s will be hard to duplicate, however. Most retailers have not established
the bond of trust that Trader Joe’s has with its customers. That can not be
overstated when it comes to initial trial of any product.
Anderson – Moderator

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