Six Things You Probably Didn't Know about Two Buck Chuck

Six things you didn't know about the Trader Joe's favorite, "Two Buck Chuck". 

  • The original Charles Shaw wine label was started by Shaw and his wife, Lucy, in Napa Valley back in the ‘70s.
  • Shaw briefly sold one of his earliest wines at TJ’s - a gold-medal winning Gamay - for $2 a bottle. But that wine isn’t related to today’s two-buck Chuck.
  • Charles Shaw’s wine business was really successful for a time, but then a packaging error caused the wines to be contaminated with a petroleum flavor and he lost 10,000 cases. After that, a bug destroyed his main vineyard. And to top it off, his wife, who funded most of the business - filed for divorce and removed him from the business.
  • Fred Franzia, who produces wine for Bronco Wine Company, bought the Charles Shaw label for $27,000 and held onto it for years.
  • In 2002, Franzia brought his Charles Shaw wine to Trader Joe’s, where it sold for $2 a bottle. The real Charles Shaw didn’t have anything to do with the deal and didn’t even know about it until after the fact.
  • Since 2002, TJ’s has sold nearly a billion bottles of two-buck Chuck and old Charles Shaw didn’t see a penny of those profits, even though his name is on the label.


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