Meet my boyfriend, won’t you? His name is Chuck.
Listen, before you say anything, I don’t want things to be weird between us. I know that you and Chuck are close, that you’ve shared some fond memories, and maybe you still hang out. Maybe you love him. Maybe you even think you know him. But here are some things you may not know about my boyfriend, or as you call him, “Two Buck Chuck” at Trader Joe’s.
Chuck and I were introduced by mutual friends seven years ago, and we’ve been together on and off ever since. He’s cheered me on during my greatest successes, and comforted me during my worst failures. We dance and sing and cry and sometimes call my exes together at 2 a.m. but Chuck’s a modern, emotionally mature man, so he’s cool with it.
We’ve split up a couple of times after particularly rough nights, like that time he told me it would be a good idea to start Irish step-dancing in a crowded bar. Each time it’s the same: I start seeing other beverages; he continues to see tens of millions of other people across the country — 800 million since he partnered with Trader Joe’s in 2002. But each time we come back, drawn together by his low price point and my love of a good deal.
While Chuck is my other half, my one and only, my ride or die, I recognize he's important to a lot of you out there, so in the spirit of grace and magnanimity, here are some fun facts about our favorite bottled friend.
It doesn't cost two bucks anymore.
Despite its name, Two Buck Chuck hasn't always been two bucks everywhere. In some states with higher taxes and distribution costs, it can sell for a whopping $3.79 ($$$) but until recently, it still cost $1.99 in its home state of California. Then, after bad crops in 2011 and 2012, the company decided to raise the price 50 cents, to $2.49.
Still, despite this price hike, our boy Chuck is still one of the most affordable bottles out there.
It has won awards.
In 2004, the 2002 Charles Shaw Shiraz beat out 2,300 other bottles of wine to win double gold at the Annual International Eastern Wine Competition.
In 2007, the company's 2005 Chardonnay was named the best chardonnay from California at the Commercial Wine Competition of the California Exposition and State Fair.
So just drop those facts the next time someone shames you for bringing a $3 bottle of wine to a house warming party.
It makes for good cocktails.
We all know our friend Chuck isn't the most high-end wine out there, but what he lacks in sophistication, he makes up for in flexibility. Because it's so cheap, Two Buck Chuck is a great way to experiment with various wine cocktails, like a White Pineapple Zin Mojito, or a Cabernet Manhattan.
Charles Shaw is a real person, and he's not involved with the company at all.
Charles Shaw started Charles Shaw winery in California in 1974. His products were moderately successful, and well-respected in California's wine country. He sold the company in 1990 and left the wine game. Now he markets software for cardiac surgery monitoring.
It's part of the Franzia family.
In 1990, Charles Shaw sold his winery to the Bronco Wine Company, which is owned by Fred Franzia of Franzia Brother's wines.
So whether you're pairing their wines with a juicy steak, a light summer salad, or a rowdy game of 'Slap The Bag', the Franzia family of products is here for you!
Nobody's sure who named it "Two Buck Chuck".
One thing's for sure, it wasn't Trader Joe's.
In a press release, the company wrote of the catchy nickname: "We wish could take credit for that, but alas, some other scribe came up with that moniker."
People's best guess is that a California wine writer coined the term, but pretty soon the term became so much more, a thread in the fabric of American identity, like liberty, equality, and subtweeting.
The wine itself is less than half of what you pay for
According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Jon Bonne, most of your hard-earned $3 isn't going towards the wine itself, but towards the cost of glass, cork, and distribution.
"In terms of the actual wine, the wine is not terribly expensive. I would say, it's probably 30 to 40 percent of the cost, if that."
No matter what the costs go to, I think we can all agree that $3 spent on Chuck is $3 well-spent. Now excuse me, I'm going to go join my boyfriend on the couch and shout at the television while he holds me gently, lovingly.