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Trader Joe's Hikes Price of 'Two-Buck Chuck'

Back-to-back years of bad crops raised production costs for the Trader Joe's standby, named for a former Napa Valley vintner who left the wine business years ago.

After an 11-year run as perhaps the most drinkable cheap wine around, "Two Buck Chuck" fell victim to inflation this month.

The iconic Trader Joe's shiraz and cabernet sauvignon wines are retailing for $2.49 in California stores, up 50 cents from the $1.99 price tag that made the wines famous.

Jokes abound, renaming the Charles Shaw line as "Inflation Chuck" and "Upchuck" (referencing the price, not the quality of the wine).

The winemaker, Bronco Wine Co., said poor grape crops affected costs. The company owns about 45,000 acres of vineyards, which had stablized grape production to some extent, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

The cheap wine had already increased in price in other states. California was the last to see prices rise.

Last year Trader Joe's sold about 5 million cases of Charles Shaw, named for a former St. Helena vintner who sold his wine label to Bronco owner Fred Franzia in 1991, reportedly for less than $20,000.

Two-Buck Chuck fans, do you plan to stick with the brand and shell out a little more for your vino? Tell us in the comment section below.

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Dan Wilson January 25, 2013 at 07:22 PM
I personally like Charles Shaw as good-old Monday-to-Friday table wine, and will likely still buy it even at the higher price. It's almost always decent at worst and awesome at best (I suspect they buy and bottle leftover blending wines in bulk, accounting for the occasional awesomeness, depending on the lot), and even at $2.50 a bottle, it's still only 50 cents a glass. At that price, if my wife and I only have one or two glasses from a bottle and end up having to pour out the rest, we don't feel bad about it.
Art Morris January 26, 2013 at 05:54 AM
We like CS also. Very good for the price. Get's the job done without the making the wallet too light.

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