It's a sad day indeed for those who drink the beloved Charles Shaw wine from Trader Joe's, affectionately nicknamed "Two Buck Chuck" for the $1.99 price tag. According to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, the wine's parent company, Bronco Wine Co., is raising prices because of bad crops in 2010 and 2011 that affected its 45,000 acres of vineyard land.
The new bottle price is $2.49, which, let's be honest, is still pretty goddamn cheap -- especially since the $1.99 price has stuck around for the past 11 years.
But now that the wine doesn't have the novelty of costing less than two dollars, will young and broke Californians still drink it by the gallonful? We're guessing probably yes; about 5 million cases of the stuff were sold last year, according to the Press-Democrat.
More importantly, what are we going to call Charles Shaw now?? New nicknames floated include "Inflation Chuck" and "Upchuck" (har, har). Anecdotally, when I lived in Washington state, the cost of per bottle was $2.99 -- shocking, I know -- and we still called it "Two Buck Chuck," a nickname that made little sense in retrospect but rolled so nicely off the tongue.
Alas, my Charles Shaw days are mostly behind me, except when making large batches of sangria. I've graduated to Espiral Vinho Verde, which retails for something like $3.99 and is so refreshing, lightly effervescent, and relatively low in alcohol content, which means it's great for day drinking -- and doesn't come with the near-guaranteed hangover of cheaper bottles.
Additional reporting by Ari Spanier.