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Price For NorCal-Made ‘Two-Buck Chuck’ Drops to $1.99

Also: Two landmark SF cafes are closing, and more news to start your day

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A hand pours red wine into a glass from a bottle. Shutterstock

The Modesto-area makers of Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw wine label have found a way to chop Two Buck Chuck costs

The Bay Area News Group reports that shoppers at local Trader Joe’s “are pretty excited” at the news that prices for the grocery chain’s Charles Shaw wine — aka “Two Buck Chuck” — have dropped to $1.99.

According to an L.A. Business Journal report from earlier this month, only stores in California will see the price chop for the wine, as costs to distribute bottles in other states will keep the national price tag at $2.99. According to Trader Joe’s spokesperson Matt Sloan, the company was “able to work with the producer of Charles Shaw to make some improvements packaging-wise so that it uses less glass and the cork is a little bit different,” enabling TJ’s to reduce prices for CA shoppers.

The wine is manufactured by Bronco Wine Co., a winery in the Stanislaus County city of Ceres owned by members of the Franzia wine dynasty. Its eponymous founder, Charles Shaw, sold the brand following a bitter divorce and subsequent bankruptcy, and the label was adopted by Trader Joe’s and built into the inexpensive brand known the world over. (According to a 2018 report from Business Insider, Shaw “hasn’t seen a dime” from any of the billion-plus bottles sold by TJ’s in the years since it began selling the brand.)

In recent years, Charles Shaw wines have been plagued by rumors over why the wine is so cheap. Perhaps most pervasive are allegations by a Quora user named Chris Knox, who claimed that “large tractors with huge claws” were used to harvest Charles Shaw grapes, adding “rodents, birds, or insects” into the mix. That, as well as other speculation involving 9/11-related corkscrew bans and market flooding, were debunked by fact-checking organization Snopes in 2014. All that to say that price-conscious drinkers can enjoy the drink (which, per blind taste testers at the Washington Post, “tastes like Capri Sun”) without fear of bird bits, and with an extra dollar in their pockets.

And in other news…

  • Anne Le Ziblatt, the founder of SF Vietnamese fave Bong Su, is opening a noodle bar called Nam Vietnamese Brasserie in Redwood City. [SF Chronicle]
  • Citing “increasing challenges in food preparation services,” the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is closing Crissy Field cafe the Warming Hut and the Round House, a restaurant in the Golden Gate Bridge Plaza. [SF Business Times]
  • A bar with the culturally questionable name of “Spirit Animal” will reportedly open at the spot currently occupied by Mission District nightclub Slate. [SFist]
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dined at Palo Alto Italian restaurant Cafe Pro Bono last week, where he “ordered a Diet Coke and ate only a few bites of his entree.” [Palo Alto Online]
  • ...and Flavortown Secretary of State Guy Fieri paid a visit to Pabu on Friday, beverage and order as yet unknown. [Pabu/Instagram]


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