“Two Buck Chuck” Celebrates its Fifth Birthday
Charles Shaw, aka, “Two Buck Chuck,” is a brand that stirs deep emotions amongst consumers and vintners alike. But despite the fact that owner Fred Franzia is a deeply divisive figure, there is no denying the brand’s success; over 300 million bottles have been sold in its first five years. The wine is carried exclusively at Trader Joe’s.
Franzia has ruffled many feathers in his career, often lambasting the alleged snobbery of the high-end wine industry. “We’re not out to gouge people. What I would like to see is every consumer be able to afford to have wine on the table every day and not feel insecure about it.”
Representing approximately 8% of the California wine market, Charles Shaw has forever changed the industry, both here and abroad. One can now find an abundance of cheaper wines in any store, often referred to as “critter labels” like Yellow Tail of Australia.
Franzia’s impact on the wine industry has certainly been a double-edged sword, eliciting both praise and condemnation. On the one hand, there are those that believe he has popularized everyday wine drinking to the public. But others contend he merely dumbs down and sterilizes what has long been an artisanal product.
Franzia has clashed with the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association over his use of geographically identifiable labels on wines that do not contain grapes from that region. Although he lost that case, it has not seemed to slow him down.
Franzia is able to produce wines at very low costs because he literally owns the means of production from vines to distribution. So it seems that regardless of his controversial business practices, Franzia’s “Two Buck Chuck” will be around for many years to come.