A Comprehensive Review of Every Kind of Trader Joe’s $2 Wine

By Morgan Kuehler

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Among all of the wonderful things Trader Joe’s has to offer, one highlight is their Charles Shaw wine, lovingly referred to as “two-buck chuck.” The wine lives up to its name coming in at the low, low price of $1.99, the perfect price for college kids. I took one for the team and tried all 8 varieties that they offer, and here’s what you need to know about each one.


Pinot Grigio:

This is a go-to white wine! Not too sweet, not too bitter. Not to be the person who over-analyzes her wine, but there are definitely some fruity flavors going on in this one. This one is super easy to drink! If you’re getting together for a wine night with gal pals, you can’t lose with this one.



I’m going to be upfront with my bias and say that I don’t like chardonnay, but I especially don’t like this chardonnay. However, for those of y’all who are into it, it’s definitely pretty earthy. Not too sweet. It did win a “best California chardonnay” award a couple years ago, so if you’re into then it’s a pretty good choice.


White Zinfandel:

This is for the person who’s “really into wine,” but does not know what they’re talking about because if you give them something that’s actually good they say it tastes bad. It’s a safe bet for most college girls. The wine is just way too sweet for me. I need it to resemble the flavor of a grape, not candy. However, for a college-crowd, there will be someone who likes to drink this if for no other reason than that it’s pink.


Sauvignon Blanc:

This one is so not for me. For me, it doesn’t have any distinguishing characteristics. In my opinion, it’s better than the Chardonnay, but if you want white wine I would just go for the Pinot Grigio.



So wine (especially red wine) is supposed to taste a little wood-y because it’s aged in an oak barrel. So if you take a sip and you wonder why it vaguely resembles the taste of licking a tree, that’s why. That aside, the merlot is really delightful. Definitely more of a traditionally “good” wine. Also probably the driest red TJs offers.



Non-offensive. I had to look it up, but Nouveau is a red table wine. That’s pretty much what it tastes like. Definitely a little wood-y, but mostly just tastes like wine. The bottle is pretty, so if you’re having your parents over to dinner to try to prove to them that you’re a real adult that can take care of themselves, then this is a good wine to serve. Definitely doesn’t wow, but won’t disappoint.


Cabernet Sauvignon:

You really can’t go too wrong with a nice cab-sav, however, when I drink this one it does taste like it costs $2. Definitely doesn’t taste bad, but doesn’t blow me away. Best to drink with food.



This is far and away my favorite two-buck chuck. This wine has the most interesting flavors of the selection. When I tell people that this wine is spicy, they don’t understand what I mean. It has notes of various spices like star anise, cinnamon, etc. I think this is definitely the best wine to drink by itself. My favorite thing to do is pour myself a glass while I do my homework, especially for my French class. It makes me feel very sophisticated and Parisian.




3rd place: Pinot Grigio

2nd place: Merlot

1st place: Shiraz