Bronco Wine Company & Trader Joe’s Wine

 Charles Shaw fills Trader Joe’s wine aisle
As noted on twitter a few days ago I was surprised to see that Wikipedia had removed the listing of brands associated with the Bronco Wine Company, who happens to be the winery behind Charles Shaw a.k.a Two Buck Chuck. It appears it was removed based on the following policy; Wikipedia is not a wine guide. Not sure I agree but I am saddened. I viewed this as an invaluable resource to us Trader Joe’s wine shoppers to help confirm our suspicions of what we are seeing in the aisles. Given that I plan to step in and fill the void by maintaining a list of brands and labels produced by the Bronco Wine Company.

Here is the list as it last existed on Wikipedia:

* Albertoni Vineyards
* Alexander and Fitch
* Almond Creek
* Bad Dog Ranch
* Bears’ Lair
* Black Mountain
* Blue Fin
* Carmenet Vineyards
* CC Vineyards
* Cedar Brook
* Charles Shaw, AKA Two Buck Chuck
* Chateau California
* Coastal Ridge
* Coastal Vines
* Congress Springs
* Crane Lake
* Domaine Laurier
* Domaine Napa
* Dona Sol
* Douglass Hill
* Down Under
* Estrella
* Fat Cat
* Forest Glen
* Forest Hill
* ForestVille
* Foxbrook
* FoxHollow
* Grand Cru
* Green Fin
* Grove Ridge
* Hacienda
* Harlow Ridge
* JW Morris
* JFJ Winery
* Laurier
* Montpellier
* Napa Creek
* Napa Crossing
* Napa Landing
* Napa Ridge
* Napa River
* Oak Vineyards
* Pacific Oasis
* Quail Creek
* Quail Ridge
* Raymond Hill
* Redwood
* Rock Brook
* Rutherford Vintners
* Salmon Creek
* Santa Barbara Crossing
* Santa Barbara Landing
* Sea Ridge
* Silver Ridge
* The California Winery
* Thousand Oaks
* Three Knights Vineyards
* Trellis

If you know of any additions let me know and I will keep the list up to date!

Editor’s Note (05-Jun-2009): I added Blue Fin to the list based on the comment, and validation of it, below. Let me know if anyone is aware of others that need to be added.

Editor’s Note (19-Oct-2009): I added Carmenet Vineyards to the list based on the tip from Tom Murray below.

Editor’s Note (16-Feb-2010): Added Green Fin based on the tip from Don below. Let me know if anyone is aware of others that need to be added.

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51 thoughts on “Bronco Wine Company & Trader Joe’s Wine

  1. crazy how many labels they have. and, i agree, why wouldn’t they have wine information on wikipedia? seems like a dangerous precedent.

  2. This wasn’t removed by “wikipedia,” but by a single editor (Agne27) and is open to debate. I think the policy is there to avoid listings of wine reviews, but this is not a listing of reviews — further, the listing of brands under Gallo remains. It’s completely appropriate to question this edit with the editor or start a discussion on the Bronco Wine Company discussion page or even simply revert the edit.

  3. Worrisome. I had no idea of this kind of wine secret monopoly. I guess I’m old=school naive. Off-topic, forgive me, but I really like the 5 buck Rabbit Ridge Rhone you recommended some posts back. How about a post on it, Jason?

  4. I don’t understand the whole issue of TJs and the Bronco Wine Co…is the issue that you want to avoid all Bronco labels?

  5. @Alex I’ll put it in queue, received an email from the winemaker so be happy to do a review

    @brett Not saying you want to avoid them, I’ve had many. I just think it is interesting and like to be aware. Noticed they are at Whole Foods as well which was unexpected…

  6. The list of Bronco Wine Company brands should now include “Blue Fin”, formerly owned by Raymond Vineyards but now in use by Bronco in distributing “Blue Fin Chardonnay” and “Blue Fin Pinot Noir”, both available at Trader Joe’s.

    For confirmation go to http://findownersearch.com and enter “Blue Fin” in the “Search Brand Names” box.

    RKS

  7. Robert, thanks for the heads up on this one, I’ve added it to the list. I’m also adding the the site you pointed out to my list of places to investigate when I try to track down the true owners of these labels…

  8. Hi Robert,

    used to be able to get douglas Hill Sauvignon Blanc 06 at Traders Joe in Phoenix. They no longer stock it. Great inexpensive wine ! Do you know where in the phoenix area I may find it?
    Many thanks

    chris

  9. Yeah, it personally bugs me that the corporate big wigs recently raised prices by as much as $1 on many of their other brands probably (IMO) to help keep the Charles Shaw brand at $1.99 here in CA. Doh!

  10. You can add Carmenet to the list of Bronco brands. According to the Wines & Vines web site:

    Carmenet Vineyards, a Sonoma Valley brand founded in 1982 by the Chalone Wine Group, was acquired by Bronco Wine Co. of Ceres from Foster’s Wine Group. John Albaugh is the winemaker.

    Source: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=newsbriefs&issue=3318

    I was a Chalone shareholder before it was acquired by Diageo and I recall going to the original Carmenet (now Moon Mountain) winery in the hills off Highway 12 in Sonoma. It’s sad to see once-meaningful labels like this reduced to commodities that are bought and sold by the large wine companies, but it’s nothing new in the wine business.

  11. Is the Charles Shaw chardonnay any different than the Crane Lake, Bear’s Lair, Hacienda, etc., or is it just a different label on the same bottle?

  12. I and friends were deeply disappointed in TJ ceasing to carry the JW Morris Cab and Merlot. These were both really great wines for the price.

    In our research to track down the JW Morris winery, we finally discovered the Bronco connection. Spoke to the wine maker at Bronco and they said JW Morris was a TJ exclusive and TJ discontinued due to slow sales.

    We are very interested in any recommendations for a comparable Cab and/or Merlot at the $2.99 price point. The wine maker recommended Grove Ridge and Rock Brook but they do not measure up the JW Morris formulation. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated. Great site.

  13. @TomMurray Thanks for the tip. I’ve added Carmenet Vineyards to the list. Interesting that the same article mentioned Domaine Alfred, now reverting it’s name to Chamisal Vineyards, which is clearing out all of their inventory via TJ’s now…

    @TomLaLanne Bronco is anything but a transparent company so while we would presume they are different we may never be certain. The only thing we can hang our hat on is the designation. For instance the Crane Lake is from Australia so that one we know is different.

    @RB The Cabernet will likely be difficult as I have found little I liked there under $5.99 in quite a while. My recent favorite in Merlot is this Mount Linden which goes for $3.99. Question for you, who did you track down the winemaker at Bronco?

  14. My local Trader Joe’s (Menlo Park) seems to have discontinued all the varieties of J. W. Morris wine except the Gewürztraminer. I was especially fond of the Chenin Blanc in this line, but there were others that were good too. Does anyone have any information on why this has happened, or know if the discontinued wines can be had elsewhere, perhaps under a different Bronco brand? It doesn’t seem likely to me that Gewürztraminer could have been more popular than Cabernet, Merlot or Chenin Blanc, so why is it still available and the others are not? RKS

  15. The important thing to remember is that Napa vineyards often become distressed and need to unload high-quality juice and Bronco is there to snatch it up like Robin Hood to distribute it to people like me who cannot afford $20 for a bottle of Charles Shaw or similar wine.
    Thank God for the Franzia family and their ability to bring me quality wine and an affordable price.

  16. Where can I buy JW Morris Cabernet Sauvignon, now that Trader Joes no longer carries the brand? Do you ship, and if so, what is the cost per case to Tucson,Az.?

  17. Are the wines in all of these brands from the same vat or are there differences?
    Is the cab in Charles Shaw the same as the Quail Creek cab for $1 more?

  18. Bart, there are big differences as I imagine there are different winemakers involved and often different grapes. For example Alexander and Fitch and Three Knights are apparently clearing labels for excess juice from much more expensive non-Bronco brands. And Black Mountain delivers some of the best value you’ll find at Trader Joe’s, at least for their shiraz and pinot noir. On the other hand, Bear’s Lair Merlot tastes like it could have been produced from Shaw grapes with only slightly better quality control.

    Even the brands that are only $1 more than Shaw like JW Morris and Blue Fin can taste very different (whether they’re worth the little extra varies). There’s a generic sameness to a lot of cheap wine, but that’s not a phenomenon unique to Bronco.

  19. Oh and in response to your other question, I haven’t seen Quail Creek at my east coast TJ’s. I should add Napa River as another good label that I suspect uses higher quality grape sourcing.

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