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. Where can I find Oak Vineyards chardonnay? It is the only wine the whole family agrees on. I live in Klamath Falls, OR and the nearest TJs is in Bend two hours and forty five minutes away over an icy highway.

  2. You can add Green Fin to the list.

    It’s a $3.99 organically grown “white table wine,” and the inaugural 2009 vintage will be in the February Fearless Flyer for east coast stores with a liquor license. Bronco asked Trader Joe’s not to reveal the varietal composition.

    That said, it tastes like chardonnay. Flavors of pear and peach, with hints of fig and butter. Decent level of acidity and relatively full-bodied.

    Similar quality and same price as the steely Blue Fin Chardonnay, so is this the organic version? Not exactly- Green Fin has evidence of moderate oak, seemingly more malolactic fermentation, and probably a little more residual sugar. I’m very impressed they pulled this off with organic grapes at such a low price, but I’m not enough of a CA chardonnay fan to quite rate it higher than 12th Bottle.

  3. Just in response to an earlier comment… Bronco does use different blends for different labels. Generally, the higher price points coincide with higher quality base wines.

  4. Thanks for the posting blogmeister!
    I just picked up some Crane Lake (3 reds) at Henry’s market in the San Fernando Valley and the label design looked suspiciously like the Napa Creek that TJ’s has carried. The Aussi Chard (at TJ’s also) had more info on the label and it wasn’t so obviously part of the Family.
    I will taste and see if it is in the Bear’s Lair, Napa Creek or Charles Shaw category.

  5. @Peggy: Where are you located?
    There are some places where it just isn’t fiscally feasible to put stores and other places where folks just don’t want them.

    Unless you have a store reasonably close, the shipping costs (if you could find a fellow wine lover to help you) would probably take away any $$ savings.

  6. Peggy, Go to TJ’s. Period.
    An explanation.
    From what I know of the TJ policies back to 1972(?) at the National Blvd. Pronto Market…there are two kinds of great wine purchases at Trader Joe’s. One is the kind now known as an “opportunity buy” that Joe Coulombe used to get by calling wholesalers or receiving calls from them and offering rock bottom prices for cash-now purchases of specified lots. The other kind would be offers to purchase an entire vintage/year(s)/future… for a specified (in US$’s) price for either a vineyard’s production or a label’s entire stock for a specified number of years.
    It doesn’t take a genius to know that Charles Shaw was one of the latter and that the Petanque that showed up in January ’10 at some of the California TJ’s was the former. (Be not jealous–I only got three cases with 45 miles of car travel, before the supply was exhausted.)
    Remember that the Albrecht family (one of the Forbes listing of the richest….) has owned TJ’s since 1978 even though Joe got to run the chain until 1988.
    The balance of the TJ wine inventory is only marginally better priced than any other local source.
    That means that if you spot a wine that has a radically (or even strongly) discounted price compared to every other outlet in your ‘hood, it’s probably not worth expending fuel, energy, and time trying to find it anywhere else. TJ’s now-thoroughly-modern management has made sure that it has the exclusive in your region at that price. Either by close-out or by contract. Sorry, but these people have done a d…. good job!
    I am almost afraid to say that starting with a 1978 Chablis Premier Cru that had been bottled in France for (recently-out-of-business) Almaden vineyards, I learned that it’s worth the risk of running afoul with the Law and to taste what you suspect might be great, right there in the parking lot, and go back in to the the store if it merits your original suspicion. The opportunity buys disappear within hours!
    No, I won’t tell you about the Rothschild’s…, white and red.
    A votre santé! LP

  7. Looking for Blue Fin Pinot Noir in Midwest. 250 miles to nearest Trader Joe’s in Chicago who are out until next year. Anyone else carry?

    • It’s not owned by Bronco, but I’m gathering from a Bronco rep that they assist in getting the wine to a larger market. Wine conglomerates seem to be, or more aptly already have, overtaking the industry.

      • As I read further, the Bronco rep seems full of it, further dampening the reputation. Regardless, Rabbit Ridge produces great stuff and I am glad to hear they have maintained their independence.

  8. I recently bought several cases of 2009 Santa Barbara Landing Chardonnay in Charlotte,NC. In previous years, this Chard displayed good peach flavors and non-overpowering oak and good acid. This year is not as good but better that Charles Shaw. The 2009 is in the same, squatty Burgundy as the Austrailian Charles Shaw.

    These glass bottles are defective. The throats are too thin. I have shattered 3 of these when attempting to open them. I was using a 2-prong opener. Tthis is the 1st time I have ever shattered a bottle throat. I have cut myself and had to clean up my kitchen counters and floor 3 times now. This is a very dangerous situation.

    Very cheap, thin glass.

  9. I stumbled across this and wanted to respond that Rabbit Ridge was founded by me Erich Russell and is still today owned and operated by Erich Russell and my wife Joanne Russell. I have no partners and still am the winemaker, cellar rat and marketing director. Classic Wines of California is proudly my distributor in California and the largest seller of Rabbit Ridge wine in the United States thanks in part to the great support from Trader Joes

    • Erich,

      Is Rabbit Ridge currently available at Trader Joe’s? I ask because a couple of months ago, I enquired at two TJ stores and was told “no longer available”. RKS

  10. Hi Robert

    Trader Joes usually buys once or twice a year and as it’s been stated sells out very quickly. We sold them 2008 Allure de Robles the end of March and from what I have been told most if not all stores are out. The Allure de Robles is a pretty limited production item and there is no more 2008 available. We are currently selling the 2009 around the country and hopefully Trader Joes will get some in the fall or whenever the wine buyer says they want it. I remember when I first started buying wine from the Trader Joe’s in Santa Anna–every time I liked something it was gone when I returned. Finally a group of us would go in my Ford Van taste in the back and go in and buy cases of the wines we liked. What a great store for wine lovers and it’s partially responsible for me being a winemaker for 30 years instead of the school teacher I was at the time

  11. I notice that the Wiki list stops at T. Given Bronco’s predatory appetite, there are sure to be wines beginning with U through Z. Which makes me think the Wiki list was somehow cut off or incomplete.

    You might link to, or quote, the New Yorker article which profiled Bronco’s insidious labor practices, and aggressive tactics in service to a monopolistic business plan. May 18, 2009 “Drink Up” by the excellent reporter Dana Goodyear.

  12. D.P. I still do every bit of sales and Marketing for Rabbit Ridge in every state in the United States with no help from anyone–except my wife Joanne. I should just say sales as I have no marketing program. I agree that its sad that the entire wine industry is a few–corporations–even sader that these big corporations then sell off Classic Wineries—ie BV. BV Reserve was the one California wine I could purchase in my small town now sold off to a REIT.

  13. Hi Erich,
    I wonder if you can comment on what effect you expect from the sale of BV winery to “Realty Income Corporation”, the REIT. Is this likely to result in a lowering of the quality of the BV product, or a rise in prices, or what?

  14. Hi Robert
    I am not sure what effect the sale will have on quality. Diagio evidently needs money so who knows on price, it probably depends on inventory level I have not has a BV wine since it was purchased by Diagio–I figured that is when the quality dropped and if it did not there were other Cabs from family’s not corporations to buy. I have sold grapes to these big corporations and its a disaster compared to selling to a family winery interested in quality like for example Justin Winery

    • Hi Erich,

      Everytime I hear of a wine conglomerate taking over another winery, I think of the McDonald’s in Times Square. And the Olive Garden. You have a unique food experience available to you, one of the best in the world, and yet you choose something familiar and inoffensive. Also, I was curious about HR 5034 and any news that might be had.

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