When you're looking for a cheap wine fill, Two Buck Chuck at Trader Joe's is often the way to go.
How is it possible, though, that wine, a normally rather expensive drink, could be so cheap?
Two Buck Chuck is owned by Bronco Wines, which is owned by Fred Franzia, a man whose mission in life is to remove the pretentious, wealthy stigma associated with wine.
In the 90s, he purchased Charles Shaw, once a failing wine label, and large amounts of bulk wine for pennies.
He also bought 35,000 acres of land in the inexpensive San Joaquin Valley in California and transformed it to a vineyard.
Franzia ensured that the vine rows in the vineyards were as long as possible and ran from north to south. This minimized the number of tractor turns needed to harvest them and maximized their sun exposure, respectively.
Bronco Wines boasts the most acres of vines of any winery in America.
Basically, your wine is so cheap because it's really not good wine at all.
The San Joaquin Valley is located in the hot, flat-landed Central Valley, which is known in the world of California wine as producing massive amounts of overripe grapes.
The vineyards are also harvested by large tractors, not by hand, that not only use their claws to grab the overripe grapes, but also to grab stems, leaves, birds, rodents and insects.
All of this gets thrown into a huge bin, and nothing gets sorted. Everything gets crushed and transformed to tanks to ferment, where the wine is manipulated into tasting decent by adding unfermented grape juice or sugar.
And Franzia pretty much owns all means of production: the bottling, the packaging and the shipping to Trader Joe's.
So, while you may be "enjoying" some harvested California grapes, you're also enjoying animal blood and twigs. Yum.