photography by PHUONG NGUYEN
With the help of a sommelier and a Trader Joe’s wine rep, we determined how to become a smart wine shopper at any TJ’s market. There is so much to learn about wine, and these tips make it a little less overwhelming. Read on to find out how to find wine that is cheaper than bottled water—without sacrificing taste.
Choose a Wine With a Family Name
If anything, put this piece of advice in your back pocket. Our sommelier friend highly encouraged looking for labels that are associated with a surname. The thought behind this statement in that families generally will not use their name on a product unless it is very good quality. It may not be the least expensive option on the shelf, but those few extra dollars may be worth it.
Canned Wine is the New Black
Easily recyclable and cheaper than a bottle of water? Amazing. This is a new product from TJ’s and is sold as a pack of four for $3.99. Yep, $1 a can. Trader Joe’s teamed up with an Italian supplier to create this convenience pack with whites that have notes of honeydew and fresh herbs and elegant reds with mineral notes. There’s also a rosé that’s perfect for fresh pasta, seafood, or straight up summer sipping.
Two Buck Chuck is the OG of the Trader Joe’s family, and it’s still a go-to for bargain wine. A case of twelve bottles can be purchased for under $40. Not bad if you’re on a budget. This is a glug-glug wine, meaning it’s happy hour quality but easy on the wallet.
Rosé All Day
It’s on bags and sweatshirts and has even started a movement among men (referred to as brosé for the wine-loving bros). It’s pink and pretty, light and crisp. TJ’s has a beautiful selection of affordable varietals to suit every pink-drinkin’ girl or lad. We especially love the Quinson Côtes de Provence Rosé ($5.99) that comes in a curvy, beautiful bottle to boot.
Look for a DOCG Label
We asked our somm friend what was up with those labels we sometimes see on TJ’s bottles. They’re circular and look official. Do we need to pay attention to them? Does it mean something organic? The DOCG label indicates the highest classification for an Italian wine, namely: Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. This designation guarantees the origin from a specific place and essentially means it’s not a glug-glug wine. Probably a little pricier, but most won’t break the bank.
Vivino is a quick 101 for those curious about where public opinion falls on any given wine. It’s an app that has millions of wines with ratings from all around the world. So when in doubt, consult Vivino before selecting a Trader Joe’s wine you know nothing about.
Read more about wine:
The Truth About Natural Wine
10 Delicious (and Pretty!) Bottles of Wine for Less Than $20 Each
The Rules of Rosé: A Wine Expert Shares Her Tips