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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

Trader Joe's Wine Picks and More

Benjamin Lorr, author of “The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket,” says that for many adults, grocery stores are like amusement parks. And while there are lots of reasons the supermarket became what it is today, one thing was fundamental to its success: alcohol. Booze, and specifically wine, played an especially important role in the rise of one of America’s favorite grocery stores: Trader Joe’s.

According to Lorr, Trader Joe’s changed the game for supermarket wine, making it the sessionable vino we know and love today. VinePair talked with Lorr about the role of wine in the modern American grocery store, and how Trader Joe’s played a key part in increasing Americans’ access to quality, affordable wine.

From Chianti and a basic Cotes du Rhone to even Barolo, Amarone and Napa Valley Cabernet TJ's offers a little bit of everything often at prices that boggle the mind. If you've been wondering if some of those wines can possibly be good, you've come to the right place because we've tasted just about all of them. (We've also dumped a heck of a lot of them down the drain!)

The wines reviewed here are mostly private label ones, simply because these offer the best value. Cutting out the middle man with private labels is TJ's strength, both in terms of wine and their grocery products.

Because the wine names don’t always include "Trader Joe's" look for the "Trader Joe's Exclusive" sign on the shelves to identify these. The reason this is important is simply that the mass market wines sold at TJ's are usually not priced very competitively and many are just there to make the private label wines seem like a better deal. (The folks at TJ's are master marketers, pulling just about every trick in the book.)

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