August 8, 2014 at 4:51 PM
SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD — A Huffington Post blog, So That's Why Trader Joe's Wine Is So Cheap!, which made outrageous claims about the popular Charles Shaw Wines ("Two Buck Chuck") sold at Trader Joe's in Westfield and across the country, has been quickly pulled.
The blog, posted three days ago on The Huffington Post, accused the winery of using "tractors with huge claws” to grab grapes, which caused underripe grapes, insects and rodents to be "inadvertently mixed together" with the grapes. Editors removed the blog today and wrote: This blog post contained un-sourced claims about Two Buck Chuck and its proprietor, Bronco Wines. It has been removed from the site in accordance with our blogger terms.
Meanwhile, a representative of Trader Joe's corporate office called the blog, which was originally posted on a site called Quora.com in 2011, a "fairy tale" and said the company stands by its products.
Charles Shaw Wines are owned by the Bronco Wine Company and its controversial Chief Executive Officer Fred Franzia, a nephew of wine legend Ernest Gallo. Tremendously successful with his value-priced Charles Shaw brand, Franzia has made enemies in the industry for undercutting prices and for misleading claims on Bronco Wines labels.
Charles Shaw Wines are commonly called "Two Buck Chuck" because of their $1.99 retail price at Trader Joe's stores in California. Due to transportation costs, bottles sell for $2.99 in New Jersey and other states. In 2007, Charles Shaw Chardonnay shocked the industry by beating 350 competitors to win the double gold title at the 2007 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. At the time, Franzia told ABC News: "We choose to sell good quality wines at $2 a bottle because we think it's a fair price... We think the other people are charging too much."
Locally, the brand is a favorite at Trader Joe's in Westfield.
"Charles Shaw is our best-selling wine. Our customers love it because they know it's a good value," said Chris Weakley, a manager at Trader Joe's in Westfield. "People appreciate the fact that you can get good bottle of wine for $3. We never get complaints about it."