Charles Shaw, or Two Buck Chuck as it is more affectionately known, is a surprisingly good cheap wine. It earned its nickname from its price: in some locations, such as California, it sells for $1.99. Other states (with a higher tax on alcohol) sell bottles for as much as $3.39. Regardless, this is still extremely cheap for a table wine. However, don't let the price fool you. This is not your standard cheap wine. First off, its varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz. Other wines of this price typically come in flavors like Blue Raspberry and Pink Grapefruit. Furthermore, in blind taste tests, Charles Shaw's offerings have been rated higher than other, more expensive wines.

There have been many rumors passed around to explain why the wine is sold so cheaply. Some of the more ridiculous rumors include:

1) After September 11, corkscrews are not allowed on board commercial flights, so airlines sold off their supplies of the wine.
2) United Airlines sold off its stocks of food in a desperate attempt to stay afloat
3) Charles Shaw is attempting to reduce his assets, due to being in a bitter, drawn-out divorce.

None of these are true. The real reason why the wine is sold so cheaply is because of grape overplanting in California during the 1990s. This has led to an excess of grapes, and due to the laws of Economics, the prices have gone down. Furthermore, the current owner of the Charles Shaw label, Bronco Wine Company, bought excess stock from other bankrupt Central Valley vineyards and produced massive stocks of the wine.

Before the brand name was bought by Bronco, a man named Charles Shaw bought a winery with his wife in 1974, and produced Charles Shaw Beaujolais. However, the Shaws divorced in 1991 and sold the winery. Bronco decided to buy the name, since it was a reputable brand at the time.

Currently, Charles Shaw is sold exclusively at Trader Joe's. If you happen to be nearby a TJ's, pick up a bottle (or 12). Your taste buds won't be disappointed, but you liver might have something to say to you the next day...

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