The Best Cheap Wine: Two Buck Chuck vs. Three Wishes

Turns out $2.99 can get you more than one brand.

So first things first: I am no sommelier. Despite attending various wine tastings with my wine-collecting father, to his disappointment I still cannot identify traces of nutmeg in a red wine. Nor do I even know if that is something that is tasted in red wine... see my point? Although I will admit I get quite the thrill from swishing and smelling the wine as if I know what I'm doing.

Disclaimer aside, I would (with a mix of embarrassment and pride) declare myself quite the expert when it comes to cheap wines. Through a series of uncontrollable events (read: four years of being a poor college student), I have worked my way through many a bottle of Trader Joe's "Charles Shaw," most commonly and warmly known as Two Buck Chuck.

Though its cutesy nickname derives from the original and 11-year-long price of $1.99, Trader Joe's recently hiked the cost to a RIDICULOUS $2.49 in California, and an even more ridiculous $2.99 in other states (which has led to the new, much less catchy 'Three Buck Chuck' nickname). Despite my frustration at having to part with an extra $0.49 - $1.00 (plus tax!), I didn't jump ship quite yet.

However, there is something that may have a stronger impact on our loyalty -- a copycat bottle that has sprung up at Whole Foods, for the exact same price. Our preference for originals aside, we had to investigate how this compared as Chuck's doppleganger. So, as our team tends to like any excuse to drink at work, we rallied the office troops and staged a test test that ensured nobody got much of anything done for the rest of the day. Check out the slideshow below for the results of a very tight race.

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