Solid Cab at TJ for $2.99 and It is not Charles Shaw

 Motto Backbone Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
$2.99 at Trader Joe’s – Elsewhere as much as $12.99

Motto Backbone Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a crazy Best Buy wine at Trader Joe’s. The TJ wine lady tells me: “This wine is flying off the shelf. People are buying it by the case.” I buy a bottle to try, not expecting much. I am shocked to find this is a pretty darn good bottle of wine. I rate it 87 Points. The $2.99 price is easy to swallow.

I starting digging deeper into the Motto Backbone Cabernet and the Motto label to find out why the price at Trader Joe’s is $2.99.

  • How can you beat a wine deal like this? A $9 bottle of wine selling for $2.99 at Trader Joe’s. The wine is the Motto Backbone Cabernet Sauvignon.The Motto label belongs to St. Michelle Wine Estates, the big wine conglomerate out of Washington. The wine is made in Sonoma and the grapes come from vineyards in California.
  • On the Wine-Searcher, the average price for the Motto Cab is $9.
  • Whole Foods was selling the wine, but are now sold out. The wine guy at Whole Foods tells me the wine was priced at $14 but then discounted to $2.99. It sold out within a few days.
  • Why did Whole Foods discount the wine? Because Trader Joe’s purchased 50,000 cases of the Motto wine and priced it at $5.99.
  • Whole Foods says “Take this, TJ” and dropped the price to $2.99. Trader Joe’s then did the same .
  • Trader Joe’s has two Motto Wines, the Backbone Cab and the Gung Ho Red Blend.

Motto Backbone Cabernet Tasting Notes

  • Easy-drinking wine and medium bodied
  • It is a simple wine, but it is balanced and tasty
  • Because of the mild taste, it will match with a large variety of foods
  • Great party wine that no one will criticize

My suggestion is to run into Trader Joe’s and buy one bottle each of the Motto Backbone Cab and Gung Ho Red Blend. What can you lose for $6? If you like them, go back and buy a case or two.

Motto backbone cabernet at Trader Joes for $2.99
The Motto display at Trader Joe’s

I had Janelle taste the wine, not telling her the price. She says, “Very nice.” “How much do you think, I ask?” “Around $10.”

Motto and Food

This is a link to the Press Release dated 2015 announcing the Motto Wines brand. Perhaps they have now folded the label and dumped all inventory on Trader Joe’s. 50,000 cases is a lot of vino.


  1. Just tried the Motto cab. High acid, sharp tannins. A bit of fruit, but basically sour and thin. Good for cooking, not for drinking.

  2. The Motto I found at my TJ’s is a 2014 Red Blend labeled “Gung Ho”. (The wine I bought has a black background label similar to that of some bottles in the picture above.). I found this red blend Motto to be a very drinkable wine that I intend to buy more of. IMO, the red blend Motto is one of those wines that could be in a tasting of $10 red blend wines and, at $2.99, really surprise people. I would not have bought this wine without reading the GCV review. While I am always looking for good value wines I almost never buy wines under $7-8 as I am almost always disappointed. Thanks.

    • Joe Becerra says

      I agree with you on buying a wine that is this cheap. I figure what could I lose over a $3 price tag in this TJ offer. Thanks, Joe

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