Trader Joe’s – Wine Picks

People love shopping for food items at Trader Joe’s. The cheese section is awesome. How about those great prices for bananas and avocados? The Mandarin Chicken in the frozen food department is a favorite dinner selection. And then there is the one-pound dark chocolate bar, so tasty. 

The wine department is not as clear cut as the Trader Joe’s grocery items. Wine shopping can be confusing. This is where the Vintage Wine Tasters can help. We asked the Vintage Wine Tasters to suggest their wine picks at Trader Joe’s. We list our picks below:

Trader Joe's wine picks
Trader Joe’s wine descriptions are always fun

Trader Joe’s wine picks, what wines to buy at Trader Joe’s

In the White Wine Department

  • Bonterra Chardonnay $9.99 – from organic vineyards, we find a tropical and slightly creamy Chardonnay that is delicious.
  • J Lohr Chardonnay $10.99 – the 2019 rates 90 Points from Wine Enthusiast. Very fresh and tropical.
  • Husch Chardonnay $10.99 – this is my favorite Chardonnay at T.J’s – a very nicely-balanced wine bringing out the Chardonnay fruit. The grapes are from the Anderson Valley.
  • Daou Sauvignong Blanc $14.99. – Delicious and refreshing from the Paso Robles wine region.
  • Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier $11.99 – always a popular Best Buy wine

Has any reader tried the Martha Stewart 19 Crimes Chardonnay? The price is $11.99 at TJ’s. Let us know what you think, good or bad.

We pick wines at Trader Joes
Very good and only $5.99

In the Red Wine Department

  • Daou Cabernet Sauvignon $19.99 – Excellent Cabernet with complex flavors
  • J Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon $12.99 – Another wine critic favorite in the Best Buy wine arena
  • Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon $11.99 – Organic delight from Mendocino
  • The Originals Syrah $5.99 – This a light but very tasty Syrah from Washington – Charles Smith the winemaker
  • Rancho Sisquoc Red Wine Blend $9.99 – a blend of six grapes from the Santa Maria area of Santa Barbara
  • Boeger Barbera $12.99 – great change-of-pace wine from El Dorado County

Why no Zinfandel on the list? At three Trader Joe’s stores where we shop, Zinfandel wine is non-existent on the shelf. What is it like at your TJ’s store?

Always a Best Buy

Charles Shaw is still popular with many shoppers. We pass on the Charles Shaw wine for two reasons. It is bulk wine juice and not very tasty. Secondly, as wine geeks, what if someone caught us buying a Charles Shaw wine? How embarrassing!  Some folks buy the Charles Shaw for cooking. But as most chefs will advise: “Never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink.”

Trader Joe’s also has their own wine label – Reserve, Platinum Reserve, and so on. Lately it is hit-and-miss for those wines. Consumers are better off sticking to the labels above. These wineries have a reputation for making excellent wines, vintage after vintage.

In the foreign wine department, except for the expensive well-known wines, we also find it difficult to choose a wine.  We pass on those unless someone recommends a wine.

What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s wines? Please let us know.

Some Trader Joe’s cooking ideas

Mandarin Orange Chicken – very POPULAR


  1. Under the Influence says

    We shop at TJ’s but usually now avoid the wine department. I’ve found that most of their low cost wine, and not only the Charles Shaw plonk, is just not very good or a bargain. You kiss a lot of frogs. The wines you recommend are mostly available elsewhere at comparable prices. Much better value at Costco.

    • Joe Becerra says

      Yes, most of those wines are sold at many stores. But, there are some folks who are dedicated TJ shoppers. Time is money. Why go to two stores if you can get all your stuff at one. For myself, Costco has the very best wine deals. Thanks for your comment. Joe

      • Under the Influence says

        I’ve enjoyed a few of your TJ recommendations, like the Daou and J. Lohr cabs. I used to buy under $10 TJ wine regularly but too often their brands (Chariot Gypsy!) and own labels had some flaw or shortcoming, like factory seconds or “imperfect” discount merchandise. Good under $10 wine is a rare commodity now. You don’t want to buy something you don’t want just to save money, so thanks for pointing out the good values even at higher prices points.

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