wine | KALW


Evaluating The Taste And Cost Of "Two-Buck Chuck"

Jan 30, 2020


For the last ten years, the supermarket chain Trader Joe's has been selling its Charles Shaw Wines – better known as Two-Buck Chuck – for two bucks. It's been a great success.

In fact, a recent editions of Trader Joe's “Fearless Flyer” newspaper says: “We do think we know why these wines have struck a chord – they've proven that wine doesn't need to be expensive to be good, drinkable wine. These are not expensive, they are good, and they're very drinkable.”

Photo by Roberto Guerra for Harvest Season. Courtesy of Quiet Pictures.



On this edition of Your Call, we'll talk about the people who work behind the scenes of California's wine industry.

Angela Johnston

Some Napa winemakers and environmentalists feel the Valley has reached its limit. They say too many vineyards are hurting the environment — but their solution is producing a divisive battle at the ballot box.

Stan Shebs / Wikimedia Commons


Fifty years ago, Napa Valley winemakers and community members wanted to protect the valley from housing and commercial development.

They declared agriculture — which in Napa Valley basically means grapes — the “highest and best use” of the land.

This paved way for the growth of the wine industry that currently coats the valley floor, and the tens of billions in profit the valley churns out each year.

But now some winemakers and environmentalists feel Napa Valley has reached its limit.

Photo courtesy of Marc Mondavi

Five years of drought has forced California farmers and wine makers to turn from the sky to the ground to find water. It’s down there, but you have to know exactly where it is in order to drill a well.  

Uncorking the Mystery of a Bottle of Wine

Jun 16, 2014
under CC license from Flickr user Daniel Garcia Peris

As far back as he can remember Reese Erlich's parents kept a giant magnum of wine in the bathtub that served as the family's makeshift wine cellar. The bottle was never opened, and its origins remained a mystery. That is, until now.

Erlich travels into the heart of wine country to discover where the bottle of wine came from, and after all these years, answer the question-- is it any good?

The True Cost of a Bottle of Cheap Wine

Jun 16, 2014
under CC license from Flickr user ZakVTA

In 2013 for the first time, Americans surpassed the French as the number one consumers of wine in the world. Wine is certainly more accessible, and cheaper, than ever.

Julie Caine

All week long we've been playing this sound, and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

Julie Caine

At its heart, California’s food economy is all about agriculture. Our state produces almost half of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States. In the Bay Area, one of our biggest crops is grapes. And right now, it’s harvest time-- it started on August 1st and could run through late fall. 

The East Bay has been experiencing something of a wine boom over the past decade or so and the East Bay Express devotes this week’s edition to exploring it in the Taste Edition. There are now at least 25 wineries in East Bay cities. Ellen Cushing wrote about them and their history. She spoke with KALW’s Holly Kernan about wine culture in the East Bay.

Listen to the interview above.