Trader Joe’s introduces new “Th. J.” wine; dubbed “ten buck Tom”

Today, Trader Joe’s launches a value wine that riffs on history.

The grocery store chain that brought the world Two Buck Chuck is debuting a wine in a weather-beaten bottle bearing the initials Th. J. and a $9.99 price tag. Various wine blobbers have dubbed it “ten buck Tom” after trying samples. Trader Joe’s is also colloquially known as “TJ’s.”

“The bottle itself–a real collector’s item–is expensive since it is sandblasted for that aged look,” said Bill Cook, Director of Operations at Trader Joe’s. “The wine itself costs considerably more but thanks to widespread discounting in the industry today, we were able to source this Pinot Noir from prime vineyards in the Languedoc region of France.”

The inspiration for “Th. J.” was the contested wine sold at auction allegedly having belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Malcolm Forbes bought one of those bottles for $156,000 in 1985. These bottles were the centerpiece of the book, “The Billionaire’s Vinegar.”

“Since those bottles are now considered at least questionable, we’re selling a wine that we know to be true and a heckuva lot cheaper,” Cook said.

Lines have formed outside various Trader Joe’s locations as collectors and wine enthusiasts hope to score a bargain.

“I’m going to buy ten cases and sell the empty bottles on eBay right away,” said Harvey Rollingstock outside the 13th Street location in New York City.

“I’ll put it a third of it for sale with a $30 reserve to triple my money overnight,” he said. “And drink the rest.”

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19 Responses to “Trader Joe’s introduces new “Th. J.” wine; dubbed “ten buck Tom””

  1. Pure marketing genius.

    Harvey Rollingstock – hilarious!

  2. I love it.

    You know the wine will be (at best) mediocre, but it mocks everything that I can’t stand in the wine culture today: ego-driven snooty collectors with too much money on their hands that want you to know how much they spend on their wine and then feel compelled to spend even more money on legal battles as if the judge has a magic want that turns vinegar into expensive wine.

    Just drink it, don’t worship it.

  3. “we were able to source this Pinot Noir from prime vineyards in the Languedoc region of France”

    Would those be the same vineyards Gallo was using?

  4. April Fool’s!

  5. […] wine bloggers jump aboard the April Fools Day bandwagon here, here, here, here, here and here. And I think here, though it’s hard to tell. Also maybe here, though it makes a […]

  6. It does indeed have that ‘foolish’ ring to it. Sandblasted bottle…overpriced Languedoc Pinot noir…April 1st release date…gullible public.

  7. Harvey Rollingstock??? That’s what finally gave it away for me. (And Trader Joe’s in NYC is on 14th St)

  8. Excellent! ROTFL!

  9. Very nice. I especially liked the cheap Pinot Noir from the Languedoc….

  10. Someone had better go back to Photo-shop 101.
    My 10 year old grandson could make it look more realistic.
    Oh well, it is April 1st.

  11. Ohhhh, come on, it was fun… and most of TJ’s wine does taste like vinegar.

  12. So glad you liked it! Yes, it was a joke for April Fool’s day for those who were wondering. (nice with the 13th catch, Sally! And Kim with the Languedoc pinot reference!) Jim L, please send your grandson’s email address if he does freelance work for good rates. 😉

  13. Tyler,
    I just caught up on your blog (one of the downsides of now following on twitter — NOT checking the blog as often). This is classic Dr. Vino put-on. Smart, multi-facetted jokes that are just subtle enough to seem plausible. Well played, Doc.

  14. […] Trader Joe’s introduces new “Th. J.” wine People are dubbing this “10-buck Tom.”  Pretty funny.  The bottle itself seems to be garnering most of the attention as it’s sand-blasted for an aged look, and collectors are already scrambling to get their hands on one. […]

  15. As a new hire at TJ’s who has had little opportunity to taste through the product range, I appreciate the shot at TJ’s and the creativity and cleverness you’ve displayed. I know it’s late for St. Patrick’s Day humor, but why don’t Irishmen wear kilts? Cause they’re not long enuf!

  16. Still funny on the 5th! Love it.

  17. Had me going there for quite a while, until I read the comments section. Thanks guys~ I just really thought it was a neat idea and was ready to rush down to TJ’s to get my bottle! Ha

  18. “Why don’t Irishmen wear kilts? Cause they’re not long enuf!”

    Irishmen always have complained about being short guys.

  19. […] admire great stories which look borderline real, put together for April 1st issues – like this one by Dr. Vino, or special reports in a Scientific American magazine, like this one – but sorry, I […]


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