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.”