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L.A./SGV Trader Joes - Wine Selections

I've been to a few Trader Joes and it is obvious that like Costco, they are not all created with equal wine selections. The one in Monrovia is pretty poor. Burbank is not much better. San Gabriel/Pasadena on Rosmead and Huntington is passable, but are there any TJ's in the area (preferably in SGV or not too far) that have good wine selections?

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  1. Ah, the home of the two-buck Chuck! I bought a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon several years ago just for ha-has and brought it to a party during Thanksgiving. The very next day, there was an article in the newspaper touting how excellent it was and how it was underpriced. It said it would rival a $20 bottle easily. I went back the next day to buy more and they were all sold out. Well, the next week I bought several cases of merlot and cabernet just to have it. Not bad for every day table wine.

    If you looking at Trader Joe's for high-end wines, I think I would rather send you to Bevmo instead. TJ's wholesale buyers usually try to find deals on stock overruns or closeouts to get better prices to pass on to customers. Sometimes they have good things but sometimes they don't. They do have some limited name brands at times though.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Clinton

      Thanks.. I'm not looking for high-end stuff. but things in the $10-$20 range and not the junk TJ's imports from who knows where with unknown labels that sell for under $5 and never match the description on the writeups they put next to the bottles, lol.. I should have been more specific - I meant a decent selection of recognized labels.

      1. re: monkuboy

        I agree with FoodandWine. Head on over to your local wineshop, Colorado Co, Red Carpet, Topline, etc, for the wine you are looking for. TJ is great for the under 10 buck selection. However, if you have your heart set on buying wine specifically at a Trader, the TJ's in eagle rock might have what your looking for.The selection changes. For a few months they were carrying Ruston Semillon, few months they had caymus, few months had conn creek (they might still have this one).

      2. re: Clinton

        never buy wine at bevmo just go to some other place like Wine House, La Wine, Silverlake Wine, Red Carpet, Wine Exchange. The people there love what they do. Wilfred whomever is a BUST. Never take his points into consideration.

        1. re: Foodandwine

          Well thanks, I've been to many of these places and more but I was wondering specifically about TJ's. And as for taking Wilfred's advice - I don't think he's the most independent critic, is he, haha.

          1. re: monkuboy

            Monkuboy, why would you travel to a TJ and not to an independent wine store whom offers nice service advice and good value, stay away from TJ and co to Cost Plus a much better choice.. and for the 64 dollar question if you know of all my recs why are u seeking advice for TJs are you doing a survey. I too agree about Wilfred..

            1. re: Foodandwine

              Well that's like saying I feel like eating at an Indian restaurant and you keep tellng me to eat Italian because Italian food is better than Indian food. I know there are better wines at other places than TJ's, but since I enjoy shopping at TJ's for things in addition to wines, I thought I'd ask about which ones had the better wine selections. Since much of the food stuff is the same at all the stores, I could do my food shopping and enjoy perusing the wines.

              1. re: monkuboy

                Whats wrong with Italian? I got your point now. Enjoy the TJ hunt. I will not participate, yes I going for Italian.

                1. re: Foodandwine

                  Haha.. well maybe I should have made it clearer. I don't really expect great stuff from TJ's but I do like the store overall. Besides if I go to a good wine store I'd go nuts.. too many temptations!

                  1. re: monkuboy

                    Just returned from a recent wine tasting tour of Santa Barbara several weeks ago sponsored by one of Torrance's gourmet restaurants called the Depot. The owner and head chef grew up in the Los Olivos area and knew most of the old wine owners giving us a slight edge on the best ones to visit. We especially liked the Gainey Winery which is the largest in the area right down the street where they shot the movie Sideways and location of the old TV set for Andy of Mayberry. I also bought some wine from the Foxen Winery which was priced reasonably at $16 a bottle. Contact the Depot for upcoming gourmet cooking classes and wine tours if you're interested.

                    1. re: Clinton

                      Gainey, passed lake cachuma right?

      3. Have you been to the TJs in South Pasadena and the Pasadena one on Del Mar/Lake? those have good selections. It's been a few months since I've been to le original on Arroyo parkway, but recall it was pretty good there too now.

        3 Replies
        1. re: slacker

          The one on Arroyo Pkwy has a good selection. I also think I recall seeing a good selection at the Eagle Rock location. I try to stay away from the Del Mar/Lake location since they always seem to be out of the items I want. Arroyo is much more consistent.

          1. re: WildSwede

            Well, for what its worth I stopped at the Eagle Rock location on the way home from work, then tonight we ate at the Mediterranean Cafe on Lake Avenue so we walked over to the TJ's on Del Mar. Eagle Rock had quite a scanty selection, similar to Monrovia. The one on Del Mar had the best selection among these three plus San Gabriel but as many posters have pointed out in this thread, there's not all that much at TJ's compared to wine shops. I'll have to get over to the Pasadena location on Arroyo Parkway soon because I remember them having a pretty good selection.. in fact way back in the 80's I got a bottle of 1982 Dunn Vineyards cab from that particular store.

            1. re: monkuboy

              Don't expect any quality of that stature any more - too many stores to stock, and thus they only focus on the mid-range, higher volume operations.

        2. I always liked Long Beach because they had a "Wine Geek" on staff and he was pretty darn good... I wonder if other places have them...

          --Dommy!

          1. I like to go to the East Pasadena location, on Rosemead, about a block and a half north of Foothill. Next door to Robin's BBQ.