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Jun 3, 2008 02:07 PM

Need really cheap wines at Trader Joe's or Costco

I am trying to help someone purchase wine for about 60 people for a wedding reception (3:00 p.m, drinks/apps only). This person lives from paycheck to paycheck & will do her best to provide for her daughter's reception. Although she drinks alcohol (at someone's home), purchasing it is a luxury she can't afford.

I personally have had the two buck chuck (out of curiosity) & while I think it is actually better than some other inexpensive wines, I don't know about serving it to others (of course not everyone knows about Charles Shaw wines:-). I am guessing if she didn't consult me, she'd just buy the cheapest wines at TJ's. My idea of a good inexpensive wine is the Elsa Bianchi Malbec ($7.99).

Any suggestions for $4.00 & under wines (reds & suggestion is sauvignon blancs for white) or boxed wines that may be more economical? I've never purchased boxed wines so am not familiar with pricing. I guess you can add Target to the above stores (for boxed wine). Although, boxed wine at a wedding reception?? Last but not least, how many bottles should she buy for 60 people? I don't *think* there will be other alcohol.

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Why not look at the Trader Joe threads on this board?

    And also, the boxed wine threads. Search for Trader Joe's in the title, or box wines. Lots of info here, even wine recommendations for $4/bottle.

    Do you know how to search? Check the instructions, if not. Good luck.

    3 Replies
    1. re: maria lorraine

      I'd also consider Total Wine (there are a bunch in the area -- you can find locations on their web site), which has a large selection of boxed wines. I used to buy Franzia box Chardonnay for my mother, after she got to a point in life when she couldn't handle bottles well. As I recall the price was around $12-13 for a 5-liter box (equivalent to between 6 and 7 regular bottles). The Franzia was pretty decent. I think Franzia makes a bunch of different wines in box format.

      1. re: maria lorraine

        I did do a search & found a few, just hope they're currently available. I was specifically looking for dirt cheap wines & was hoping for a narrowed response (found a bunch in 5-10 range). I am going to look locally for some of the search results (Menlo Park) & hopefully, the mom will find it in L.A. where the wedding is, whew. Daughter told mom at the last minute & I was asked just the other day. I'm glad I have a long way to go before I plan one of these:-)

        1. re: ceekskat

          The latest Garnacha de Fuego and Vieille Ferme (Perrin) can be found pretty cheaply maybe $5-6, I'm not sure. Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa has had both at times. Better reds than I have had at wedding receptions.

      2. I'd check out Grocery Outlet and Bargain Bank, if there's one near you--there are several drinkable <$4 wines (buy a bottle of each of four or five types, take them out to parking lot, and test them). Plus, unlike Charles Shaw, these aren't immediately recognizable as $1.99--most originally sold for $8-$12.

        1. Good timing as TJ's has some good ones. I think if you had to get one red and one white for mass appeal you could go with the following:
          - Xs Cabernet $4 - made by the Hess Family this offers a lot of bang for the buck
          - Callaway Chardonnay $6 - this is the best of the bunch on the white side that I have had.

          Full reviews can be found on my site.


          4 Replies
          1. re: jjrzut

            I'll look for the Xs Cab tomorrow, thanks! I think some of the recs I've culled from this board were yours. Briefly looking at your blog, looks like the 2005 Archero price has gone up? That is on my list (of course I plan on buying one for myself:-) Okay, off to bed now.

            1. re: ceekskat

              Went researching at Trader Joe's this morning & ended up buying the 2005 Archeo Nero d' Avola ($3.99). Came home & had to open it up right away...WOW! The last time I liked an Italian wine was an Amarone. And an impressive label too. I actually had fun researching all the cheap wines, had a employee also help me since I didn't have any cheap whites on my list. Employee's suggestion for whites were the Honey Moon Viognier ($5) & the Gaetano D' Aquino Pinot Grigio ($4).

              Decided to splurge & also bought an Epicuro Aglianico & the Kono Sauvignon Blanc. Actually picked up the Kono Baru first & thought what a bargain for $4 when you had said $8; then realized the other Kono. Hmm, $16 total for 3 bottles...that was a productive "research" trip:-) Look forward to finding more gems in your blog. Thanks.

              1. re: ceekskat

                Glad to hear it! Let me know what you think. The Aglianico has been #1 on my Top 10 list for 5 months running. The Kono is good but the Geyser Peak even better. I've has the Gaetano D' Aquino Pinot Grigio but not the Honey Moon. Let me know what you think!


                1. re: jjrzut

                  Gotta give a big 2nd to the Anglianico - reached back into my "cellar" the other evening and pulled out the first thing that came to hand, poured a glass and sipped, thought "Wow!" and only then looked at the label - really pretty darn good for a $5.50 bottle of red.
                  Box wine: bought a 5-liter box of Almaden Mountain Burgundy the other day, $11.99 at Warehouse in NYC. Nothing great of course, light but with some flavor, certainly quite drinkable, nothing hard or uneven about it at all. And, per proof-ounce, between wine/whiskey/beer it's almost certainly the cheapest buzz out there.

          2. If there's a BevMo in your area, you might go see if they have any super cheap Vinho Verdes. They used to carry one made by Aveleda that was well made and totally drinkable if not complex; when it was on sale it was $4 a bottle, had a high quality label and real corks so it would present well at a wedding. Unfortunately it looks like they're only carrying Aveleda's "higher end" offerings now for $8+ which we never liked quite as much.

            1. You could always do Black Box wines which run ~$18/box (4 bottles worth). We have the cab sauv on hand for the casual glass while watching tv. You could also pick up some cheap carafes/pitchers (Goodwill, Target, etc) to serve the wine.