Fifty2, The MPB Project: Trader Joe’s – Charles Shaw

 Fifty2-Trader Joes - Charles SHaw front“Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project,” will present a carefully curated look at the best Private Brands in the U.S. across all retail channels. The weekly series presents a look at one great Private Brand with insight, analysis Fifty2 The MPB Project Logoand original photography. I am looking for retailer-owned private labels that are BRANDS. Brands that bring their positioning and business purpose to life through: great design, purpose, expertise, confidence, emotion, lifestyle and innovation.

To submit a brand for consideration please email

Charles Shaw
In 2012, Charles Shaw Wines celebrated its 10th anniversary as a Private Brand at Monrovia, California based specialty grocer Trader Joe’s. That’s right. Ten years since the world went a bit crazy for the brand and its almost absurdly priced bottles of $1.99 wine. In that time, the retailer sold almost 600 million bottles and became one of the best known, loved and sometimes-reviled wine brands in the U.S. The mixed reviews are ultimately a combination of the impact of price point, consistent quality and American wine snobbery. 

The brand bears the authentic sounding – and very real name – of winemaker Charles Shaw, who founded the Charles F. Shaw Winery in the late 70’s and managed it through financial struggles, divorce, bankruptcy and ultimately, the sale of the brand to the Bronco Wine Company and the exclusive Private Brand distribution deal with Trader Joe’s. The bottle design is simple, clean and credible, avoiding the playful and sometimes silly naming and design that has taken over wine branding in the last ten years.

Varietals of “Two Buck Chuck,” as it has affectionately become known, now include Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and White Zinfandel. In 2009, the Charles Shaw California Pinot Grigio won a Best of Class/Gold Medal and the Charles Shaw 2009 California Shiraz won Double Gold/Best of Class and nine other medals in the results of three wine competitions.

The 2011 Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Charles Shaw Merlot and 2012 Charles Shaw White Zinfandel – each won a Gold Medal at the 2013 Orange County Fair Wine Competition, while the 2011 Charles Shaw Chardonnay received a Bronze Medal.

In Charles Shaw, Trader Joe’s has successfully created a brand wine drinkers know and very often love; the brand consistently gives American consumers a reason to choose Trader Joe’s.

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Brand: Charles Shaw
Brand Focus:
Trader Joe’s
Monrovia, California
2011 USA Retail Sales ($000):
2011 Stores:

To submit a brand for consideration please email


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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.