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The 10 Best Trader Joe's Wines You Can Buy for Under $25

Sooo...party at your place?

trader joe's wines
Hannah Chubb

Take a moment to think about your happy place. What did you picture...a white sandy beach with turquoise waves kissing the shore? The safe and cozy arms of your S.O.? Well friends, if you asked me (and I’m quite aware no one’s asking), I would tell you my happy place is Trader Joe’s Wine Shop. Full freakin' stop.

For those who have somehow never stepped foot in this cultural institution, allow me to explain: Trader Joe's Wine Shop is a holy mecca for vino lovers. Sometimes a wing of a regular Trader Joe’s supermarket and sometimes its own separate entity, this little slice of heaven is packed from floor to ceiling with bottles from across the globe just ready to be loaded into your cart and unloaded onto your bar cart. Some are Trader Joe’s private-branded, while others are from wine companies you may already know and love.

And while the variety of wines they offer is truly impeccable, typically organized by country and varietal, the best part about Trader Joe’s Wine Shop, in my humble opinion, is how unfreakinbelievably cheap it is. I’m talking so cheap I literally bring the backpack I bought to travel Europe and stuff it full of bottles every time I visit so I can take *full* advantage of every TJ's trip. (Mom, if you’re reading this, no I don’t.)

But wait, you say, how will I know which wine to buy if there’s such a big selection? A great question indeed. That’s where I come in. Because I am a #giver, I decided to go ahead and test many of the bottles of wine you can buy at Trader Joe’s Wine shop for $25 or less so I could find the best of the best. I also had three wine-loving friends join in and help because A. not everyone’s tastebuds are the same as mine and B. I wouldn’t have been able to wake up for work the next morning if I tested them alone.

Together, the four of us blind taste-tested a variety of vinos—reds, whites, rosés, oranges, sparkling whites, and sparking rosés, to be exact—and first ranked them based on taste alone. We then graded the bottles based on attractiveness (because sometimes you need to give a beautiful boozy gift, ya know?), and finally gave one final score for “overall value” after hearing the price of each bottle.

Simple but scientific, right? At the end of the night, we were a little worse for wear (and v embarrassed bringing out the recycling) but we had our top 10 best Trader Joe's wines based on all of that criteria. Are you ready for it? *Taylor Swift voice*


But first, some (valid) questions you may have…

Why is Trader Joe’s wine so damn cheap?

Trader Joe’s has it’s own private-label wine brands. Most of these brands (like their famous Charles Shaw brand, which makes the legendary “Two Buck Chuck”) are made by a family-run company called Bronco Wine, in California. Bronco is known for focusing on making quality wines for low prices. In addition to these private-label brands, Trader Joe’s is also said to purchase most of the other brands they sell in bulk, which also helps keep the price down.

Okay, but like… is Trader Joe’s wine actually any good?

Ummmm, yes! I recently took an incredible wine tasting class in Porto, Portugal with Rafael de Lima, a wine producer and sommelier, who told us that he loves stopping by Trader Joe’s Wine Shops when he’s in the U.S. for work. I believe his exact words were, “For bottles between $10 and $18, you can’t get much better than Trader Joe’s.” If you don’t believe me, believe him.


Now, without further ado, ze dranks...

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10. Dão Adega De Penalva Maceration
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $13.99

Location: Portugal

ABV: 13%

This may be at the bottom of my list, but you should still put it at the top our your shopping list! If you've never tried an orange wine before, this is a great one. ICYMI, orange wine actually has no oranges in it at all—it's made from regular white grapes, but instead of taking the skins off during production (as in done for white wines) the skins are left on. This process leaves orange wine tasting stronger, and a liiittle more bitter, than other white wines. This cute lil bottle, from the Portuguese city of Dão, definitely fits the "strong and somewhat bitter" bill. Upon first gulp, I felt like all my senses were being woken from a deep sleep. But by the second, I was in love. Despite not actually containing any citrus, you still get some hints of orange, grapefruit, and peach, and each sip brings up another ~nuanced flavor~ (wow, am I fancy?) you might have missed before.

Buy it here.

9. Trader Joe's Charles Shaw Blend Merlot
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $3.49

Location: California

ABV: 12.5%

I had to channel Lady Gaga and put on my very best poker face when I brought glasses of this guy over for my friends to taste. I was low-key giddy with anticipation to see how they would rate a bottle of wine that costs around the same price as a latte at Dunkin' (and way less than a latte at Starbucks). And dear readers, let me tell you, this bb held its own. It may not have the most exciting packaging, but this merlot is pretty darn tasty, and my blind testers agreed. It's light and dry with a cherry-forward flavor and just the right amount of zing from some of the earthy and oaky notes. And perhaps a hint of spice? You'll have to try and find out for yourself. Don't be ashamed (your wallet sure won't be).

Buy it at your local Trader Joe's Wine Shop.

8. Melini Terrarossa Chianti Classico
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $14.99

Location: Italy

ABV: 13%

If you close your eyes and think really hard when you're sipping on a glass of this, you can almost see the Tuscan countryside opening up around you, I swear! Made from Sangiovese grapes—which are known for their notes of strawberry, cherry, and plum—grown in the Italian city of Chianti, this classic red gives off the same sorta vibe as your favorite cab... just with a little twist. It goes down smooth but has a dry aftertaste that'll leave you thirsty for more (okay, thirstier than normal).

Buy it at your local Trader Joe's Wine Shop.

7. Trader Joe's Blanc de Blancs Brut
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $5.99

Location: France

ABV: 11%

At the risk of sounding basic, I am here to say that I am a ~champagne girl~. Like, I'm obsessed with anything chilled and bubbly. I've tasted pretty much every sparkling wine you can think of, and if there's a spritz on a menu, you better believe I'll order it. That said, the Trader Joe's Blanc de Blancs Brut has been a staple on my bar cart for years, so I wasn't surprised when it rated so well in our testing. It's cheap AF (the cheapest sparkling wine in the store, FWIW), tastes pretty darn delicious (a little floral, a little fruity), and provides that perfect fizz for any homemade cocktail. (Combine one part seltzer, one part Aperol, and one part THIS for the best Aperol Spritz of your life. You heard it here first.)

Buy it at your local Trader Joe's Wine Shop.

6. McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Red Blend
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $20.99

Location: California

ABV: 13.5%

This may be the most expensive pick on the list, but I assure you, it's worth every penny. From the McBride Sisters, the largest Black-owned wine company in the U.S., this Black Girl Magic red blend combines the best parts of a few different grapes. Think: the pepperiness of a good cab, the chocolate flavor in a merlot, the dark fruits in a malbec, and more. It's rich and ripe and so damn smooth, and every glass feels like something special. I also love the message behind the name, and am proud to display it on my bar cart!

Buy it here.

5. Cantina Zaccagnini Pinot Grigio
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $13.99

Location: Italy

ABV: 12.5%

I think this chic little number gets my pick for the most attractive bottle in the group, and the ~golden nectar~ inside is certainly up there in the rankings as well. Described by one of my friends as "the perfect table wine," this pinot grigio goes down smooth and pairs well with pretty much anything you might be serving for dinner. The first thought that came to mind when I took my first sip was "oh, tastes like a granny smith," so I was very proud when I read more about it and confirmed there are strong notes of green apple, as well as pear, citrus, and earthy minerals. Bust this one out for a summer day!

Buy it here.

4. Honey Moon Viognier
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $5.99

Location: California

ABV: 13%

Okay, so let me just start by saying you don't need to be on your honeymoon to drink this—but there's a good chance it'll taste even better if you are. I fell hard and fast for this classic viognier (a type of grape known for producing low-acidity, medium-bodied whites) at first sip, and it didn't last in my fridge for very long At. All. It is terrifyingly easy to drink, with notes of apricot, melon, and honey (surprise, surprise!) tickling your tastebuds. I highly recommend this for those who don't like their wines too dry, but also can't handle ones that are super-duper sweet. And at less than $6 a bottle, you should probably buy one as a gift for everyone you know.

Buy it here.

3. Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard Dry Riesling
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $16.99

Location: New York

ABV: 12%

It's a well-known fact that the Finger Lakes region of New York produces some damn good rieslings, and this (dare I say sexy looking?) bottle from Hermann J Wiemer Vineyard is no exception to that rule. Described by the winemaker as their "signature" varietal (aka the best they've got), this aromatic wine packs a serious punch—and you'll smell it before you taste it. It's like sweet, meets citrus, meets "oh is that peach?". And let me draw your eye to that gold-wrapped top and fancy little family crest on the bottle: a fabulous housewarming gift, if you ask me.

Buy it here.

2. Wölffer Estate Chardonnay
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $13.99

Location: New York

ABV: 13%

One of the reasons The Hamptons are on the top of my bucket list is because I'm dying to visit the tasting room at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. A favorite destination for many RHONY cast members, this elegant winery is the definition of luxe—and their gold-embossed bottles exude it. Their popular, super-crisp chardonnay cracked my top two because it tastes as fancy as it looks: It's well-balanced (not too acidic, not too sour), making it great for those looking for a medium-bodied wine full of flavor. (Warning: Your mouth will water after your first sip.)

Buy it here.

1. Pure Bred Cabernet Sauvignon
trader joe's
Hannah Chubb

Price: $7.99

Location: California

ABV: 14.2%

Good god, is this ever a good cab. Good enough to be dubbed *the best* wine to snag on a Trader Joe's run, in fact. It's fruity and a lil bit jammy without being too sweet or heavy, with notes of ripe cherry. Uncork this bad boy at a dinner party (perhaps paired with a beef or chicken dish) and your guests will assume you're pouring them something wayyyy more expensive than you are. And if you're feeling real good halfway through dinner, it's because this guy's got a pretty hefty ABV (we simply love to see it).

Buy it at your local Trader Joe's Wine Shop.

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