The Shaws produced award-winning varietals for several years — their Gamay was front and center at three White House state dinners — but the American public hadn’t yet discovered the world of wine (via Business Insider). With a surplus on his hands, Charles Shaw, who had attended Stanford University, turned to fellow Stanford alum Joe Colom, the founder of Trader Joe’s, for help. Colom relabeled the wine and sold off the excess inventory for $2 a bottle.
Problem solved, right? Not quite. Shaw’s troubles were just beginning. Following a series of unfortunate incidents, including a less-than-amicable divorce and a bankruptcy filing, Bronco Wine Company swooped in and bought Shaw’s business for $25,000 in 1995, according to USA Today. Bronco Wine Company founder, Fred Franzia – whose grandparents, Teresa and Giuseppe Franzia, established Franzia Wine Company in the early 1900s — founded Bronco Wine Company in 1973 along with his brother and cousin to produce quality wines at affordable prices, according to The Washington Post. That was about a decade before the 1983 debut of Franzia’s iconic box wines (via Forbes).
In 2002, Franzia partnered with Trader Joe’s to distribute Charles Shaw wines at about $2 a bottle, leading to the nickname Two Buck Chuck. Since then, the brand has continued to be successful. In fact, in 2021, Wine Spectator ranked Bronco Wine Company the 13th largest winemaker in the United States.