We Taste Tested Trader Joe’s New $1 Canned Wine Against “Two Buck Chuck”

Here’s our honest review.

trader-joes-canned-wine
Photo by Grace Elkus

By now you’ve probably seen the headlines: Trader Joe’s is selling $4 4-packs of canned sparkling rosé and white wine. Which breaks down to $1 a pop. It’s sold under the Simpler Wines label and comes in adorable pink or blue packaging. This is pretty fantastic news for your summer picnicking and poolside party plans.

It seems only natural to compare the bargain beverage to the bread and butter of Trader Joe’s wines, Two Buck Chuck (available in both red and white varietals). Which, side note, is technically Three Buck Chuck these days—it’ll cost you a whopping $3. Many a news story has claimed that the canned wine is “the New Two Buck Chuck,” but we set out to put that statement to the test. Because for better or for worse, we have a soft spot for the stuff we used to stock up on by the caseload back in our glory days.

At first glance, the cans have a few obvious advantages. First, you don’t need a corkscrew because they open just like soda. They’re super lightweight and single serve, with 187 mL of wine per can, making them ideal for parties. They get icy cold more quickly than a big glass bottle. And, finally, according the Trader Joe’s website, aluminum is easier to recycle than glass.

RELATED: Frosé (A.K.A. Frozen Rosé) Is the Hottest Drink of Summer

In a side-by-side taste test, the canned white wine trumped a $3 bottle of Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw Pinot Grigio. We weren’t quite comparing apples to apples (er—grapes to grapes?) because the pinot grigio doesn’t have bubbles. But it was pretty easy to tell that the pinot grigio is cloyingly sweet. The Simpler Wine, while still sweet, is more balanced with a nice tart aftertaste. We loved the small, fizzy bubbles that cascaded into our glasses and were pleasantly surprised by how much is in one can (a typical glass of wine is about 40 less milliliters). And although it wasn’t part of the comparison, the Simpler Wines rosé was good, dangerously good.

The bottom line: sorry, Two Buck Chuck, your younger, hipper sister is our new favorite drinking companion.