To be honest, I am personally not a big fan of buying wine in a supermarket, even if it is the much heralded and beloved Trader Joe’s. Having grown up in Ireland, where the large supermarket chains overly dominate the retail wine scene, I always retain a little skepticism when buying wine in a supermarket. For me wine is an agricultural product, subject to the vagaries of erratic weather, supply and demand imbalances as well as vintage variation. In contrast, supermarkets thrive on volume and consistency. As such, a lot of wine has to be ‘manufactured’ on an industrial scale to meet the needs of large supermarket chains. Grapes, juice and even wines are traded like commodities and ‘made’ to a set recipe, to ensure that Brand X remains the same consistent flavor profile that made it so successful in the first place. For the most part, the result is a perfectly tasty, clean, pleasing wine. However, if you are looking for something more like authenticity, craftsmanship or a sense of place, many of these wines fall short. I am not against these more manufactured wines, but feel they need to be recognized as such and not compared to other more natural, artisan wines. It pains me when I hear comparisons that rely solely on price. I often take chicken as an example to illustrate. Do you believe the supermarket chicken at $2.99 is the same as the $15 one bought at the farmers market? However, with food, somehow we have an easier time understanding the taste and quality differences between the ‘industrial’ and the ‘artisan’ version. Wine is more complex, regulated and less obviously transparent than many other foodstuffs. Good vineyard land is expensive, especially in California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany etc, so unless the vineyards have been in your family for generations, with no debt to pay down, this adds considerably to the cost of producing wine. Cultivating grapes on a small, artisan level is costly and has to be factored into the eventual price. However, between the ‘industrial’ scale value wines and the expensive, highly regarded and sought after wines, there is hope – and a growing number of exciting wines for those of us who want something interesting, yet don’t want to (and can’t afford to) spend a small fortune. These gems usually come in the guise of less familiar grapes from less familiar or lauded wine regions. These ‘lesser’ wine regions made simple wines from local grapes that were for the most part consumed locally. Thanks to a new generation of young, enthusiastic and passionate winemakers, dramatically improved viticultural and winemaking practices as well as a growing group of adventurous, wine drinkers in the United States, we are seeing many more of these wines in the market. The good thing is that many supermarkets don't just carry the high volume, low cost wine brands that are centrally purchased. Quite often individual stores can select smaller brands that they feel will sell well in their particular stone. We like to see this. Like me, I am sure many of our Kitchn readers are interested in discovering the ‘interesting’, authentic wines that don’t cost a fortune. Read on to find out what I thought of these remaining five Trader Joe reds. Terrific summer finds or a disappointment?