This $20 Bottle of Wine Is the Single Best Bargain at Trader Joe’s Right Now

published Dec 2, 2021
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In the latest episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, which dropped earlier this week, hosts Tara Miller and Matt Sloan focus on 16 of the most exciting holiday-themed groceries hitting store shelves (that’s out of 260!). And in between the seven Italian-inspired products, four chocolatey treats (including a bar that weighs more than a pound!), and two sparkling beverages, one item really caught our attention. Not just ours: Pat, the brand’s Wine Developer whose job it is to “drink a lot of wine,” says, “This is one of my favorite wines that we ever had an opportunity to market under our label.”

What makes this bottle of wine that special? Let’s find out!

Once again, the hosts are tight-lipped about their sources (Tara reports “from a mystery location, somewhere in the Napa Valley of California” and chats with a mystery guest in the “wine-ness protection program”). But, the mystery guest — a TJ’s wine supplier — does share the backstory behind this “exceptionally great bottle of Cabernet from the Stags Leap district.”

Credit: Mara Weinraub

Trader Joe’s 2020 Diamond Reserve Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon, $19.99

While a $20 bottle of wine isn’t exactly the cheapest option, the key here is that this wine would sell for hundreds of dollars if it wasn’t under the Trader Joe’s name. It’s just that Trader Joe’s has this magical buying power and the brand is able to get ridiculously low prices. That … and the fact that our mystery guest actually purchased an ENTIRE vineyard of fruit, right on the spot. 

Let’s go back to 2020 for a minute (seriously, just 60 seconds and then we’re out). It was a troubling year in general, and also for California wineries who wrestled with their harvest. Do they risk waiting three weeks to learn if their fruit has been tainted by smoke (time they don’t have in harvest mode)? Or do they cut their losses and “drop their fruit”? (For this, wineries “will actually pay a picking crew to go through and pick the fruit and drop it on the ground,” explains our mystery guest.) In the case of the mystery winery in question here, the answer was neither. Instead, they just sold their entire field. Fun fact: When the mystery guest purchased the ENTIRE vineyard he had no clue whether the fruit was damaged from smoke taint. He just, as he puts it, rolled the dice. Turns out, the grapes were harvested and they were magnificent.

Fast forward to today: The wine is ready and available now in stores. A $20 bottle of wine that would otherwise sell for hundreds? Yes! We suggest you stock up on a bottle (er, case) of it. According to the mystery guest, “You will not see this again.”

Have you tried this new bargain bottle? Tell us about it in the comments below!