The best wine at Trader Joe's retails for just $14.99.
If you don’t subscribe to the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, stop what you’re doing. Now, pick up your phone and perform the necessary steps to ensure you never miss an episode again—because this stuff is seriously golden. Each week, the TJ’s powers that be (heads of marketing and such) drop exclusive product info left and right. Fearless Flyer be damned, this is the Trader Joe’s content that really matters.
For example, dedicated listeners know that (arguably) the best bottles in the wine section sell for $14.99 a pop—at least, according to Chris Condit.
Condit is the wine category leader at Trader Joe’s. (aka the guy who knows this kind of thing.)
To get where he’s coming from, you have to understand the chain’s tiered reserve program.
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First up is the Petite Reserve, the cheapest of the bunch.
“The ‘Petite’ refers the price,” Condit says. “It's a small price, under $10, for what we think are wonderful wines. You know we find a beautiful Chardonnay out of Lodi. We find a great Zinfandel out of Sonoma Valley or whatever it is.”
Next, we have the Reserve level. These bottles retail for $9.99 a piece.
“Those tend to be really pretty serious wines from pretty serious places,” he explains. “Wines that will cost significantly more if you were to buy them under the winery’s brand.”
The Grand Reserve wines are slightly more expensive at $12.99—but the $14.99 Platinum Reserve tier is where the real magic happens.
“We think (these) are literally the best wines in our store. Just amazing wines,” Condit says. “They're few and far between because we really reserve that for wines that we think are incredible. And we sell wines for $50, $60, $80, or $100 a bottle. We would argue that our Platinum Reserve wine at $14.99—when we have them—are literally the best wines in the store, regardless of any price point.”
Yep, you read that right: A $15 bottle (again, arguably) out performs a $100 bottle.
You have to smart shop, though. Platinum Reserve wines are elusive, and they usually go quickly when they do pop up.
If you need me, I’ll be waiting patiently in the wine aisle. Happy hunting!