Last Sunday we found ourselves with more time than things to do, so we drove to the new Trader Joe’s next the the Jordan Creek super mall in West Des Moines, Iowa The only other Trader Joe’s I’d visited was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. On that trip we loaded up the minivan with boxes of cheap wine and made the trip back to Iowa. For reasons unrelated to Trader Joe’s or the quality (or lack thereof) of the wine, most of it ended up getting poured down the drain a few months later when we suffered a failure of the wine cellar’s temperature control. Heating wine to 87 degrees for two weeks is not good for wine. Anyway, we loaded up with a more modest collection of mostly cheaper wines to try out. I’ll post some reviews as we w ork our way through the bottles. But I have to say that I don’t know if we will get to try the 3 buck chuck chardonnay as it may get used up in cooking.
I’m not entirely sure what niche it is that Trader Joe’s is going for. The music that was being played while we walked around grabbing bottles is clearly aimed at people in their late ’40s or early ’50s, and that demographic was fairly well represented. But there was also a large contingent of couples in their ’20s. The place seems to offer both approachable sophistication (how many of us can afford to spend $30 on a bottle of wine every night — that’s a $11,000 per year habit if you do the math — and plain cheapness (“gourmet” frozen pizzas?). It is a niche that works for me.
Here are some good links for wine at Trader Joe’s:
December 2010 update:
I went back to Trader Joe’s the other day because we had about an hour to kill before a show in that area. I went back to the wine section to see if anything had changed. To begin with, they had about a semi-trailer’s worth of three-buck chuck stacked up to the ceiling.