For those who like wine without pretense (read: under $5), Three Buck Chuck (aka Charles Shaw) at Trader Joe’s fills the need for a frugal fix. Yeah, I like to save a buck when I can, but is it snobby to admit that my heart sinks a bit when i go to a party or a charitable function and only I see only Charles Shaw wines on the counter?  

Other sources of wine under $5 include Walgreens new Southern Point for $3 (4 varieties but the Chardonnay has gotten the best reviews), available in Minnesota only at the Mankato location on Front Street.

All of Aldi’s Iowa locations sell Winking Owl wines (three varieties) for $3 and others for $5. And of course there is always Yellow Tail, available anywhere.Better yet, stop at wine specialty stores and test their mettle by asking for the best value under $5.

Why don't stores such as Aldi and Walgreens sell their cheap wine in Minnesota? State law requires a separate entrance if a retailer is also selling wine and liquor. Apparently, the Walgreens in Mankato (an old Snyder's) must fit the bill. I haven't rushed out to Mankato to try it, but I'm sure some of the Vikings there for training camp have tried it.

Vikes, or anyone else who's tried these cheap wines, give us the 411.