Fred Franzia, the seasoned entrepreneur who turned the wine industry on its head with the inexpensive Charles Shaw brand, better known as two buck chuckHe died Tuesday at his home in Denyer, California, at the age of 79.
His company, Bronco Wine, announced her death on a permit. Neither the statement nor Mr. Franzia’s family gave the cause of death.
“The core of his belief was the view that wine should be enjoyed and consumed by every American table,” the statement said. But Mr. Franzia, like his wine, was more realistic.
When asked how he could sell wine for less than a bottle of water, he famously replied, “They overcharge water – don’t you get it?”
Mr. Franzia’s unconventional business practices have excited many people in the wine industry. Does not care.
He said in 2009, “Take that and push it, Nappa.” Profile personly In The New Yorker, after Charles Shaw’s 400 million bottle was sold.
The Bronco Wine Company has been better known as a wine repackaging company than a producer. Mr. Franzia would buy surplus product from winemakers, or buy up businesses that were going bankrupt, and sell wine for a bargain.
The most famous acquisition was Charles Shaw, a brand with a good reputation among winemakers who filed for bankruptcy in 1995. In 2002, Mr. Franzia began selling wine exclusively in Trader Joe For $1.99 a bottle (in some cities, it can now cost $3.99). The wine became affectionately known as Two-Buck Chuck.
The company says it has sold more than 1 billion bottles.
While the business was financially successful, Mr. Franzia had many critics in the wine industry, who believed his approach discredited the practice of winemaking.
“To take a previously respected brand and sell it for $2 where wine has previously been sold many times over,” said Vic Mutu, a wine industry consultant. “Charles Shaw was embarrassed by that, which didn’t bother Fred.”
Karen McNeil, author of “The Bible for WineMr. Franzia said his wines “implied to primary consumers that there is no value to the wine, there is no difference,” said Mr. Franzia.
“You can also spend two dollars, because it won’t make any difference if you spend two dollars, or 20 dollars, or 200 dollars,” she added. “Anyone who knows anything about wine knows that this is not true.”
Zach Gibbals, host of Vinepair podcastwho focuses on the beverage industry, said that when he started his winemaking business, “I looked at things like Charles Shaw with a lot of sympathy.”
But the poster added, “I really helped create what has been around in Europe for a long time: this very affordable, easily accessible, widely available wine that people who want to drink wine every day can afford almost regardless of their income.”
Born Fred Thomas Franzia on May 24, 1943 in Modesto, California, his great-grandfather Giuseppe and Teresa Franzia started a winery in California in the 2000s after emigrating from Italy. In 1949 their sons, including Mr. Franzia’s father, Joseph, took over the Franzia Brothers Winery Company. Mr. Franzia’s mother, Helen (Rossini) Franzia, was a housewife who helped in the winery.
Fred grew up helping out in the family business, and after graduating from Santa Clara University in 1965, he took a sales position at the company. Franzia Brothers Winery was purchased by Coca-Cola company In 1973, this prompted Mr. Franzia to start his own business, the Bronco Wine Company, with his older brother Joseph and cousin John Franzia.
At Bronco, Mr. Franzia has built a reputation for cutting corners. In 1993, he Admission of guilt for misnaming about one million gallons of wine, having used less expensive grapes for five years to make wine sold as Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Under the plea agreement, he resigned as president of Bronco Wine, but then became chief financial officer. He later returned to the top as CEO.
Mr. Franzia angered Napa Valley winemakers by classifying his wine as a Napa product, even though it was only bottled there. In 2000, these winemakers persuaded the California legislature to pass a law that mandated that in order for wine to be named Napa, at least 75 percent must come from grapes grown in the valley. Mr. Franzia was unsuccessful in reversing the decision.
“He was in the cheap liquor business,” said Ms. McNeill, who lives in Napa Valley. “NAPA is engaged in the fine wine business.”
Mr. Franzia survived with his five sons, Renata Franzia Price, Roma Franzia, Giovanna Franzia, Joseph, and Carlo Franzia; Joseph’s brother. his sisters, Jolene Dercoll and Catherine Macfadyen; and 14 grandchildren.
Mr. Franzia has done more than prick a proletarian finger into the image of the wine-making elite.
Mr. Geballe, host of the Vinepair podcast, argues that Mr. Franzia has changed the trajectory of American wine consumption. Charles Shaw is often the first wine that drinkers taste, Mr. Gibbal said, and it remains a staple in many American households.
“For a lot of people, this is basically synonymous with what wine is,” he said.
Even Mr. Motto, the wine consultant, gave gentle praise to Mr. Franzia’s work: “I thought it was imaginative, creative, and somewhat obnoxious, but in the end it was a wholly successful.”
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