Daily Wine News: RIP Fred Franzia

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 09-14-2022

Fred Franzia, the California wine magnate best known for creating Two Buck Chuck, has died. In the San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley looks back on his legacy. “Franzia was a lifelong champion of inexpensive wine and critic of California’s elite wine culture, frequently proclaiming that no bottle should cost more than $10. He was outspoken and unabashedly ambitious, building a vast empire of vineyards, production facilities and bottling plants throughout California. Ultimately, he grew Bronco Wine Co., the business he co-founded in 1973, into one of the 10 largest wine companies in the U.S., incorporating dozens of brands…At a time when the California wine industry was pushing for tighter labeling laws around appellations, Franzia pushed for looser regulations, which made him plenty of enemies. He campaigned —  in the end, unsuccessfully — for the right to use the word “Napa” on the labels of wines that were grown and produced in the Central Valley.”

In Wine Spectator, Daniel Marsteller also remembers Fred Franzia. “Franzia was known for his belief in value wine and that much of the industry traded too much on prestige and high prices. The company letter today noted, “When asked how Bronco Wine Company can sell wine cheaper than a bottle of water, Fred Franzia famously retorted, ‘They’re overcharging for the water. Don’t you get it?’”

Grapes such as Lagrein, Saperavi, and Ciliegiolo offer both opportunities and challenges to winemakers looking to set themselves apart. In SevenFifty Daily, Sophia McDonald explores why American wineries are taking a chance on these obscure grape varieties.

One of the Rhône’s lesser known grape varieties is seeing a revival not just in its native region, but also much further afield. In Decanter, Matt Walls explores how more and more winemakers might be calling on Counoise in a changing climate.

The owners of Astor Wines & Spirits are selling their store—to their employees. “The Fisher family, which has owned and operated the store for more than 50 years, completed the sale on Aug. 16. The sale price is not being made public. The place currently has 75 employees.”

Both dependent on and degraded by tourism in equal measure, Barolo grapples with how best to manage the rush of tourists. Tom Hyland reports in Wine-Searcher.

On JancisRobinson.com, an exploration of the reality and feasibility of increasing irrigation to France’s fine wine regions.

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