The Arrival of $3.99 Napa Valley Wine
You have to respect a man willing to toss away profit just to make his point.
Alan Goldfarb, the must-read wine editor for the St. Helena Star, delivers the tale of Fred Franzia, the many that would throw mud in Napa Valley’s face. You may recall that Fred Franzia is the originator of 2-Buck Chuck and the owner of Napa Creek Winery. His Chuckie wines did just great, selling a gazzilion cases over at Trader Joes. But in the mean time, he wasn’t having so much luck with his Napa Creek brand.
After a good deal of pushing from the Napa winery crowd, the Supreme Court of the United States said Fred MUST use Napa Valley grapes in his "Napa Creek" brand. Otherwise, the court said, it would essentially be false advertising. The problem was that Fred’s Napa Creek brand was a low end bottling that didn’t have much of any Napa Juice in it.
So much for Napa Creek, right. Not so fast. Franzia has announced he’ll be releasing a $3.99 wine made from Napa Valley grapes and selling it under the Napa Creek label.
Basically, Fred is telling all those snooty Napa types, "Fine…Here’s your Napa wine!"
How Franzia is able to bottle a $3.99 wine is something Goldfarb explores in his article. Whether it’s any good isn’t really the point either. The point is, you can’t get rid of Fred Franzia with a little old Supreme Court judgment.
Many of the Napa Valley wineries don’t like the idea of a $3.99 wine from their Valley. But it looks like they are going to have to live with it, just like they are going to have to live with Fred Franzia.