Two Buck Chuck maker sets sights on Australia

  • This photo taken June 24, 2009 shows winemaker Fred Franzia talking about his newest wine from Australia during an interview in his office in Napa, Calif. Franzia, who gave wine buyers Two Buck Chuck, is introducing a new Australian Chardonnay later this summer that will be about half the price of most Australian Chardonnays.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

NAPA ? First there was Two Buck Chuck. Now, there's Three Dolla Koala.

Fred Franzia, the vintner who shook up the California wine world seven years ago with Charles Shaw wines ? nicknamed Two Buck Chuck because they sell for $1.99 in some states ? has come up with Down Under, a chardonnay made of imported Australian bulk wine and priced at around $2.99 in California.

His goal is to take on popular imports such as Yellow Tail.

"It's time that the American consumer paid the correct price for Australian wine. They've been overpaying for it," says Franzia.

In Australia, John Casella, managing director of Casella Wines, which makes Yellow Tail, took the news phlegmatically.

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