Move over Fred Franzia.
Matt Cornfoot, who worked for Franzia for 17 years, has developed a brand called Rare Red that's turning heads because it can be found for five bucks.
Five Buck Matt?
Actually most retailers price Rare Red between $7 and $10, but Cornfoot says it is still a great value wine because his goal is to "over deliver" quality.
Last month Cornfoot came out with a new bottling of Rare Red, a non-vintage blend of 43 percent syrah, 37 percent barbera, 11 percent zinfandel and 9 percent sangiovese. It has a California appellation, which gives Cornfoot a broader source of grapes and will allow him to produce up to 5,000 cases.
Cornfoot blends and bottles all its wines in Lodi. Other bottlings include a white blend and a rose.
"One thing I learned from the Franzias is volume," Cornfoot said.
When he sells 60 cases to a retailer rather than three to five cases, he can offer a better price, one that ultimately makes the wine more attractive to the consumer.
Cornfoot doesn't actually want to compete with Franzia or his powerhouse Bronco Wine Co., headquartered in Ceres. "Fred has 40,000 acres of producing vines debt-free," he said.
What's more, Cornfoot said he doesn't want to compete in Franzia's super value category of $2 to $4.99 because "it's so labor intensive."
Franzia became an icon when his super-value Two Buck Chuck brand, or Charles Shaw, gave new meaning to budget brands.
"With super value brands you're constantly moving product in the store and there's no time to sell," Cornfoot said.
One of the Rare Red brands that has been on the market for a couple of years is the Rare Red 3-Grape Blend, Amador County. The non-vintage blend is 42 percent zin, 38 percent syrah and 20 percent barbera.
"The wine is approachable," Cornfoot said. "And we spell out the varietals right on the label. People will buy it and find the varietals in the glass &#8230; whatever the reason, it's working."
Logic suggests the brand is working for everyday wine drinkers on a budget and for the ever-curious millennials, the offspring of the baby boomers who no doubt find it a challenge to "discover" the varietals in the glass.
"We're bringing rare blends that are interesting and approachable to the consumer," Cornfoot said. "There are a lot of wines under $10 - chardonnay, cabernet and merlot -- but it's a little boring out there."
Staff writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 707-521-5310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.