DENAIR, Calif. – A man famous for championing affordable wine for the masses and credited for creating “Two Buck Chuck,” passed away at his home in California early Tuesday morning.
The Bronco Wine Company, founded by Fred Franzia, announced his death in a Facebook post. In the post, the company said that Franzia, who was 79, died at his home with his family by his side. No cause of death was given.
Franzia founded Bronco Wine Company in 1983 with the goal of making wine affordable. In its post, the company said, “Core to his vision was a belief that wine should be enjoyed and consumed on every American table.”
Franzia is credited with creating Charles Shaw, more commonly known as “Two Buck Chuck,” which has been exclusively sold at Trader Joe’s since 2002, CNN reported. The nickname “Two Buck Chuck” was earned because of its affordable price.
“Who says we’re lower priced? We’re the best price. The others, I think, are overpriced,” Franzia told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2009.
Franzia was indicted in 1993 by a federal grand jury for selling bottles of wine that had been labeled as “Zinfandel” but actually contained cheaper varieties of wine, Wine Spectator reported. He also famously butted heads with the Napa Valley Vintners over a California law requiring wines labeled “Napa” to contain at least 75% Napa Valley fruit.
Franzia never owned the boxed wine company that bears his name, CNN reported. Franzia’s parents sold the company in 1973 to Coca-Cola, which prompted him to start Bronco Wine Company. Franzia boxed wine is currently owned by the Wine Group, CNN reported.
Franzia is survived by five children, 14 grandchildren and his sisters.
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