Bronco Wine Company

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The Bronco Wine Company in Ceres, California.
Grapevines growing on the grounds of the Bronco Wine Company in Ceres, California.

The Bronco Wine Company is a vintner that produces wines under many brands and is based in Ceres, California. It is the fourth largest producer of wine in the United States.[citation needed][1]

Fred and Joe Franzia attended Santa Clara University and picked their school symbol for the company. Bronco is a contraction of Brothers and Cousin, after the three founders.

Key people[edit]

CEO Fred Franzia, nephew of wine legend Ernest Gallo, started Bronco Wine in 1973, with his brother, Joseph, and cousin, John Franzia, after the Franzia winery business was purchased by Coca-Cola and then later by the Wine Group, a privately held bulk wine producer based in San Francisco (the source of the "bag-in-box" wines that bear the Franzia name, but which have no connection to either the Franzia family or to Bronco).

Land holdings[edit]

Bronco owns over 35,000 acres (140 km²) of vineyards most of which are located in California's Central Valley. With storage and production facilities in Ceres, Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Escalon and Madera. The wine producer has the capacity to produce 61 million gallons (230 million L) of wine annually. Total annual sales are approximately 20 million cases[citation needed].[2]


Bronco Wine is best known for its Charles Shaw brand of varietals, which for over ten years were commonly nicknamed "Two Buck Chuck" because of the retail price of $1.99 a bottle at Trader Joe's stores in California and some other states.[3] Slightly higher prices prevail elsewhere, mainly because of transport costs.

Franzia's marketing methods contrast with those of his higher priced competitors, although he is also credited with introducing new consumers to the wine market and ultimately to the premium brands. His business model is based on ownership of over 45,000 vineyard acres (180 km2), largest in the country, and the continuing surplus of grapes.

Franzia himself has said in reference to claims that he sells wine for virtually the same price as a bottle of water:

"They're overcharging for the water. Don't you get it?".


"I don't make wine to put in a closet. We sell wine to drink.[4]"

In August 2013, Bronco Wine Company entered into a marketing campaign for its Allure Moscato wine products in partnership with Hip Hop artist Warren G and Brand Elite, LLC.[5]

Media reports[edit]

A profile in SF Weekly noted:

Franzia, his brother, and a cousin co-own Bronco and control at least 35,000 acres (140 km²) of vineyards under cultivation in the Central Valley, more than any other entity...Bronco also controls its own distribution company, Classic Wines of empire that stretches from near Sacramento to the edge of the Tehachapi Mountains an hour north of Los Angeles, where Bronco is busy planting at least one new "section" – which is to say, 640 acres (2.6 km²), or a square mile – each year.[1]

Franzia and Bronco were also featured in the 2007 documentary A State of Vine.

Legal problems[edit]

In 1993 Franzia and Bronco Wine Company were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to defraud by misrepresenting cheaper grapes as premium Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bronco pleaded no contest and paid a $2.5 million fine. Franzia also pleaded guilty for his involvement, paid a $500,000 fine, stepped down as Bronco's president and member of the company's board of directors and agreed to refrain from having any involvement with grape purchasing for five years in lieu of prison time.[6]

Franzia has also been at odds with California's premium winemakers for several years over his inclusion of Napa and other related appellation terms on labels of his wines. Franzia sued the state of California over implementation of a 2000 law that tightened federal labeling laws. His lawsuit was unsuccessful initially and up through the appeals process as well; he eventually sought certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, but the Court declined to take the case.[7]

Labor problems[edit]

On May 16, 2008, a pregnant, 17-year-old farm worker collapsed and later died while pruning vines at a vineyard east of Stockton, California, owned by West Coast Grape Farming, a division of Bronco Wines. Though a labor subcontractor was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death, West Coast Grape Farming and Bronco Wines were not implicated.[8]

Wine awards[edit]

The affordable Charles Shaw Chardonnay wine beat out 350 other California chardonnays to win the double gold at the 2007 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. Charles Shaw Chardonnay is mass-produced in California and sold only through Trader Joe's grocery stores. "We choose to sell good quality wines at $2 a bottle because we think it's a fair price," Fred Franzia told ABC News. "We think the other people are charging too much."[9]


The Bronco Wine Company maintains over 60 brands of wine, including:[10][11]

  • Albertoni Vineyards
  • Alexander and Fitch
  • Almond Creek
  • Bad Dog Ranch
  • Bears' Lair
  • Black Mountain
  • Blue Fin
  • CC Vineyards
  • Cedar Brook
  • Charles Shaw, AKA Two Buck Chuck
  • Chateau California
  • Coastal Ridge
  • Coastal Vines
  • Congress Springs
  • Crane Lake
  • Domaine Laurier
  • Domaine Napa
  • Dona Sol
  • Douglass Hill
  • Down Under
  • Estrella
  • Fat Cat
  • Forest Glen
  • Forest Hill
  • ForestVille
  • Foxbrook
  • FoxHollow
  • Grand Cru
  • Green Fin
  • Green Truck
  • Grove Ridge
  • Hacienda
  • Harlow Ridge
  • JW Morris
  • JFJ Winery
  • Laurier
  • Mongo Wine
  • Montpellier
  • Napa Creek
  • Napa Crossing
  • Napa Landing
  • Napa Ridge
  • Napa River
  • Oak Vineyards
  • Pacific Oasis
  • Pink Truck
  • Quail Creek
  • Quail Ridge
  • Raymond Hill
  • Red Truck
  • Redwood
  • Rock Brook
  • Rutherford Vintners
  • Salmon Creek
  • Santa Barbara Crossing
  • Santa Barbara Landing
  • Sea Ridge
  • Silver Ridge
  • The California Winery
  • Thousand Oaks
  • Three Knights Vineyards
  • Trellis
  • White Truck


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck Gets a Price Hike
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Warren G Partners with Bronco Wine Company and Brand Elite as the New Face of Allure Moscato". Marketwatch. 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  6. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "First Amendment Center". Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved 2007-11-30."...Napa vintners yesterday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision that let stand a ruling that wine with the “Napa” name on the bottle must be made with grapes grown in that famous region."
  8. ^ "3 charged in pregnant farm worker's death". Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  9. ^ "The judgment of California: Charles Shaw chardonnay is state's best (Friday, June 29, 2007)". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  10. ^ "Brand Owner Bronco Wine Company". Uchisearch, LLC. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
  11. ^ "RedTruckWinery". Archived from the original on 2012-12-27.

External links[edit]