Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply pass the wine section of your local liquor store, chances are you’re familiar with the name Franzia. Yes, we’re talking about the boxed wine served from a plastic bladder. But did you know the Franzia family bloodline that brought you boxed wine now owns more than 120 wine brands around the world?
“Bronco Wine Company is the biggest wine company you’ve never heard of,” says Joe Landru, district manager at Bronco Wine Company.
All in the Family
Running wine companies is a family business for the Franzias. After Bronco Wine Company owners’ great grandfather, Giuseppe Franzia, immigrated from Italy to San Francisco, California in 1893, he purchased land in the San Joaquin Valley and planted his first vineyard. During prohibition, when individuals were legally allowed to make wine at home for private consumption, the Franzias shipped large quantities of grapes across the country to be used for homemade wine.
Post-prohibition, Giuseppe, his wife Teresa, and their five sons opened their first winery. Franzia Brothers Wine Company continued to grow, eventually launching Franzia boxed wine in the 1960s. In 1973, several family members decided to retire and sell the company to Coca Cola. Later that year, third-generation Franzias—John, Fred T., and Joseph S. Franzia—started Bronco Wine Company.
Since the Franzia name was sold with the previous company, the three entrepreneurs needed to come up with a new one. Joseph S. and Fred T. were brothers and John was their cousin, so they combined the words “brother” and “cousin” to form “Bronco.” Currently, there are more than a dozen Franzia family members working for the family business.
A Big Deal in the Wine World
Today, the Franzias own 35,000-55,000 acres of vineyards and five operation-only wineries. In fact, Bronco Wine Company is the fifth-largest winery in the country. With more than 120 brands and grape juice sold in bulk to wineries across the globe, if you don’t buy one of its brands directly, chances are your wine was produced using its grape juice. Some of Bronco Wine Company’s brands include Allure, Blanc De Bleu, Crane Lake, Carmenet, Gravel Bar, Rosenblum, Six Degrees.
The philosophy behind Bronco Wine Company is driven by quality and value. Fred T. often says, “We don’t sell wine to sit on the shelf, we sell it to drink.” The Franzia family is determined to give you the best possible wine for the best possible price. And nothing could prove that more than the Two-Buck Chuck, a Charles Shaw wine that only costs, you guessed it, $2. Despite its low price, Two-Buck Chuck is still a quality wine.
While Bronco Wine Company owns five wineries, it does not sell wine directly to consumers. Instead, the company sells to distributors, who then sell to retail and trade. “We augment that by doing tastings and events,” Landru says. Events like Minnesota Monthly‘s Food & Wine Experience, which is March 7&8 at Target Field this year. Bronco Wine Company will be pouring Blanc De Bleu, Cass GSM, Brady Cabernet Franc, Garnet Pinot Noir, Carmenet Chardonnay, Carmenet Pinot Noir, Carmenet Sparkling, Forest Glen, White Merlot, Buttonwood Rose, and La Catrina RTD at the event.
If you’re interested in learning more about Bronco Wine Company, its many brands, and long family history, visit broncowine.com.