By the end of the month restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday is expected to have Franzia’s Coastal Vines on the menu of its 850-plus eateries across America for $10 a bottle. In January the chain began a pilot program in various parts of the country, including Massachusetts, Minnesota and Georgia.

“Ten restaurants in Minnesota sold over 3,200 bottles of Coastal Vines Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 28 days,” according to Joe Yurchukonis, regional sales manager of Franzia’s Bronco Wine Co., based in Ceres, Calif. “People are watching their money these days – There’s a lot of interest from other chains and even independent restaurants.”

Franzia said “I can deliver wine to any restaurant in the U.S. for $3 or less, giving restaurants at least a $7 profit per bottle … there’s no reason that California cannot compete with any wines of the world on our own turf.”

Harvey Posert, a spokesman for Bronco, said the company is able to sell wine for $3 a bottle because the Franzia Family is the largest grape grower in California, with 35,000-plus acres. “Bronco is also one of the largest wineries in the country and it has enormous efficiencies of scale and Fred runs a tight ship .. Fred’s goal is to have an inexpensive wine that everybody in the U.S. can afford.”

Ruby Tuesday, based in Marysville, Tenn., offers casual dining, featuring burgers and a salad bar. There are five restaurants in California, three near Sacramento and two in southern

California.

What do you think of Fred Franzia’s latest endeavor? Do you think a $10 bottle of wine at a restaurant chain is a welcome sight in this economy?