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 to $10, but Cornfoot says it is still a great value wine because his goal is to “over deliver” quality.
Just last month he came out with Rare Red, a non-vintage blend of varietals from California, of which he may be able to produce up to 5,000 cases. Cornfoot sources fruit and juice from all over the state and blends and bottles the wine in Lodi. (Other bottlings include a white blend and a rose.)
“One thing I learned from the Franzias is volume,” Cornfoot said.
When Cornfoot sells 60 cases to a retailer rather than 3 to 5, he can offer a better price, one that ultimately makes the wine more attractive to the consumer.
However Cornfoot doesn’t actually want to compete with Franzia or his powerhouse Bronco Wine Co., headquartered in Ceres, Calif. “Fred has 40,000 acres of producing vines debt-free,” he said, implying “You can’t touch that.”
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 is best known for his “super value success” of his Two Buck Chuck brand or Charles Shaw.
“With super value brands you’re constantly moving product in the store and there’s no time to sell,” he said.
The wine I tasted was the Rare Red 3-Grape Amador, a non-vintage blend that is 42 percent zin, 38 percent syrah, and 20 percent barbara. Tasty, albeit slightly sweet, and yet for five dollars, it’s definitely worth the risk. For $10 … I’ll get back to you on that.
“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 … whatever the reason, it’s working.”
Sounds to me like “it’s working” for the budget of everyday wine drinkers and for the ever-curious millennials, the offspring of the baby boomers, who like to make wine discoveries.
Have you tasted Rare Red? What does your palate have to say? Is it worth $5? How about $10?