Final Thoughts

This will be my final post, so it’s a doozy. Scroll all the way down the page to see each portion.

Touring Bronco Wine Co.

I got the chance to see where Charles Shaw is bottled and shipped from in Napa. Here are the highlights:

Fred Franzia is a simple man. He drives from his home in the Central Valley to Napa in an old truck with a ton of miles. He calls his workers a “hell of an asset”. He has delivered more than 500 million CASES of two buck chuck through one distribution channel, Trader Joe’s.

The warehouse by the Napa airport holds 700,000 cases of wine. They produce 240 bottles per minute, or 50,000 cases per day on just one bottling line. He doesn’t like screwcaps. He runs a tight ship (you could eat off the floor). Trader Joe’s has only one liquor license in New York State, so it’s used at the Union Square store. A 2400 square foot facility that sells the most Charles Shaw in the Nation. A truck acts like a mobile warehouse circling around the block restocking the shelves when needed.

He makes a ton of wine under a ton of different brands. Chances are you have had his wine and didn’t even realize it (I served a sparkling wine and a cab at our wedding, both of which are produced by Bronco and I didn’t even know it until I took the tour).

He’s a nice guy that has a bad rap, all because he found a niche.

Tastings (Press samples):

Folie a Deux 2009 – Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon $18 – $24, all very good – 88-90pts

Lodi Wine Country: Don’t dis these wines til you try em. My favorites included 2007 Bargetto Winery Old Vine Zinfandel 88pts ($19), 2007 VanRuiten Family Winery Zinfandel 92pts ($16), 2007 m2 “Artist Series” Zinfandel 92pts ($35) and the 2006 Mettler Family Vineyards Epicenter Zinfandel 90pts ($19).

Kosta Browne Wines:  Delicious Pinot Noir if you can find it.

Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate Winery: Inniskillin Icewine – Vidal Gold Icewine, Riesling Icewine, Cabernet Franc Icewine, every bottle was good, although my favorite was the Vidal Gold.

Brix Chocolate: Wine friendly Chocolates – Not bad but I still prefer cheese as a wine pairing.

Oakville tasting 2007’s:

Overrated wines: Far niente Cab, Futo Cab, Venge Cab, Opus One

Underrated: Swanson Cab, Gamble Family Cab, Ghost Block Cab, Kelham Vineyards Cab, Miner Cab, Paradigm Cab

Appellation St.Helena Tasting 2005’s:

Excellent: Vineyard 29 Aida Cabernet Sauvignon,Rockledge Cabernet, Salvestrin Cabernet, Corison Kronos Vineyard,  Jaffe Estate (Cab and Blend Great value), Stanton Vineyards Petite Syrah, Crocket & Starr Cab, Flora Springs Cab, Hall Cab, Raymond Cab

Mediocre: Whitehall Lane Cabernet, Wolf Family Cabernet, Spottswoode Cab, Titus Cab, Robert Biale Petite Syrah, Duckhorn Cab, Parry Cellars Cab

Lacking: Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc, David Fulton Winery, Anomaly Blend, Casa Nuestra Cab,  Titus Zin, Vineyard 29 Aida Zinfandel

The Wines of Navarra Spain: I didn’t like most of the wines from the region. Very acidic for my palate. There was one stand out winery though: Tandem. They offer an 04 Cab/Merlot Blend that I gave 92 pts ($30). A 3 person winery started by 2 friends making some good wine from 20 year old vines.

PS I love you – Petite Syrah Tasting

Good: 2007 Parducci 92pts($12), 2006 Robert Foley 92pts($60), 2007 Aver Family Vineyards Blessings from Organic Grapes 92pts($45), 2005 Quixote Stags Leap 90pts($50), 2008 Michael David 90pts($18), 2007 Artizen 92pts($25), 2007 Cinnabar 92pts($36)

Final Thoughts

Consumers: Wine is a delicious beverage, but it is still just that. Don’t buy into the hype of expensive star produced wines. You can find same great caliber wines for a lot less from little known producers. Support your local wineries. Support your local retailers. Explore different varieties. Always drink in moderation.

Bloggers: Don’t do it for the money. Don’t accept samples, there are to many strings attached. Blog to inform your friends and maybe some other readers will come along for the ride. Stay grounded.

Take Care,


P.S. You can still follow me at where I plan to revamp the site and blog about everything I enjoy, not limiting myself to one subject. I am busy building a online inventory management application for Used Car Dealers to post their used cars to Craigslist, and other vehicle advertising websites like Autotrader and, as well as getting their own website that connects to social media.