Selling wine for $2 a bottle doesn’t seem like an easy way to make money and probably isn’t—until you look more closely at the numbers.
Yesterday, as Fred Franzia toasted Two-Buck Chuck’s fifth birthday at his winery in Napa, he talked green, green and greener.
First, he revealed that the Charles F. Shaw brand he rejuvenated in 2002 has surpassed the 300 million-bottle mark in sales, prompting us to pull out the calculator and do the math.
If Franzia earned a profit of 10 cents a bottle, his revenue is $30 million. If he made 25 cents a bottle, the pot is $75 million. And if he made 50 cents a bottle, that’s $150 million. Of course Two-Buck is only $1.99 in California; it’s closer to $2.99 elsewhere, which fattens the bottom line.
He has become, by virtue of his portfolio of low-priced wines, an unlikely consumer advocate, chastising wineries that charge more than $10 a bottle and restaurants that gouge diners by jacking up prices on their wine lists.
Now he's turning his attention to a new project—building a glass container plant in Napa, near his winery. He claims that if Napa County were to approve his plan, he would be launching the first new glass-production facility built in California since the 1960s.
Franzia asserts that his plant would benefit Napa by creating hundreds of jobs, a $35 million payroll and a fatter county tax base. He's also quick to point out that his plan will leave as little impact on the environment as possible. Workers will utilize practices that minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and the location (near the wineries of Napa and Sonoma) will help reduce diesel truck emissions.
If the plant gets the green light, Franzia will have more of the green stuff in his pockets. Say what you want about him, but he’s a savvy businessman. He operates by his own cutting-edge style, and he sees profit margins and opportunities that others ignore, dismiss or miss out on altogether.
Tom Breneman — eau claire, WI — April 18, 2007 5:27pm ET
Don Rauba — Schaumburg, IL — April 18, 2007 10:30pm ET
Chris Hilliard — Minnesota — April 18, 2007 10:58pm ET
Bernard J Finnegan — Alameda, CA, USA — April 19, 2007 12:00am ET
Mark Johnson — April 19, 2007 1:08pm ET
Charles J Stanton — Eugene, OR — April 20, 2007 4:20pm ET
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