I've got a lot of respect for Fred Franzia, head of Bronco Wine Company. He's a shrewd and iconoclastic businessman who's not afraid to challenge the status quo. Did I mention he's a shrewd businessman? Perhaps too much for his own good, I find myself thinking these days.
I received a fax last week of a press release from Bronco wines announcing the release of their new line of Fat Cat wines.
"New Orleans Inspired Fat Cat Wines Debut, August 2006" said the press release. "New Orleans is a place like no other. The indomitable spirit and culture of the Big Easy lives on and continues to be evident in the regional cuisine. To celebrate Louisiana's unique Jazz music, culture and cuisine, Bronco Wine Company has launched the new "Fat Cat" varietal wines. With a whimsical label featuring a fat cat playing a jazz piano, these wines are meant to be fun, approachable, and shared at the table with friends."
Apparently in addition to being fun, they're also meant to be top of mind -- released coincidentally on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. These wines are celebrating the place, but apparently not a penny of the profits from these wines will go towards helping aid the still devastated region. When I heard that, my jaw dropped.
Now I don't know enough about these wines, nor their history to be able to level the accusation that Franzia is milking public sentiment and capitalizing on the tragedy to sell some wine. But I gotta say, this certainly could be interpreted that way without too much stretching of the imagination.
If that were actually true, it would be incredibly offensive and, in my mind, completely unethical.
What do you think? Am I reading too much into this?
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune