Cottonwood Creek is one of the 50+ wineries under the banner of Bronco Wine Company, founded by the Franzia family, who have over 100 years of experience in California winemaking. Like so many other American winemakers, the Franzias started in Italy, and then transferred their knowledge and experience to the U.S.
For a time, they had a better life. Then, Prohibition came along and upended their tidy business. It was a life lesson that taught them they had to find a way to continue.
One of the little-known facts about Prohibition is that people could still make wine for their own personal use. (Wine could also be made for "sacramental" purposes, and there was probably no time in our history where the sacrament of communion was so popular as it was during Prohibition.) The Franzias were one of the leading suppliers of grapes to other Italian immigrants in New York and Chicago, who used them to make homemade wine.
Today's Franzia is a multi-national company with several locations and a host of winemakers with special skills that are reserved just for certain wines. Margaret Leonardi is one of those winemakers. Her youth and charisma coupled with her education and verve were just what they were looking for when they hired her. And she hits it out of the park with this selection.
Here is a glorious, completely organic Pinot Grigio with all the apple, lemon and pear essences we would expect from Italy. But, then again, maybe it's the person as much as the place that makes the wine.