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Salmon Creek

We're planning for a spring wedding, and the hall we've rented serves Salmon Creek as their default. We've never tried it before, but were thinking of just passing and paying the corkage fee for our own bottles. I wouldn't say we're wine snobs, but we tend to buy bottles in the $15-$30 range.

Anybody tried Salmon Creek before? Thoughts?

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  1. A rose by any other name . . .

    Salmon Creek is one of the many labels owned by the Bronco Wine Co., producers of Charles Shaw (aka Two Buck Chuck). I'd pass and pay corkage, but that's me.

      1. I believe that Salmon Creek is a made-up label that sells wine only to restaurants (and perhaps caterers).

        It is very inexpensive -- perhaps in the $3 per bottle range.
        The clever idea is that it is never available retail, so the restaurant can serve something that is not available for purchase other than in restaurants. So you can't compare the retail price of the wine as you could with a more popular brand.

        What bothers me is that the restaurants usually price the wine at $20 per bottle, or so, which is obviously a huge markup. But they have to do that otherwise people would get suspicious. If they priced it at $10 per bottle, maybe more people would purchase wine in restaurants, but it would make their other wine seem outrageously expensive.

        That said, I once tried a Salmon Creek Cabernet, and it was not bad.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Joel

          I'm not sure what you mean by a "made up" label, but the practice you are describing is a reasonably common one.

          Salmon Creek is one of several labels, as I said above, from Bronco (the most famous of which is Charles Shaw, but they control roughly a dozen or so). It is "on-sale" only, meaning restuarants and caterers.

          Another example of this is William Wycliffe -- it's a "restaurant only" label made by Gallo to avoid the image that the restaurants how wine is Gallo Burgundy and/or Chablis.

          1. re: Joel

            You are correct, it is an on premise brand only and checks in at around $3 a bottle. Nothing like paying $3 a bottle and charging $4-$5 a glass. It's not bad, the Pinot Noir is pretty damn good. How much are they planning on charging you a bottle?

            1. re: Mr Lee Ho

              Salmon Creek is not just an on-premise brand; I manage a wine shop in Maine and it's available for purchase to sell in retail stores such as mine.

            2. re: Joel

              I'm an F&B director for a hotel in Southern California and Salmon Creek is our house brand. Pricing, for all wines, usually goes as far as the first glass pays for the bottle. Obviously, this allows a bottle to sit on the shelf if no one else wants it and you didn't take a lose financially. With that said, knowing that there are 4.5 glasses in a 750ml bottle, it gives you a bottle cost.

              1. re: Joel

                Just looking up Salmon Creek. I know these posts are old but I too first had Salmon Creek in a restaurant and was told it wasnt sold in stores. Well I never listen. Went to website for Salmon Creek and found a wine store , near me in Charlotte that sells it . We buy the Chardonnay by the case. Just love it and I am not always a bit Chardonnay fan.

                1. re: Joel

                  It also sells in wine shops. We sell it for $6.99/bottle (chard, pinot grigio, pinot noir & cab). I'd do as zin1953 suggests and serve something else BUT a lot of folks like it and we sell a ton of it. So, depending on your guest list you may or may not want to serve it. It's not horrible swill, but it's not anything you would seek out either. It's definitely better than 2 buck chuck.

                2. My wife and I bought several bottles of the 2001 merlot at a favorite little restaurant in the northern Sierra for $12, which we really enjoyed with various meals. Years ago, I vaguely remember reading an article where Bronco snuck Salmon Creek into the SF Chronicle Wine Tasting, where it did not belong since it was not for sale to the public, and it won a medal. I know nothing of the current production but there is way more horrible wine than Salmon Creek.

                  1. Well, we finally had our tasting the other day, and neither one of us was taken with it. It seemed to be a combination of our tastes and our experience (which wasn't great), but Salmon Creek didn't really win us over. We're shopping around now for some wines to bring to the hall ourselves.