The Wine Big Boys, Part 2 — THE DOMINANT COMPANY THAT STARTED IT ALL: E&J GALLO

E&J Gallo

E & J Gallo Winery was founded in 1933 by Ernest Gallo and Julio Gallo in Modesto, California. E & J Gallo Winery is the largest exporter of California wines. The company has been pivotal in establishing Sonoma County as one of the premier wine growing regions in the world.

The two brothers started the winery following the repeal of Prohibition after years of growing and selling grapes. Ernest and Julio were competing against larger, more established, and better financed companies, including more than 800 wine companies in the first few years after Prohibition in California alone. Their starting capital was less than $6,000, with $5,000 of that borrowed by Ernest from his mother-in-law.

The brothers learned the craft of commercial winemaking by reading old, pre-Prohibition pamphlets published by the University of California which they retrieved from the basement of the Modesto Public Library.

E & J Gallo Winery is the largest family-owned winery in the United States. As of 22 September 2008, fifteen members of the family’s second, third, and fourth generations work for the company.

Gallo helped develop and implement the Code of Sustainable Wine Growing Practices, in collaboration with the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

The Code promotes sustainable practices which are environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially equitable. It covers virtually every aspect of the wine business including viticulture and grape growing, wine making, purchasing and building and maintaining productive relationships with neighbors and the local communities.

Ernest and Julio were instrumental in introducing American consumers to wine and creating the modern US wine market. They were among the pioneers of wine advertising on television and launched many memorable wine advertising campaigns. They were the first to introduce brand management and modern merchandising to the wine industry, and led the way in bringing new products to store shelves. They were first in breakthrough quality initiatives such as long-term grower contracts for varietal grapes and grape research programs. They were also first to establish a truly significant foreign sales and marketing force to export California wines overseas.

Wine Brands

In addition to the Gallo Family Vineyards brand, the company makes, markets, and distributes wine under other labels including Louis M. Martini, Mirassou Vineyards, MacMurray Ranch, Rancho Zabaco, Ecco Domani, Frei Brothers, Red Bicyclette, Bella Sera, Turning Leaf, Black Swan, Sebeka, Twin Valley, Barefoot Wine, Redwood Creek, and Bridlewood. Additionally, they make the low-end fortified wines Thunderbird and Night Train Express.

André is the best-selling brand of sparkling wine in the United States. It often sells for about $4 to $5 per bottle, depending on the store. André’s California Champagne does not use traditional Champagne wine making methods, but is instead bulk fermented. While the United States agreed in 2006 to not approve any new wine labels for US produced products that include the term “Champagne,” André is legally allowed to use the term as a grandfathered label.

Carlo Rossi is a brand of wine produced by the E & J Gallo Winery. The brand was named after Charles Rossi, at the time a salesman for Gallo and a relation of the Gallo family by marriage. Charlie Rossi starred in TV ads for the brand in the 1970s. Carlo Rossi wines were at one point the second best selling brand in the United States.

Boone’s Farm was formerly a brand of apple wine produced by the E & J Gallo Winery. Now, flavors are malt-based instead of wine-based due to changes in tax laws. The brand is popular on college campuses due to its low price.

Additional brands

• Alamos[21]
• Anapamu
• Ballatore
• Bartles & Jaymes
• Cask & Cream
• Clarendon Hills
• Dancing Bull
• DaVinci
• Don Miguel Gascon
• E & J Brandy
• Frutézia • Ghost Pines
• Hornsby’s
• Indigo Hills
• Liberty Creek
• Livingston Cellars
• Marcelina
• Martĩn Cõdax
• Maso Canali
• Mattie’s Perch
• McWilliam’s
• New Amsterdam Gin
• Night Train
• Peter Vella
• Pölka Dot
• Redwood Creek
• Red Rock Winery
• Thunderbird
• Tisdale Vineyards
• Whitehaven
• William Hill Estate
• Wild Vines
• Wycliff Sparkling[9]

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