After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, when the sale of alcohol was again legal in the US, brothers Ernest and Julio founded their winery in California’s Central Valley, renting a warehouse and buying crushing and fermentation equipment on credit. They contracted grapes from local growers, promising them payment after the wine was sold.
“Fortune has a way of favoring those at the right place at the right time... which is exactly where Julio and I were in 1933.”
– Ernest Gallo
In 1948, the Winery entered into a long-term contract with grape growers Walter and Louis Frei in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. The partnership lasted 30 years until Gallo bought Frei Ranch in 1977 and later built the Sonoma Winery there.
“I began making regular buying trips into Sonoma and Napa counties, leaving home as early as three or four o’clock in the morning, often in the thick fog that blankets the Valley floor in the winter.”
– Ernest Gallo
In 1958, Gallo built a laboratory for basic research into grape growing and winemaking. Knowledge gained through the research program is shared with the growers – an example of their commitment to the advancement of the entire wine industry.
Even in the Winery’s earliest days, innovation and research were considered important. Over the years, research done at the Gallo winery has led to many advances in winemaking.
In 1965, Gallo established the industry’s first Grower Relations Department, an organization of viticulturists who counsel and inform the Winery’s contracted grape growers.
Communication and trust between the Winery and the growers has long been a cornerstone of our commitment to producing top-quality wines.
With the second generation becoming more active in the Family’s business, Ernest’s son Joseph established the first international sales office in the United Kingdom. Today, we share our wines with over 90 countries throughout the world.
“You didn’t grow up a Gallo and not work. The basic work ethic is very strong.”
— Gina Gallo
Gallo introduce their Turning Leaf range of wines to celebrate the uniqueness of individual grape varieties. Crafted by a team of specialist winemakers, each devoting their unique knowledge and passion exclusively to just one grape, Turning Leaf continues to produce award winning wines today.
“Working to maintain and express the varietal character of the original grapes in the bottle is a wonderful challenge.”
— Monica Trinkle, Shiraz Rosé Winemaker
Having succeeded in producing wines that are ‘true to the grape’ with Turning Leaf, Gallo wanted to show the importance of location with the introduction of their Coastal Vineyards range in 2001. Coastal Vineyards represent the essence of the revered North Coast region of California, where the unique coastal climate produces grapes of the highest quality.
“By Nature we were never satisfied with doing anything less than well. Each of us was guided by one principle: to strive for perfection.”
— Ernest Gallo
Gallo Family Vineyards is launched internationally as an umbrella for the Gallo wines of California. With the third generation of the Gallo family now firmly at the helm, Gallo Family Vineyards produces some of the UK’s best loved wines.
“Our guiding principle remains the same as it was for our grandparents: make each vintage better than the last. This philosophy has helped us create wines that continue to receive international recognition.”
— Gina Gallo
Ernest Gallo passes away on 6th March 2007 aged 97. Along with his brother Julio, who passed away in 1993, he helped build the American wine industry and achieved one of the greatest American business successes of the 20th century.
“My father’s passion for the wine industry was matched only by his passion for life and for his family. In fact, one of his proudest achievements is that the company can remain family owned and operated as a result of the steps he took during his lifetime.”
- Joseph Gallo – CEO E & J Gallo Winery