Wine business is big business, and this industry is dominated by none other than E&J Gallo Winery, the largest wine empire in the world owned by Ernest Gallo.
To illustrate what position E&J Gallo Winery holds in the industry, combine the sales revenue of all three of its top competitors and you will see that it does not even come close to how much E&J Gallo Winery is making.
It was even estimated that one in every four bottles of wine sold in the United States comes from a Gallo brand, be it Gossamer Bay, Turning Leaf, Redwood Creek, Livingston Cellars, Peter Vela, Carlo Rossi, Burlwood, Liberty Creek or William Wyclif.
Ernest Gallo – Stirring the Concoction for Success
Ernest Gallo is not the scion of a wealthy businessman nor the successor to anyone in the wine enterprise. In fact, Gallo started from scratch and has an interesting rags-to-riches story that molded him into the kind of business leader he is today.
Gallo was born to immigrants Joseph Gallo, Sr. and his wife in Modesto, California in 1909. The family, which also included Gallo’s younger brothers Julio Gallo and Joseph Gallo, Jr., struggled through the Great Depression era and lived a poor life.
The Gallo brothers further suffered when both their parents died and had to take care of themselves at such an early age. Ernest, being the eldest among the three, strived hard to look for ways to provide for his brothers. Gallo’s reward for his hard work began when he and Julio gradually learned about winemaking by reading pamphlets in Modesto’s public library.
Armed with their newly acquired knowledge on the art of winemaking, the Gallo brothers Ernest and Julio established E&J Winery. Being the winery pioneer in California, the Gallos had no model to take after, what they had was only a vision to revolutionize the wine industry by giving what consumers wanted but are not getting from existing wines at the time.
E&J Winery addressed consumers’ desires by making a great variety of wines that are not only affordable but also have easy-to-remember names that do away with fancy, difficult-to-pronounce and pretentious labels that other wines have.
The Gallos’ marketing genius and strategies paid off when America gradually patronized Gallo wines over their competitors. Ernest and Julio Gallo further expanded their line of wines, and had even acquired properties such as Anapamu Cellars, Indigo Hills, Louis M. Martini, MacMurray Ranch, Marcelina Vineyards, Mirassou Vineyards, Rancho Zabaco, and Frei Brothers.
The Ernest Gallo Quick Bio
Full name: Ernest Gallo
Company: Gallo (E&J) Winery
Industry: Food and Beverage
Key success traits: determined, strategic, a marketing genius
Additional: Ernest and Julio Gallo co-authored a book entitled ‘Ernest and Julio: Our Story’, which recalls the inspiring story of two poor brothers who eventually built a billion-dollar winery through their perseverance, hard work and aspiration.