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Ernest Gallo Dead at 97

Posted by dave

Ernest Gallo

Ernest Gallo, personally responsible for either the making of or distribution of many of the wines that you drink (and we have reviewed) died on Tuesday, March 6, 2007. He was 97 years old.

He and his brother Julio started making wine just after the lifting of prohibition in 1933, charging half of what the going rate for a gallon of wine was at the time. The $30,000 they made in their first year of business helped skyrocket the company to the largest wine distributor in the world.

Aside from making their own series of labels of wine, they also became responsible for seeking out and finding international wines and bringing them into the US, like the DaVinci 2005 Chianti we reviewed here earlier. Their basic business plan involved bringing good, affordable wine to the average consumer – a tenant that we absolutely love.

Both Gallo brothers suffered from disturbing pasts – including the murder-suicide deaths of their parents, a mere 2 months before their first winery opened for business. They shunned publicity, and ruled their empire with an iron fist, demanding intense loyalty from all who worked for them. Julio, who passed away in 1993 at the age of 83, was primarily responsible for making their signature brand wines. Ernest handled sales, marketing, and distribution primarily.

At his death, the gentleman who – along with his brother – put Modesto, CA on the map – had a wine empire that distributed over 75 million cases of wine under 40+ labels.

We’re pretty sure we drank at least one million of those cases personally last year.

So today we mourn the passing of a man who helped define the very class of wines we review here at The Bar Project, and have helped introduce countless millions of people to the pleasures of wine.

Thank you Mr. Gallo, you will be missed.

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