How Julio Gallo and His Brother Became Rich with Wine

On March 21 in the year 1910, one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the wine industry was born in California, USA. His name was Julio Gallo, the co-founder of E&J Gallo Winery, the world’s largest wine and spirit producer.

Julio Gallo
Julio Gallo (Photo Credit: E & J Gallo Winery via Wiki Commons)

Julio Gallo was the son of a wealthy grape farmer and wine-maker who was an immigrant from Italy. After graduating from high school, he joined his father’s farm. When his father’s died of suicide, he and his elder brother, Ernest, continued to manage the family farm. In 1933, the brothers founded E&J Gallo Winery in the Central valley of California. In its first year, 177, 847 gallons of wine were produced and in the following year, production was more than doubled. Julio took care of the farms and wine-making while Ernest handled marketing and finance.

After World War II, the brothers acquired several vineyards and registered the Gallo trademark. In 1958, they established their own glassmaking plant. In 1966, the company became the largest winery in the United States by sales volume. At this time, it already signed long term contract with most vineyards in California.

For most of its existence, the company produced and aggressively marketed inexpensive wines. In the 1970s, it began to hire more scientists and wine experts as it introduced premium-quality fine and varietal wines. In 1976, it constructed its oak cellar in the city of Modesto. In 1980s, the company went international, establishing its first overseas office in London. In 1999, E&J was named “Winery of the Century” by the Los Angeles County Fair.

Julio Gallo was instrumental in making use of technology to improve its company’s wine making processes. The company pioneered the use of stainless steel and more importantly, the computerization of its operations.
Julio died in a car accident in 1993 at the age of 83. He had two children with his wife Aileen.


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