The E & J Gallo Winery in California

GalloWineryHeadquartered in Modesto, California, E & J Gallo Winery is, as the name would suggest, a winery and a distributor. Founded by Ernest and Julio Gallo in 1933, it has become the largest exporter and national distributor of wines produced in California. The history of E & J Gallo Winery is a great study in marketing and business expansion.

Company History

In 1933, the Gallo brothers started the winery upon the repeal of Prohibition. Prior to this, they made a living by growing and selling grapes.

At the time, they were competing against more established, larger, and better financed companies. Within the first few years of the repeal of Prohibition, there were no less than 800 wine companies already in business throughout the country.

With a starting capital of not much more than $5,000, almost all of which was borrowed from Ernest’s mother-in-law, the brothers educated themselves on commercial wine making by reading old publications by the University of California, which were no more than pre-Prohibition pamphlets.

However, in spite of the harrowing beginnings, the brothers overcame the obstacles and by 1993 had developed the business into the country’s largest winery, together with a 25 percent share in the North American wine market.


The Gallo brothers were among the first to use the television for advertising wine. They were also the first to introduce modern merchandising and brand management to the wine industry. The company were among the pioneers in quality initiatives like grape research programs and long-term grower contracts with respect to varietal grapes.

Furthermore, they were the first to set up a significant foreign marketing and sales force to improve opportunities for exporting California wines overseas.

Most Popular Brands sold by Ernest & Julio Gallo

Andre Champagne

Andre Champagne is the United States’ best-selling sparkling wine brand. Depending on where it’s purchased, it can frequently be bought for as little as $4 to $5 for a bottle. It comes in differing varietals, including Extra Dry, Brut, Blush, Spumante, Cold Duck, strawberry flavor, as well as peach-flavored California Champagne.

Although in 2006 the United States agreed not to approve any further wine labels that included the term “champagne” for U.S.-produced products, as a grandfathered label, Andre is legally permitted to utilize the term.
Among the sparkling wines that the company produces, it is Andre’s Brut California Champagne that many people note to have been their first experience of drinking this particular variety of wine. One description of it, which was made by a champagne expert, is that it’s similar to ginger ale, with its pale yellow coloring, lemony, sweet flavor, and with a touch of apple flavor and low bubbles (Co2 Gas).

Carlo Rossi

Carlo Rossi is a wine brand which was named after Charles Rossi who was related to the Gallo family through marriage and previously worked for the company in sales. At one time, Carlo Rossi wines were the second best selling brand in the country.

Boone’s Farm

Boone’s Farm was previously an apple wine, though now the flavors, instead of being wine-based are malt-based, which came about due to alterations in tax laws. It’s a brand that has become particularly favorable on college campuses on account of its low price.

In various states, like that of Utah, some of the Boone Farm product range have been labeled as malt beverages as opposed to flavored citrus/ apple wine products, given that state liquor laws have prohibited the selling of wine in convenience and grocery stores.

Barefoot Wine
The Barefoot Wine brand is produced by Barefoot Cellars in Modesto, California. E & J Gallo Winery purchased the winery in 2005.

Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey introduced Barefoot Wine in 1986. Jennifer Wall, Barefoot’s winemaker, who has been with the company for over 20 years, currently produces 17 varietals and blends, all of which are distinct, and these include: Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot noir, Zinfandel, Moscato, White Zinfandel, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Moscato, Chardonnay, Extra Dry sparkling wine, Brut Cuvee Chardonnay sparkling wine, Moscato Spumante, Pinot grigio sparkling wine, and Pink Cuvee sparkling wine.

The wines produced by Barefoot Wine are distributed to most states within the U.S. and also exported to Canada, Asia, and Europe. They have national grocery listings within the United Kingdom.

The brand has won several awards and achieved numerous accolades. In fact, the wines produced by Jennifer Wall are the more rewarded sparkling and still wines in the country, having received over 2,000 medals.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, CEO of Inspired Marketing, Inc., is a small business marketing coach who teaches women entrepreneurs how to monetize their message so they can make more money from their expertise. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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