Ernest Gallo was born March 18, 1909 in Jackson, California.
His father Joseph Gallo, Sr. had immigrated to America from Italy’s famed wine making region of Piedmont.
Ernest and his younger brother Julio grew up working in the family vineyard growing grapes.
Then at the height of the Great Depression in June of 1933, thier father Joseph shot their mother and then killed himself.
Two months later, in anticipation of the end of Prohibition, Ernest and his brother Julio borrowed $5,900 from his mother-in-law and founded E & J Gallo Winery.
They rented a small shed and began to make ordinary wine for 50 cents a gallon. With Ernest handling the marketing and Julio serving as winemaker, they sold $30,000 of wine the very first year after the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition December 5, 1933.
They went on to introduce 16 brands of wine and corner more than 25 percent of the American wine market.
“My brother Julio and I worked to improve the quality of wines from California and to put fine wine on American dinner tables at a price people could afford,” Ernest Gallo told The Modesto Bee on his 90th birthday. “We also worked to improve the reputation of California wines here and overseas.”
Ernest Gallo died on March 6, 2007— less than a month after brother Julio died in an auto accident —at the age of 97, in Modesto, California.
Now WE know em