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Subject: Ernest Gallo - californian wine maker.

Written By: holicman on 03/07/07 at 6:29 pm

BERKELEY, California (AP) -- Ernest Gallo, who parlayed $5,900 and a
wine recipe from a public library into the world's largest
winemaking empire, died Tuesday at his home in Modesto. He was 97.

"He passed away peacefully this afternoon surrounded by his family,"
said Susan Hensley, vice president of public relations for E.&J.
Gallo Winery.

Gallo, who would have been 98 on March 18, was born near Modesto, a
then-sleepy San Joaquin Valley town about 80 miles east of San
Francisco. He and his late brother and business partner, Julio, grew
up working in the vineyard owned by their immigrant father who came
to America from Italy's famed winemaking region of Piedmont.

They founded the E.&J. Gallo Winery in 1933, at the end of
Prohibition, when they were still mourning the murder-suicide deaths
of their parents. Ernest and Julio rented a ramshackle building, and
everybody in the family pitched in to make ordinary wine for 50
cents a gallon -- half the going price. The Gallos made $30,000 the
first year.

It grew to become the world's largest wine company by volume, a
title since taken by Constellation Brands of New York. But Gallo
remains second, selling an estimated 75 million cases under more
than 40 labels.

"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," Mr. Gallo told The Modesto Bee on his 90th
birthday. "We also worked to improve the reputation of California
wines here and overseas."

Ernest directed sales, devised marketing strategies and kept a short
leash on distribution. Julio, who died in 1993, made the wine.

Gallo was no less tough on the people who worked for him as on those
he battled for business. He also demanded total loyalty from his
employees. In 1986, when he learned that two longtime Gallo
executives were secretly planning to buy a winery of their own, he
fired them on the spot.

Gallo was a courtly man who affected Old World manners. But in
business he was tenacious, shrewd, aggressive, and secretive. He and
others of the Gallo clan shunned publicity. The reason for the
secretiveness, many of their former associates said, was the way his
parents had died.

Fresno County records say their father, Joseph, shot their mother,
Susie, to death in June 1933, then killed himself. That was two
months before the founding of the Gallo winery.

Subject: Re: Ernest Gallo - californian wine maker.

Written By: nally on 03/08/07 at 10:24 pm, he lived a good long life.

Subject: Re: Ernest Gallo - californian wine maker.

Written By: Marian on 03/09/07 at 12:48 pm, he lived a good long life.
a 'local' favorite--godspeed.

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