The well known titan of US wine, Ernest Gallo, passed away yesterday at his home in Modesto, California.
While most folks think of the Gallo family as producing the Hearty Burgundy in big jugs, the Gallo company makes everything from Boone’s Farm to Ecco Domani to the namesake Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that sells for well over $50. Chances are everyone in the US has sampled a Gallo wine at one point or another. As recently as 2003, they still owned over 25 % of the wine sales market in our country. With dozens of labels, including MacMurray Ranch, Frei Brothers, Red Bicycle, and Rancho Zabaco, Gallo is still a huge force in the wine industry.
But the folks in Chicago were the very first to taste Gallo grapes. In the late 20s, the Gallo family loaded up all of their harvest on railcars destined for Chicago for sale to home winemakers. Ernest himself traveled to Chicago frequently, starting at the age of 17, to sell his family’s grapes and conduct business. Clearly he did pretty well.
Raise a glass to Ernest tonight. To paraphrase, He sold no wine, before it was time