Uncommon Video Interview With Ernest Gallo Reveals Rags To Riches Story Of The World’s Largest Wine Company


In 1933, upon the demise of their father, Ernest and Julio Gallo took over the household vineyards in Modesto, California, and found that they’d been mortgaged to the hilt. “My father left the small vineyards hopelessly in debt,…and we had been on the verge of shedding them,” commented Ernest Gallo, in a uncommon video interview with Marvin Shanken, Chairman of M. Shanken Communications. “We thought that by going into the wine enterprise – taking the crop and changing it into wine – we may in all probability get sufficient to save lots of the property, and that’s what we did.”

From that humble starting, Ernest and Julio Gallo grew their firm into the world’s largest wine company. By 2007, when Ernest handed away on the age of 97, E&J Gallo produced 40 completely different wine manufacturers, totaling 75 million circumstances, with annual revenues of $1.5 billion. As we speak the corporate has grown to 130 manufacturers, totaling 100 million circumstances, with $4 billion in revenues in 2020. E&J Gallo, nonetheless a privately held family-run firm, employs greater than 7,000 individuals and markets their manufacturers in 100 nations.

However the video interview of Ernest Gallo, filmed by Shanken and his crew in 1999, virtually didn’t occur. “Ernest was very personal,” defined Shanken, “and he hardly ever spoke to anybody. However we turned pals in 1975 when he wrote me a thanks observe for an article I had written concerning the Gallo Vineyard in my Impression e-newsletter,” (Shanken’s first publication, earlier than Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, and so forth.)

The Video Interview With Ernest Gallo That Virtually Didn’t Occur

Shanken and Gallo continued to fulfill over time, in each California and Shanken’s house in New York. “Ernest liked my spouse’s (Hazel’s) brisket,” he mentioned. “We turned very shut. He was like a mentor to me. If he requested me a query, he knew he would get an trustworthy reply. Our relationship was constructed on belief.”

Ultimately, Shanken approached Gallo with the concept of an interview. “I wished to do the interview as a present for his household,” defined Shanken. “For a few years he rejected the concept, as a result of he didn’t wish to present himself in any manner. Then someday he simply known as and mentioned OK.”

So Shanken and his crew flew to California, however once they arrived, Ernest instructed Shanken he needed to signal a confidentiality settlement with a $1 million violation penalty. “I refused to signal it,” mentioned Shanken, “and Ernest turned to his lawyer and mentioned, ‘I instructed you this was a dumb concept.’” And so over the following few days the video was filmed on the Gallo of Sonoma vineyard, and at Gallo’s house in Modesto, with roosters crowing within the background.

When the video was completed, Shanken had it edited and provides 35 copies of the disk to Ernest to share together with his household and grandchildren. Nevertheless it wasn’t till the yr 2008, (one yr after Ernest’s demise) when Joe Gallo, Ernest’s son, requested Shanken to talk on the 75th anniversary celebration of the vineyard, that the subject of the video surfaced once more. “That was once we discovered that Ernest had put the 35 disks in a vault, and his household had by no means seen the video,” reported Shanken.

As soon as this was found, the Gallo household requested Shanken to share the video on the anniversary celebration. The present video, together with commentary from Shanken and an introduction by CBS sportscaster and winemaker, Jim Nantz, was created at the moment, however not launched to the general public till March of 2022.

When requested why the video was lastly launched 23 years after its creation, Shanken responded, “It was by no means meant to be launched to the general public. It was a present from my coronary heart for future Gallo generations, however after the success of different video interviews, such because the one with Michael Jordan which acquired thousands and thousands of views for Cigar Aficionado over three years, I wrote a letter to his son, Joe Gallo, and requested how he would really feel about me releasing it. Joe wrote again and mentioned sure.”

Wine Advertising Knowledge – The Legacy of Ernest Gallo

Because the launch of the video interview with Ernest Gallo in March 2022, response from trade executives, wine lovers, college students of wine, and the Gallo household has been very optimistic. Shanken has acquired many emails and notes of thanks.

“The video is necessary to individuals who care concerning the historical past of wine,” mentioned Shanken. “Whereas his brother Julio centered on winemaking, Ernest was answerable for wine advertising and marketing and gross sales. He was the primary to take a look at distribution in knowledgeable manner. He was one of many first to do wine promoting and billboards. He was a real uncommon model builder.”

Trade leaders agree with Shanken on the influence of the video. Wayne E. Chaplin, CEO of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the most important wine distributor within the U.S., states, “In relation to gross sales and advertising and marketing for wine, Ernest Gallo is the trade’s forefather. To him, it was apparent and simply frequent sense to take heed to the retailer, produce a product the client desires, and show it in the perfect location within the retailer so the patron can’t miss it. He and the Gallo group have at all times centered on perfection, figuring out that reaching for perfection would yield the perfect outcome doable. This foundational method stays half off the Gallo vineyard’s DNA to today.”

Invoice Newlands, President and CEO of Constellation Manufacturers

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, shares, “Ernest Gallo was an trade titan who made a profound influence on the US wine market and all those that had been lucky to work with him. Everybody acknowledged Ernest as a visionary. However maybe much more importantly, he was additionally an ideal listener. He was as soon as requested why he didn’t communicate extra in conferences. His reply: ‘I study little after I’m speaking.’ His real mental curiosity and keenness for the enterprise actually set him aside.”

Ray Johnson, Government Director of the Wine Enterprise Institute at Sonoma State College, house of the primary Wine MBA in America, says, “Interviews like this historic one with Ernest Gallo showcase the teachings of our biggest leaders, permitting the following technology to profit from their insights and knowledge.”

Stephanie Gallo, CMO of E&J Gallo, and great-grand-daughter of Ernest, shares, “This can be a very particular interview for me because it actually captures the spirit of my grandfather in addition to the imaginative and prescient, drive, and confidence he and his brother, Julio, shared. They not solely established their enterprise however they helped create an American wine-drinking tradition that continues to thrive at present.”



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