E. & J. Gallo Winery brings merlot to the masses. The company is the world's largest family-owned winemaker, thanks in part to such value-jug and -box labels as Carlo Rossi and Peter Vella. The vintner owns seven wineries and some 16,000 acres of California vineyards; it also contracts with other growers statewide to meet its supply needs. It is the leading US exporter of California wine, selling some 60 brands, including table and sparkling wines, and imports 14 of its name brands from countries dotting the globe. Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma Reserve and the Italian wine Ecco Domani are among its premium wines and imports. E. & J. Gallo Winery was established in 1933.
Headquartered in Modesto, California, Gallo Winery owns nine wineries in California and Washington and more than 16,000 acres of vineyards across the Golden State. Gallo products are sold in more than 90 countries.
For a stiffer drink, Gallo offers several distilled spirits, including gin and tequila. The two brands of distilled spirits include New Amsterdam Gin and Familia Camarena Tequila. The vintner also imports and sells wine from Argentina, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and New Zealand.
While privately-owned E. & J. Gallo Winery doesn't report its financial results, the vintner rings up an estimated $3.4 billion in sales.
The company aims to fuel growth through an expansion of its international presence. In 2012 it inked a distribution deal to distribute Italy's Brancaia wines in the US. As part of the distribution deal, E. & J. Gallo sells Brancaia's portfolio of wines, which include Brancaia Chianti Classico, Brancaia Tre (Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon), Brancaia Ilatraia (Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Petite Verdot), Brancaia Il Blu (Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon).
Gallo's dominance in the US market has grown from a focus on popularly priced wines. Pursuing a broader domestic base, it has extended its range of prices and products, from alcohol-added wines and wine coolers to mid-priced and imported varietals that fetch more than $50 a bottle. A number of premium wines, including Whitehaven and Frei Brothers, debuted with the Gallo name omitted.
Amid a competitive lower-end market, the company is targeting consumer niches through sponsoring pro volleyball tournaments and other events. Concurrently, it has buffed the image of certain California wines with genteel names (Gallo Family Vineyards) and removed the Ernest & Julio tag from its packaging and advertising. The changes reflect Gallo strong research and development capacity both in wine processing and positioning. A Research Winery facility produces between 400- to 700-pilot wines a year. In addition, the vintner makes its own labels and bottles through subsidiary Gallo Glass Company.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Adding to its acreage along California's Central Coast wine country, in 2012 Gallo acquired Courtside Cellars of San Miguel. The purchase included 34 acres of land and a winery capable of crushing 60,000 tons of grapes. Earlier in 2012, the vinter bought more than 300 acres of vineyards in Monterey County. In mid-2011 Gallo purchased Edna Valley Vineyard, which produces Chardonnay from a 1,100-acre vineyard in San Luis Obispo.