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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gallo -- All you need is money and lawyers

Gallo has never been what you'd call a friend of other wineries or grape growers. Most wineries and growers, especially the smaller ones, get along just fine and will help each other out. Gallo is not a friend of wine wholesalers either as they've been really good at muscling the smaller guys out. Yeah, it's supposed to be a dog-eat-dog business, but when you find restaurants in Sonoma County that only carry Gallo brands you have to wonder.

The Jackson Family (Kendall-Jackson, La Crema, etc) and Gallo (Frei Brothers, Rancho Zabaco, etc) are the largest vineyard owners in Sonoma County.

Gallo is the largest winemaker in the world. One of every three bottles of wine made in America is from one of Gallo's brands. You often don't even know you're drinking Gallo as they have over 50 labels. They made their money initially off the cheap rotgut stuff like Thunderbird, Ripple, and Night Train. These wines sold well in the slums and to poor drunks as the "wine" was cheap and high in alcohol. Gallo received a lot of public pressure concerning this so in a bit of civic responsibility they removed their name from the label. If you look at the Gallo web site for a list of their wine labels you won't see these listed.

In the past Gallo employees voted to kick out the United Farm Workers labor union. That vote was overturned when it was found Gallo management pressured people to vote their way.

Gallo's latest act? There is a small shop in North Carolina that sells pizza kits. It's run by a husband and wife, Tom Gallo and Susan Devitt. They call their company GalloLea Pizza Kits (like Galileo, cute, huh)?  Well, Gallo Wines was sure people would confuse their wine empire with this pizza outfit. After $140,000 is legal fees and new marketing costs to change their name this ma-and-pa shop is ready to go again.


Really, Gallo?