Ernest J. Gallo (March 18, 1909 – March 6, 2007) was an American businessman and philanthropist. Gallo co-founded the E & J Gallo Winery in Modesto, California.

Ernest Gallo
Ernest Gallo.png
Born(1909-03-18)March 18, 1909
Jackson, California
DiedMarch 6, 2007(2007-03-06) (aged 97)
Occupationvintner, philanthropist
Known forE & J Gallo Winery
Spouse(s)Amelia Franzia Gallo
  • Giuseppe "Joseph" Gallo (father)
  • Assunta Bianco "Susie" Gallo (mother)
RelativesJulio Gallo (1910–1993)(brother),
Joseph Edward Gallo (1919–2007)(brother),
Joseph Ernest Gallo (son),
David Gallo (son)

Early lifeEdit

Gallo was born on March 18, 1909, in Jackson, California.[1][2][3][4]

Gallo's grandparents immigrated from Italy to the United States.[2] Gallo's father was Giuseppe Gallo, a.k.a. Joseph Edward Gallo Sr, and his mother, Assunta Bianco Gallo, a.k.a. Susie Bianco Gallo.[2][3] Together with his uncle Michael, his father ran the Gallo Wine Company, a wine distribution company.[2] His mother's family, the Biancos, were winemakers.[2] Gallo's father operated a boarding house for the miners in Jackson, California and a saloon in Oakland, California.[5]

In 1910, at one year old, Gallo lived with his maternal grandparents, Batista Biancos, in Hanford, California. At about age 6, Gallo returned to live with his parents.[5]

After the 1918 prohibition, Gallo's father had to close the saloon business. Gallo's father bought a 120-acre ranch in Antioch, California and became a farmer growing 30 acres of grapes. Gallo worked in cultivating in the farm. By age 12, Gallo's father sold the ranch in Antioch and moved to a small vineyard in Escalon, California.[5]

In the 1920s, his parents purchased a 40-acre farm near Modesto, California. Gallo's family also bought a 20-acre farm near Keyes. Gallo's father sold their grapes in Chicago.[2][5]

Gallo had two brothers, Julio Gallo (1910–1993), and Joseph Edward Gallo, Jr. (1919–2007).[2]

On June 21, 1933, Gallo's father shot his mother and killed himself.[2]

Gallo graduated from Modesto High School in Modesto, California.[6][7]


Gallo attended Modesto Junior College, but he did not graduate.[5]


In 1926 at 17, Gallo worked for his father. Gallo harvested grapes and shipped them via railway to Chicago. By 18, Gallo was selling grapes in Chicago. During Gallo's travel from Chicago back to California, he met Giuseppe Franzia.[5][8]

In 1933, Shortly after the prohibition of alcohol (1919-1933) in the United States and death of his parents, Gallo co-founded the E.&J. Gallo Winery, using $5,900 in borrowed cash from his mother-in-law.[1][2][3][4] He became head of sales, marketing and distribution.[3][9]


In 1955, Gallo created The Ernest Gallo Foundation.[10] In 2008, Gallo donated $800k(USD) to Notre Dame University, $600k(USD) to Stanford University, and $3.835 million (USD) to Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. In 1980, Gallo also donated millions and created Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at University of California, San Francisco.[11][12]


Personal lifeEdit

In 1931, Gallo married Amelia Franzia (died 1993). They had two sons: David Gallo (died 1997), and Joseph Ernest Gallo.[14]

Gallo was ranked 297th on the 2006 Forbes 400 list of billionaires, with an estimated wealth of US$1.2 billion.[2][3][7]

On March 6, 2007, Gallo died in Modesto, California. Gallo was 97 years old. Gallo is buried at St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery.[6][15][16]


  • Henderson, Bruce, with Ernest and Julio Gallo. Ernest & Julio: Our Story. Times Books, 1994


  1. ^ a b Harvard Business School
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Frank Prial (March 7, 2007). "Ernest Gallo, 97, Founder of Winery, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Billionaire winemaker Ernest Gallo dies". USA Today. March 7, 2007.
  4. ^ a b Ernest Gallo last retrieved March 6, 2007
  5. ^ a b c d e f Sbranti, J.N. (March 9, 2007). "Ernest Gallo: In his own words". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Ernest Hallo". NNDB. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  7. ^ a b #645 Ernest Gallo
  8. ^ Blumer, Christine (March 7, 2007). "Ernest Gallo (1909-2007)". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  9. ^ "Every Family Has A Story to Tell. This is Ours". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Ernest Gallo Foundation". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Valine, Kevin (February 14, 2010). "3 powerhouse nonprofits help San Joaquin Valley arts, program endure". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  12. ^ "UCSF Acknowledges Generosity of Late Ernest Gallo". March 7, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  13. ^ Heimoff, Steve (March 7, 2007). "Ernest and Julio Gallo". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "Amelia Franzia Gallo". December 26, 1993. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  15. ^ "Ernest Gallo". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  16. ^ "Ernest Gallo obituary". March 8, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2019.

External linksEdit