Gallo, Ernest(1910– ) vintner; born near Modesto, Calif. The son of an immigrant Italian grape grower, he and his brother Julio Gallo (1911–93) took over the family's Modesto vineyards (1933) and learned to make wine. With Julio Gallo as president and Ernest Gallo as chairman, E. and J. Gallo Winery became the world's largest winery through vertical integration and aggressive marketing, gradually upscaling its image, as its Thunderbird fortified wine of the 1950s gave way to Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers in the 1980s, and its "jug wines" were supplemented by vintage varietals. The Gallos are generally credited with improving the quality of American table wine.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.