Important Dates in Gallo History - 1919 - 2007
Oct. 28, 1919: Congress enacts the Volstead Act, banning the sale of alcoholic beverages beginning Jan. 17, 1920. The Prohibition years decimate the California wine industry.
Feb. 20, 1933: Congress passes a motion to submit the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, to end Prohibition to the states for ratification.
Summer 1933: Ernest and Julio Gallo, ages 24 and 23, respectively, borrow capital from Ernest's mother-in-law, Teresa Franzia, and rent a warehouse at 11th and D streets in Modesto to start a winery.
September 1933: The Gallo brothers' winery permit is approved, and the first batch of wine is made.
Dec. 5, 1933: The states formally ratify the amendment to end prohibition.
1935: The brothers buy 10 acres of land on Dry Creek for a permanent winery.
1939-40: The winery acquires bottling plants and begins marketing wine under its own name. Ernest Gallo begins to develop store marketing strategies and a sales force.
1940s: Gallo acquires thousands of acres of vineyards near Livingston.
1946: The Gallo trademark is registered in most states, and state distributors are lined up.
1950s: Gallo runs its first television advertising.
1954: The winery purchases the bankrupt Cribari Winery in Fresno.
1957: Thunderbird is introduced: What's the word - Thunderbird."
Late 1950s: Gallo Glass plant is built.
1960: Ripple, a sweet, carbonated wine, is introduced.
1960: Gallo becomes the biggest-selling wine in the United States for the first time, a position it cemented by 1966.
1961: Boone's Farm apple wine is introduced.
1967: Andre Cold Duck is introduced.
1967: Gallo administration building is completed.
1970: Winemaking and distilling operations are moved to Livingston.
November 1972: Ernest and Julio appear on the cover of Time magazine with an article titled "American Wine Comes of Age."
1972: Carlo Rossi brand is taken national.
June 1973: The United Farm Workers strike Gallo, and launch a Gallo boycott in October. The UFW loses a representation battle to the Teamsters at Gallo.
1974: Gallo releases its first cork-finished wines.
1977: Gallo buys the Frei Ranch property near Healdsburg.
1977: E.&J. Brandy is released nationally.
1983: The first vintage-dated Gallo wine, a 1978 cabernet sauvignon, is released.
1984: Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers are released.
1986: The Gallo winery files a lawsuit against Joseph Gallo Cheese for trademark infringement. The winery wins the lawsuit in 1989.
1993: The first Gallo of Sonoma estate wines are released, a chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon, priced at $30 and $60 a bottle, respectively. The winery follows up with single-vineyard and county appellation wines under the Gallo of Sonoma label.
May 2, 1993: Julio Gallo dies in a Jeep accident on a family ranch near Tracy.
1995: Turning Leaf wines are introduced, drawing a trade dress infringement lawsuit from Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates. Gallo prevails in federal court.
1996: Gossamer Bay, Indigo Hills, Rancho Zabaco and Anapamu wine labels are launched.
Gallo of Sonoma wins three triple gold medals at the San Francisco Fair wine competition and is named Winery of the Year. It repeats as Winery of the Year in San Francisco in 1998 and 2001.
The winery develops Italian wine brand Ecco Domani, and adds Bella Sera in 2001.
1998: Gallo of Sonoma wins the Premio Gran Vinitaly, the first American winery to win the award. It repeats as winner in 2001 and 2002.
1999: E.&J. Gallo Winery is named Winery of the Century by the Los Angeles County Fair's Wines of the Americas competition.
2000: Gallo is named Best American Wine Producer at the London International Wine Challenge.
2001: A Gallo of Sonoma wine is named Best Chardonnay in the World at the London-based International Wine and Spirit Competition.
2002: Louis M. Martini winery in Napa and the Mirassou wine brand in Monterey are purchased.
2003: Black Swan Australian wine label is introduced.
2004-2007: Label expansion continues with purchase of existing wineries.
March 6, 2007: Ernest Gallo dies at age 97.