|Ernest Gallo of E&J. Gallo Winery made it to the Forbes 2006 Billionaire list. He is the only winemaker to be included. Gallo’s parents grew grapes for home winemakers during prohibition but went bankrupt. His father killed his mother and comitted suicide in 1933 when he went heavily into debt. Over the next fifty years, the sons fought to bring their family respect once again.
Ernest Gallo (97) and his brother Julio have certainly come a long way. Through the decades they produced wines that were never the most expensive or most refined but definitely among the most popular. With each year, they’d focus on extending their marketshare and meeting the everyday drinking needs of American consumers without bothering with wine awards. Today E&J Gallo Winery is the world’s second-largest vintner.