cover image Ernest and Julio:: Our Story

Ernest and Julio:: Our Story

Ernest Gallo. Crown Publishers, $25 (358pp) ISBN 978-0-8129-2454-1

The first autobiography, narrated in alternating sections by the sons of Italian immigrants who founded the 62-year-old California Gallo Winery, is both an engrossing business success story and an account of strong fraternal bonding, strengthened by family tragedy. Ably assisted by Henderson (The Sea Will Tell), 85-year-old Ernest (who heads the firm) and younger brother Julio (who died in 1993) recall their early struggles and, following the repeal of Prohibition, the fierce competition they faced-including that of large distillers. The Gallos conducted a publicity campaign to make people ``wine conscious'' that featured their blended and fortified wines used to make sherry, brandy, Thunderbird, sparkling wine and other drinks. They attribute their position as top-selling vintners to their long-term view, innovative research and sales and marketing savvy-so successful that even Coca-Cola ``tried to take us on.'' Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)