Monday, October 19, 2009

"Gallo be Thy Name" Connects Gallo Wine to the Mob

Jerome Tuccille's newest book, Gallo be Thy Name, follows the family saga of how the Gallo wine family rose from abject poverty in the early 1900s to become the most successful wine company in the world though hard work, unfettered ambition, and crime. From selling Dago Red to Al Capone during Prohibition to conquering America's wine market with cheap wine brands Thunderbird and Ripple, and from the Great Depression to the roiling farm labor movements of the sixties and seventies, and from the '90s wine boom to today's financial gyrations the Gallos got rich with iconic brothers Ernest and Julio steering the ship. But the real story began before they were even born.

Beneath the E. & J. Gallo Winery's carefully polished surface is a sweeping story of passion and power, swirling with rumors of murder. In Gallo Be Thy Name, biographer Jerome Tuccille goes beneath the shiny surface of the Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery to unearth a story that began with the Italian immigrant brothers Giuseppe and Michelo Gallo bribing local police, Federal Agents, and elected officials all across the nation to sell bootleg wine. Trainloads of illegal wine and grapes were shipped from California to Chicago and New Jersey in a partnership with the Mob, and that was just the beginning of the Gallo Wine story.

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