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Episode 905 - Heritage of Our Heartland: Gallo Family Cheese  

Heritage of Our Heartland: Gallo Family Cheese
Heritage of Our Heartland: Gallo Family Cheese
Heritage of Our Heartland: Gallo Family Cheese

California Heartland’s Manny Ramos visits the Joseph Gallo Family Farm.  Second generation, Mike Gallo, Joseph’s son, tells the story of his father and family legacy.

After leaving the family wine business, Joseph Gallo went his own way to become the state’s largest selling cheese producer. Mike revisits the life of his father and explains Joseph’s separation from the family business and most importantly the separation from his two brothers, Ernest and Julio. 

Drawing inspiration from his father’s work ethic, Mike continues to grow the “other” Gallo company along with his son Peter.

With annual sales of $3.5 billion - Gallo is a brand name synonymous with the phrase “largest US winemaker” along with the names of Joseph’s brothers, Ernest and Julio. One of the state’s largest cheese producers is Joseph Farms. While wine and cheese often go together, in the case of these two brands, the connection actually goes much deeper in the common connection of family.   

Joseph Gallo was the man behind the cheese brand as well as the third and youngest brother to wine giants, Ernest and Julio Gallo. The family name which tied the three brothers together became the very factor which eventually divided them as well. The division remains today – the fallout from a lawsuit brought by Ernest and Julio against Joseph whose cheese brand was originally “Joseph Gallo Cheese”.  The older brothers felt only their wine should carry the Gallo family name – and a judge agreed. Thereafter, the brand was “Joseph Farms Cheese”. The impact of the lawsuit was a major personal setback for Joseph as the Gallos are about family. 

Joseph, along with son Mike and daughter Linda, went on to build the largest dairy operation in the US, earning a lot of recognition along the way; developing firsts in their industry, collecting award after award for quality milk and cheeses, and accolades for best practices. 

Joseph and Mike always felt their family-owned and operated business would be enhanced by creating a family atmosphere. To that end, employees are encouraged to hire family members. Mike carried on this unique employee policy when son Peter joined the company this year which moves Joseph Gallo Farms into the third generation.


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