Gina Gallo: Artisan Winemaker Inspired by Family, History and Community
Deeply passionate about honoring the history of her family and the craft of winemaking, Gina Gallo is a third-generation winegrower from one of America’s most historic winemaking families. As the Senior Director of Winemaking, Gina is dedicated to bringing to life her singular vision of wine as a creative expression of the land demonstrating the unique qualities of that vintage.
A Winemaker’s Journey
Gina’s journey as a winemaker began when she was just 10 years old, tending the gardens with her father and grandfather and picking fruits and vegetables that her mother and grandmother would use for fresh, seasonal family meals. One of eight brothers and sisters, Gina has fond memories of how her family’s shared passion for food and flavor brought the generations together. “It was not just about the food, but the people at the table,” said Gina. “We were always there with my mother’s parents and my father’s parents. We learned so much about our history and their history through these meals.”
Gina spent her high school summers working at the Gallo family’s winery, later joining the Gallo sales team after earning her bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame de Namur University. Following in her grandfather’s footsteps, she found her true calling as a winemaker. In 1990, she became an apprentice winemaker at the Gallo family’s experimental micro-winery in Modesto, CA while she also studied winemaking at the University of California at Davis. Under the tutelage of Julio Gallo and Marcello Monticelli, a 30-year veteran of the Gallo team, Gina flourished in the cellar. Three years later, she completed her first full harvest in Sonoma County, working side by side with her brother, Matt. He grew the grapes and she made the wine, in a partnership that has thrived for more than two decades.
Today, as the winemaker behind Gallo Signature Series, Gina is intimately engaged with the Gallo family’s premier estate vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Monterey Counties. As winemaker, she values the entrepreneurial history of her family, using her experience and creative vision to craft luxury wines from these exceptional vines.
Giving Back to the Community
Now as a mother of two and living with her husband, Jean-Charles Boisset, in the Napa Valley, Gina is committed to her community, particularly organizations that support her passion for healthy, nourishing food. Gina is a board member of the American Farmland Trust, which works to preserve agricultural land, and Taste of the NFL, which raises funds and awareness for food banks and anti-hunger initiatives.
Gina has also been honored with several awards and accolades. She was a 2016 inductee to the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. Additionally, she was named one of the Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink by Fortune magazine, as well as being named #17 on Decanter magazine’s “Power List” of the most important men and women in wine. Gina also received an honorary Doctorate in Oenology from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island in 2008.
Jean-Charles Boisset was born into the world of wine in the village of Vougeot, Burgundy, France. His lifelong passion for wine began as a child, growing up above the cellars and within view of the centuries-old vineyards of Château du Clos Vougeot, the epicenter and birthplace of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
His parents, Jean-Claude and Claudine, founded the family winery in 1961 with an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in one of the most traditional winegrowing regions in the world. Today, the family collection includes wineries that share more than 18 centuries of combined winemaking heritage and tradition in some of the world's most prestigious terroirs, from Burgundy to the South of France, to California's Napa Valley and Russian River Valley.
Jean-Charles leads the family firm with passionate commitment to fine wine, history, quality and a deep respect for the environment. He implemented organic and Biodynamic farming at all of the family's estate vineyards in Burgundy and California. Together with his sister Nathalie, he created Domaine de la Vougeraie, uniting the family's Burgundy vineyards, including prestigious monopoles such as the Vougeot 1er Cru Clos Blanc de Vougeot – planted in 1110 by the Cistercian monks, into one of Burgundy's leading domaines. He instituted the concept of "viniculteur", redefining the company's traditional role to encompass a close and active interest in all aspects of winegrowing to ensure premium quality and sustainable farming practices. He refashioned and elevated the family's founding winery bearing his father's name – Jean-Claude Boisset – into a premier boutique vigneron in the Cotes de Nuits.
In 2003 Jean-Charles brought DeLoach Vineyards, a pioneering producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel in Sonoma's Russian River Valley, into the family collection. He immediately recognized the similarities to Burgundy: each boast a confluence of river, mountains, and soil that is perfect for growing world-class Pinot Noir. He began a mission, inspired by his Burgundian heritage to produce terroir-driven wines with the same commitment to terroir and organic and Biodynamic farming he had instituted in Burgundy. In 2009 Jean-Charles' quest for California wineries with a sense of history, heritage and a pioneering spirit, led him to Raymond Vineyards in the Napa Valley, where five generations of family winemaking anchors it to the earliest days of the Napa Valley. Under his vision, Raymond has become a leading producer of luxury fine wines, implemented organic and Biodynamic farming on its 100 acre Rutherford estate, and become among the most dynamic winery destinations in California, earning "Winery of the Year" honors from Wine Enthusiast magazine. In 2011, Jean-Charles' dream of championing California wine history became a reality when Buena Vista Winery, California's first premium winery, founded in 1857, became a part of the Boisset Collection. From this great foundation of historical, pioneering wineries in France and California, Jean-Charles' sets forth a vision of the wine world centered on family, passion, history, innovation, a commitment to fine wines, and a dedication to sustainable winegrowing.
Decanter magazine has included him on its "Power List" of the fifty most important people in the wine world each year of its publication since 2007; in March 2008, he received the Meininger's International Wine Entrepreneur of the Year; and in December 2008, he was named "Innovator of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The French America Foundation awarded him their first-ever French-American Partnership Award in 2013, bestowed upon an extraordinary individual or organization that has contributed to creating a strong and enduring French-American partnership in business, government, or academia. Haute Living Magazine named him to the Haute List San Francisco, recognizing the 100 most influential people in the San Francisco Bay Area. JFK University in Concord, CA named he and his wife, Gina GalloBoisset, their 2014 "Entrepreneur's of the Year" in an awards ceremony on May 16, 2014. He was honored with the 2014 Jefferson Award by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which celebrates the museum's historical connection with Thomas Jefferson and his renowned love of fine wine.