Food & Drink

Edna Valley Vineyard still enjoying fruits of purchase by Gallo

Modesto-based E. & J. Gallo purchased Edna Valley Vineyard in 2011.
Modesto-based E. & J. Gallo purchased Edna Valley Vineyard in 2011.

Edna Valley Vineyard, one of the Central Coast’s top wineries, continues to grow and thrive under the ownership of E. & J. Gallo.

“The exciting thing for us is that a year later, the reasons why we wanted to buy Edna Valley are just as relevant today as they were a year ago,” said Rich Kranzmann, spokesman for Modesto-based E. & J. Gallo Winery.

Known as a global winemaking powerhouse, Gallo bought Edna Valley Vineyard in 2011, further expanding its influence in San Luis Obispo County, where it has had a partnership with Cal Poly’s viticulture program for years.

Gallo also owns Sunnybrook Ranch on the east side of Paso Robles and recently purchased Courtside Cellars in San Miguel, where Gallo has said it intends to produce up to 2 million cases a year of its own wine.

With the purchase of Edna Valley, Gallo acquired a winery praised for its complex chardonnay, Kranzmann said. “Chardonnay is the most widely purchased varietal type in the United States, and given the great quality wine and history of the property, it provided a great opportunity to grow that brand across the U.S.,” he said.

With Gallo, Edna Valley, which also produces pinot noir, syrah, merlot and cabernet sauvignon, has been able to take advantage of wider distribution channels. Gallo has strong and established relationships with retailers and restaurateurs who can “take the Edna Valley story and the wine directly to the buyers, whether in retail or restaurants,” Kranzmann said.

“That’s what we have been able to do that the previous ownership of Edna Valley had not been able to do, and we’ve been very pleased with the results.”

While he declined to provide specific data to show how well the winery is doing, Kranzmann said that distribution in retail and restaurant accounts “has grown in the past year.”

As well, he noted that consumers are increasingly reaching for Edna Valley wines available in retail stores.

In some cases, they have not seen it before, he said. “We’re talking about markets east of the Mississippi River where many consumers are seeing the brand for the first time,” and are now trying and enjoying it.

The brand may be reaching more consumers, but the wine has not changed, he said. Winemaker Josh Baker, who has been with Edna Valley since 2008, remains at the helm, and the same team is in place, he said.

“With respect to Edna Valley, our plan is to change very little,” Kranzmann said.

As for Gallo’s further expansion in San Luis Obispo County, Kranzmann said, “you never know.”

“We’re very interested in the Central Coast,” he said.