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Wine Maker Gallo Sees Future in Tequila

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The story of how Ernest and Julio Gallo founded their winery has been told often. But the inside story rarely revealed is how the brothers -- and subsequently their children and grandchildren -- expanded the family business to more than $2 billion in annual sales.

But Wine isn't the only beverage Gallo has plans for...

The company recently went into the gin business and Gallo said it's "taking a serious look at tequila now."

"One of the most important things we have is our distribution system, where we can go across the country with many different outlets and sell different products," Gallo explained. Adding liquors to its wines "is a natural complement to our distribution system."

Too many companies make vodka, he said, so Gallo is focusing on tequila.

"It's going to be made down in Mexico and it's going to be 100 percent agave, which has to be produced and bottled down there," Gallo said. "We're in the early stages of planting that. It's probably going to take a couple years ... before we get to market."

The new tequila brand will create jobs in Modesto because that's where it will be imported and distributed. Gallo said the tequila marketing and brand support staff also will be based in town.

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