E. & J. Gallo Winery has acquired two of Napa Valley’s iconic wineries, Rombauer Vineyards and Massican, and the American wine community is wondering what this may mean for the future of fine wine. Does the grocery store wine stalwart have the marketing flexibility to smoothly transition into the luxury wine space without compromising quality and impacting brand reputations?

It’s common knowledge that scaling up fine wine can get dicey pretty quick, but perhaps that’s not Gallo’s M.O. The wine industry is one that’s built on relationships, and the people who come with these newly acquired brands hold a sort of celebrity status in the wine world, backed by droves of loyal consumers. So those who may have been gatekeeping wines from Massican’s Dan Petroski might have to now share them with a larger consumer base. There’s no doubt that this is a big bet for Gallo, especially since these smaller wineries often focus on Napa grapes that exist outside of the region’s usual suspects.

Unlike in the beer world, the idea of ”selling out” to a larger brand in the wine world is not really frowned upon with great disdain. On that note, we can only hope that Gallo doesn’t mimic AB InBev’s craft brewery buying spree of the early 2010s — which only ended in major sell-offs the following decade.

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam, Joanna, and Zach explore the reasons why Gallo would make these purchases and why the Massican move in particular signals a different approach to fine wine that might well prove to be very successful. Tune in for more.

Zach is drinking: Blind Pig IPA from Russian River Brewing

Joanna is drinking: Aviation

Adam is drinking: Something from Division Wine Co.

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