California's wine industry is now considered world class. While the industry has deep roots going back to the nineteenth century, the revolution in quality can be traced back to the period after World War II. The movement occurred in two waves. The first was a shift in the industry towards scientific methods of winemaking. The second was a major improvement in creating consistent and subtle wines that imitated and eventually competed successfully with European wines. The movement can be examined through the lives of two key entrepreneurs, Ernest Gallo and Robert Mondavi, through a combination of primary and secondary sources including biographies, oral histories, interviews, and statistics. At first glance, these two pioneers of the California wine industry could not be more different. Gallo operated in secrecy and focused on consistent mass produced wine such as Thunderbird. Mondavi sought to reach the lofty heights of French premium wine. An examination, though, of the strategies, biographies and personalities of these two captains of industry shows remarkable parallels.
From Industrial Strength to World Class: Gallo and Mondavi's Contributions to the California Wine Industry
anil (andy) hira is Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University. In 2009, he became part of a 5-year project with the UBC Wine Research Centre to study competitiveness in the global wine industry, funded by Genome Canada/BC. The study led to the publication of “What Makes Clusters Competitive? Cases from the Global Wine Industry” (McGill-Queens U. Press, 2013).
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Anil Hira; From Industrial Strength to World Class: Gallo and Mondavi's Contributions to the California Wine Industry. California History 1 February 2015; 92 (4): 48–72. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ch.2015.92.4.48
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