“You see, this apartment used to be divided in two,” Jean-Charles Boisset is saying. “There was a wall right down the middle. But it’s much better this way.” He’s describing the San Francisco pied-à-terre that he and his wife, Gina Gallo, own—a mirrored space atop a 1930s Art Deco building, itself at the top of Nob Hill. Metaphorically, he could just as well be describing the union of the Gallo and Boisset families.
In the wine universe, Jean-Charles’s 2009 marriage to Gina was big news. Family-owned E & J Gallo, based in Modesto, California, is the largest wine producer in the world. Its 60 brands range from everyday, supermarket ones like Carlo Rossi to its top-of-the-line Gallo Family Vineyards wines. Boisset, also family-owned, was founded in 1961 by Jean-Charles’s father. Today it is France’s fifth-largest producer, making everything from affordable labels like Mommessin in France and Lyeth Estate in Sonoma to grand cru Burgundies like those from Domaine de la Vougeraie.
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Jean-Charles, currently president of Boisset Family Estates, is known as an ambitious businessman. Gina, on the other hand, lives her life amidst barrels and vines—a respected winemaker, she’s currently in charge of all of Gallo’s higher-end Sonoma bottlings. Yet despite the prominence of both their families, the two never crossed paths until nine years ago at Vinexpo, a major trade event. “I had never met him before,” Gina says. “I’d never even met his family.”