Barefoot Wine distributor to close California sites, lay off Bay Area workers

The largest winery in the country, E. & J. Gallo Winery, is closing its California-based distribution operations, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

Brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo founded the wine company in 1933 in Modesto, and it remains a family-owned business. E. & J. Gallo Winery owns popular, low-cost wine brands Barefoot Wine and André, as well as non-wine brands such as hard seltzer High Noon and New Amsterdam Vodka. Last year, it became the NFL's official wine sponsor.

The winery's move from Gallo Sales Company, the Modesto-headquartered subsidiary of E. & J. Gallo Winery that handled distribution in California, to Texas company Republic National Distributing Company will result in mass layoffs, including senior roles.

Gallo Sales Company plans to lay off a total of 355 workers across seven facilities in the state, the Business Times said, citing layoff notices filed to the state by the company. The locations are in Hayward in the Bay Area plus Bakersfield, Commerce, Ontario, San Diego and Modesto in Southern California, and West Sacramento in the northern part of the state.

At the Hayward facility, 30825 Wiegman Road, 93 employees will be cut, and 23 in Modesto at 2612 Crows Landing Road, the Business Times reported.

All California sites affected will reportedly close on March 1.

"Gallo Sales Co. is optimistic that the majority of employees will have the opportunity to interview and be offered similar opportunities with RNDC," Gallo Sales Company told the Business Times in a statement. "Employees may also apply for roles at E. & J. Gallo Winery."

Texas-based Republic National Distributing Company has had a role in the company since late 2021, when it began servicing distribution to independent liquor and retail stores.

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