Gallo’s new offices seek to spur innovation

Members of the Modesto Bee tour the new Dry Creek office building at E.&J. Gallo Winery in Modesto on Tuesday.
Members of the Modesto Bee tour the new Dry Creek office building at E.&J. Gallo Winery in Modesto on Tuesday.

E.&J. Gallo Winery christened a major addition to its Modesto headquarters Wednesday – an office building designed to keep the creative juices flowing.

The Dry Creek Building will house up to 700 of the 3,500 or so people who work for Gallo in Modesto. Employees in marketing, creative services, finance and information technology are moving in.

The design aims to stimulate innovation and teamwork with the open-floor plan, abundant natural light and varied meeting spaces, company leaders said during a Tuesday tour for The Modesto Bee.

“Our employees have really embraced it,” said Michelle Lewis, vice president for global human resources. “They are really excited about the new building.”

Gallo held a ribbon-cutting for employees Wednesday. The first 100 will move in next week, followed by the same number weekly until it reaches 600. The other 100 will join them in the future.

Many of the employees had been working in trailers and other temporary quarters. The crunch came amid solid growth for Gallo, the world’s largest wine producer with more than 90 brands and about 6,000 employees.

It has wineries in Modesto, Livingston, Fresno and several premium regions near the coast, along with Washington state. It also imports wine from a few countries and markets brandy, gin, vodka and other spirits.

146,407Square feet in Gallo’s new office building

700Eventual number of employees in building

89Number of meeting spaces

The family-owned company does not divulge sales volume or income, nor the construction cost for the Dry Creek Building. Lewis did say it was the largest office project since the administration building in the late 1960s.

The building, close to its namesake creek, has 146,407 square feet of floor space over three stories. It was built by Hathaway Dinwiddee, based in San Francisco, on a design from the Gensler firm’s office in the same city.

Joe Gallo, son of co-founder Ernest Gallo and now president and CEO, likened the building to one built in New Jersey by Bell Labs in 1941. It brought together engineers, physicists, mathematicians and other pioneers in what would become known as high-tech.

“There was a lot of mixture of the different disciplines,” Gallo said. “Out of that came the transistor and other technology that revolutionized the communication business.”

The Dry Creek Building is part of a newer trend – sustainability. It generates power with rooftop solar panels and gets much of its lighting from large windows and skylights. The parking lot has drought-tolerant landscaping and charging stations for electric vehicles. The company provides lockers and showers for employees who bicycle to work.

“We hope that it will allow us to continue to attract great talent to Modesto,” Lewis said.

John Holland: 209-578-2385