The Cioccas met shortly after Arthur led a leveraged buyout of Coca-Cola’s winemaking operations in 1981. He had been the head of marketing for that division, and decided spontaneously to buy it when he learned Coca-Cola was divesting the unit.
Shortly thereafter, he was introduced to the woman who would become his wife, Carlyse Franzia, whose family started one of the wineries at the heart of Coca-Cola’s operation: Franzia Wines. Carlyse is the granddaughter of the intrepid Italian immigrant Teresa Franzia, who in 1933 borrowed $10,000 to turn her husband’s grape and cherry farming land into a full-blown winery. Teresa Franzia gave half of the loan proceeds to her son-in-law Ernest Gallo—who would go on to build the E&J Gallo Winery and employ a young marketing employee named Arthur Ciocca.
He earned a B.S. degree from College of the Holy Cross and an MBA from Roosevelt University, which he earned taking night classes while a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He tried his hand unsuccessfully as an entrepreneur in the 1970s before taking a marketing job at the E&J Gallo Winery. There, he learned entrepreneurship at the feet of famed winemaker Ernest Gallo— who unbeknownst to him at the time, was his future wife’s uncle by marriage. As CEO of The Wine Group from 1981 to 2001, he was known for implementing a compensation plan that emphasized long-term value creation. He also led the company when it made the bold choice to sell Franzia wines in boxes—ultimately making it the largest-volume wine brand for the next 15 years, and funding The Wine Group’s expansion to 49 additional wine brands, including Cupcake, Chloe, and Concannon. Arthur stepped away from management in 2003 to focus on giving back through the family’s philanthropic foundations.
Carlyse, who graduated from Santa Clara University in 1977 with a business degree, married Arthur six months after they met, and became the family “quarterback” as The Wine Group grew to become the second-largest wine producer by volume.
In recent years the couple has donated to Catholic University to create the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship, and to Arthur’s alma mater College of the Holy Cross to create the Carlyse and Arthur A. Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics and Society.
More serial entrepreneurs on campus as mentors and professors of practice
Support for the entrepreneurship minor in the Leavey School of Business and the design-thinking pathway
Support and staffing for popular programming such as the School of Engineering’s prototyping Maker Lab
New courses in high-demand topics like design thinking, social entrepreneurship, or venture-backed financing
New tenure-track professors in disciplines such as entrepreneurship, innovation, design thinking, business ethics, and workforce innovation
Opportunities for professors to find innovative and entrepreneurial ways to advance their own teaching methods
A hub for thousands of Bronco entrepreneurs to share their expertise, network, and insights with one another, through lectures, workshops, networking opportunities, and a top-tier board of advisors