299 episodes

Business Wars

Wondery Business
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Episodic

It’s the 1980’s and Gallo rockets to the top of the new lucrative wine cooler market with a brilliant ad campaign for its Bartles and Jaymes brand.  But long held resentments, buried secrets and lurking distrust bubble up to the surface when the “unknown Gallo brother,” Joe, Jr., launches a cheese business under the label of Joseph Gallo. Now Ernest, Julio and Joe Jr. fight a final bitter trademark battle in court over the family fortune and legacy. 

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Heading into the turbulent 1960s, Ernest Gallo attempts to conquer the Midwestern wine market by taking on a dangerous associate of Al Capone in Chicago. 

As the company grows, the two Gallos join forces in consolidating their control over the family empire and edging their younger brother, Joe, Jr, out of the family business. But just as Gallo reaches the pinnacle of the industry, it gets caught in the middle of a major labor rights battle. Cesar Chavez and his United Farmworkers are fighting with the Teamsters union over who will represent grape pickers. Chavez’s Gallo Boycott is poised to become the company’s biggest public relations challenge yet.

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Each year, over ten million students in the United States apply to college. The SAT and ACT were designed to help standardize the college admissions process. But today, they are fraught with accusations of discrimination and fraud. The question is: would the tests be a gateway for many, or the elite few? We’ll unpack all of that and more in the newest Wondery Plus exclusive season of Business Wars: SAT vs ACT.

Listen to this exclusive season of Business Wars, SAT vs. ACT on Wondery Plus in the Wondery App. Download it today: https://wondery.app.link/satbwfd

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Oct 14, 2020

Gallo: Godfathers of Wine | Thunderbird | 4

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It’s the 1940s and as American soldiers battle the Axis powers overseas, Ernest and Julio Gallo fulfill lucrative government contracts for jet fuel ingredients made out of ethyl alcohol, known as “torpedo juice.” They also make a risky wager on the volatile grape market. When peace comes, the Gallo brothers pour their wartime windfall into developing the most aggressive and controversial sales techniques in the industry.

Towards the end of the 1950s Ernest Gallo creates a blockbuster new product aimed at black, urban consumers. Thunderbird — beloved by winos everywhere — rockets Gallo to the top, but drives a wedge between the high-minded winemaker Julio Gallo and his bottom-line obsessed brother, Ernest. 

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Oct 12, 2020

Gallo: Godfathers of Wine | The Miracle Year | 3

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It’s the 1930s and with Prohibition finally over, Americans are eager to drown themselves in booze. Ernest Gallo persuades his reluctant brother, Julio, to partner with him on starting a winery. Ernest employs every trick in the book to bolster sales, including conning customers, flouting laws and dodging government inspectors. He then gives his younger brother Joe, Jr. a menial job in the family business, but mistreats him badly. And when Joe, Jr. comes of age, Ernest and Julio terminate their guardianship of him in a secretive manner that will haunt the family, and one day cast a terrible shadow over their empire. 

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It’s the roaring twenties and Joe Gallo Sr.’s two teenage sons, Ernest and Julio, help run the family’s extensive vineyards and bootlegging operations. Young Ernest plays a tricky game, dealing with Al Capone in Chicago and dodging G-men. But the stock market crash of ’29 pitches the family into a financial free fall, and drives their volatile father to become increasingly violent. Until, one fateful day, their parent’s lives come to a sudden, horrific and mysterious end. 

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It’s the early 1900’s and two young brothers emigrate from Italy to the US to make their fortunes. In California, they con, grift and bamboozle their fellow immigrants out of thousands of dollars, enough to start a wine business. But when Prohibition shuts that down, they dive into the dangerous game of bootlegging, with disastrous results.  

The older brother has two young sons, Ernest and Julio Gallo. He doesn’t know it yet, but his sons will eventually transform his sketchy legacy into the largest wine company in the world, E & J Gallo Winery. 

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Sep 30, 2020

Pizza Hut vs Domino’s | Hut In A Rut? | 7

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In 2009, Domino’s went into crisis mode after a prank threatened to ruin the brand’s already substandard image. You might say that was a wake up call. The company would go on to invest heavily in technology and delivery in the intervening years.

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut doubled down on its sit-in restaurants and fancier toppings, but their investment barely moved the needle on profits.

Now after 60 years of jockeying for the top spot in the pizza hierarchy, Domino’s has pulled out in front of its biggest competitor. But there are even more challenges coming to Pizza Hut and Domino’s, not to mention the entire restaurant industry itself.

To dig into this more David is joined by Sam Oches. He’s the editorial director of Food News Media, a B2B company specializing in the fast casual industry. 

For more on Sam Oches check out his podcast Fast Forward and QSR Magazine

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Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live. 

Business Wars gives you the unauthorized, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights — or to ruin. Hosted by David Brown, former anchor of Marketplace. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John and American History Tellers.