Is it just me, or are we smack-dab in the middle of topsy-turvy times? I gotta tell you, it’s exciting, exhilarating and a jolt of terrificante in my espresso. Really a great time to be engaged in whatever it is that takes you to the top, fires you up, makes you feel the breeze in your face, the cold, biting wind and the last of the setting sun as we head away from summer. And with all this excitement there’s this slightly disorienting facet that has one looking to recalibrate and check for balance. Not.
Like our social and political circuses that surround us, so the world of wine, and Italy, really seem to be in sync with this slightly out of register skew to things. Is this merely lucid dreaming or are the bathing beauties of Tuscany and Alto-Adige and Campania really vying for our attention? Or are they merely engaged in some kind of commercial cat-fight for our hearts and dollars? Happiness is a warm warehouse.
Sitting around some of the smaller corporate campfires lately, discussions have been had about the state of the wine business, and there seems to be a confluenza of notions and trends. I heard from a gent tonight who was the domestic head of an online service that finds buyers for rare and valuable wine. They were cutting his department and he was handed a pink slip. Eighteen months ago, that would have been unthinkable. Less than a month ago the delivery company DHL announced they would no longer be shipping wine domestically. So this little ray of hope, to the folks who think the three tier system is obsolete, is dimming. Money is tight, things get downsized.
In the world in which I live, there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t get a note or three from some Italian wine company wanting to get onto the Ark. The smaller companies don’t have the capital, the ability to pay their bills. Everybody is trying to fit their animals on our ship. We are desirable, like this is some kind of beauty pageant. Hey folks, winter is coming, time to put the swimsuits in the drawer. Pass the grappa and cuddle up on a couch somewhere and find something to do. Not the time to plant tomatoes.
There’s something to be said about traveling the road with a camera and a bag of wine. It’s quite the spectacle. Today San Antonio, tomorrow Austin, the next day Dallas, then on to El Paso, McAllen and back to Longview. The Big Amarone Circus is coming to town with the killer B’s, Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello. An exhibition of rarities so rare the Italian restaurateur doesn't even know about it. And the whole time the ringmaster’s friend, the ace photographer, is snapping away at the parade of models in their finest swimwear.
Will no one tell these bathing beauties, vying for the attention of the Maggiordomo, that Persephone is on the horizon, heralding the approach of the cold winds and winter? After all, they shoot the messenger in an upside-down world, don’t they?
images from SquareAmerica.com