Friday, July 25, 2014

A Midsummer Night’s Scream ~ Italy at the Tipping Point

“You’re either going up or you’re going down,” an old political saying goes. And while it was meant for worlds larger than ours, here we are in the middle of summer and where are we going? I don’t really know. Perhaps this is where two weeks on the beach is the best solution.

I know this. I got out with a bag of wine this week and hit accounts. It hit 100°F and it’s not going down for a while. I'm not going down without trying.

From where I sit, things on the wine trail in Italy aren’t bad. That said, they aren’t great either. We’re in this middle ground, nothing really earth shattering, no big crisis (in the wine world) and just mushing through another warm summer. The tomatoes are gone, the figs are coming and going, the sun is high and things are alright. But not great.

What can we do? I’m tired of bitching about crappy wine lists and their buyers. The market seems to be responding to them as well, sending many of them on their way back down. Orange wine, it seems, doesn’t make for sustainable pleasures. Lack of sales doesn't exactly warm the cockles of a restaurant owner's heart.

Something a recent Italian transplant told me earlier this week. “I cannot imagine ever living in Italy. For 30 years they go to their work, they punch the time clock and they leave. After 30 years of this they wonder why they are in the crapper.” I hadn’t seen it quite like that but I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Another not so recent transplant told me, “I call up my graphics person. If it is ten o’clock in the evening there, he answers. We need to change a label for a market? No problem, it’s done in a matter of hours, not weeks.” So there are people still who feel the sense of importance in doing a job well. Of course, Italy didn’t get to here by being lazy or foolish. But in the last 40 years, they have been coddling their up and coming generations and now we see Italy stuck. Like the ship off the coast of Isola Giglio. On its side. Not moving. Nothing. Until something moves Italy, like what has been ultimately moves the Costa Concordia, the ship of Italy will keep on listing. Two weeks on the beach, fine. 40 years in time, not a good strategy.

Get to work, Italy. America is booming. We are going to find every last drop of oil and put it in our gas guzzling SUV’s. Burn baby, burn. Give us something to drink, to take our minds off the raging inferno we are stoking mercilessly

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

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